‘As an introvert, it’s no surprise that I hate the airport. As a regular traveller, however, it’s a necessary evil to get me to where I want to be…’
I hate airport queues. I hate the luggage and the disarray. And I really hate people who wait until check in before deciding to rummage through two week’s worth of garishly ugly clothing in a vain attempt to locate their passport. Honestly, I side-eye those people all the time.
Over the years, I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks that have made the wait just that *little* bit more bearable. Most of these things involve bars. Here are my top tips for a stress-free airport experience.
Sounds obvious, but it never fails to amaze me how many people seem to be clueless when it comes to flying. Don’t get me wrong; I once left my passport in a tray at security and then made a rather panicked trip back to find it, so everyone has bad days. However, the more organised you are, the better your experience is likely to be. Put your tickets and passport in your pocket and KNOW WHERE THEY ARE. For the love of God, people. Seriously – this will cut down on your stress and that of every person stuck behind you.
Please don’t pack your iPad at the bottom of your carry on luggage. This will mean you’ll then need to root around and remove it from its resting place beneath your underwear (or whatever the hell you keep in there) in order to pass through security. Turn everything off and put it at the top of your hand luggage. Then, it can be instantly removed without incurring some heavy duty eye-rolling from the person next to you… i.e, me.
Seriously, people, how long has this restriction been in place? Yet I still end up *right* behind someone trying to get through security with a ten-gallon bottle of water, two bottles of foundation, a huge jar of anti-wrinkle cream, and a massive bottle of conditioner. No, no, no!! If it’s more than 100ml, you can’t take it. And you haven’t been able to take it since 2001. Keep up.
If you really need to take all your shit on holiday, go to Superdrug or Boots, buy a pack of plastic travel bottles and dispense your crap into them.
‘They come in fabulous little 100ml sizes and they even come complete with their very own clear plastic bag. It’s almost as if they were actually designed for going on holiday… ‘
If I have hold luggage, it all goes in there. Should I be hand luggage only, then everything goes in travel bottles. When I’m thirsty, I buy water AFTER I clear security. I’m lying, of course; I only buy wine.
I realise it’s not possible for everyone to do this and people travelling with babies, etc, need to take larger quantities. However, for everyone else? Get yourself together. It’s not uncommon for European and Trans-Atlantic carriers to have vastly different rules on what’s you’re allowed to bring back. You’re able to take bottles of Houghton’s wine you bought during your vineyard trips in Australia through Hong Kong customs. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t have them confiscated when you reach the UK. I speak from bitter experience. It still upsets me when I think about it now.
Always check with your airline; particularly if you have a multi-stop flight. You don’t want to end up paying for the customs officer’s Saturday night tipple.
‘Nothing makes my airport stay better than not being around All The People…’
It’s worth every penny of the £100 I pay to give me access to the airport lounge. Also, I damn sure make this money back in the sheer amount of free wine and food I consume during my visits. And that doesn’t even *begin* to cover the amount of food Les can get through.
Airport lounges are also the only thing that keeps me sane if my flight is delayed. When you balance up the cost of your lounge pass against food and drink prices in airport bars, it’s an instant saver. Plus, it’s really quiet and you get to keep your sanity. Also, did I mention they have free wine? The defence rests.
If you remain unconvinced, I once spent 5 hours in the lounge at Oman airport where they had actual sleeping pods. I had a shower in their bathrooms, then a lovely snooze after a 15-hour flight. I’d have sold my first born for a shower and lie down at that point. You know, if I had one to sell.
I can’t live without my iPad in an airport. Not only does it distract me from the time I spend waiting, but it also allows me to catch up with all the TV and reading I don’t get time to do. I load up with episodes of my favourite shows, which can lead to me actually looking forward to spending time at the airport.
After check-in, security, being searched, having to take my shoes off, going through that massive x-ray machine, and trying not to shout at the people in front of me who have packed their phones at the bottom of their suitcase, it’s my greatest airport joy.
You haven’t lived until you’ve played ‘Where Are They Going?’ at your chosen airport terminal. It’s not always the most politically correct game ever. However, you can separate a stag party heading to Krakow from a businesswoman off to London. Les and I have become quite skilled at working out who’s headed to Spain and Orlando. Unfortunately, we suck at working out who’s going to Rome.
This game passes time in the most entertaining way. However, I will warn you that it can be rather difficult not to cheer out loud. Particularly when someone you’ve tagged as heading to the European Parliament to lobby MEPs suddenly jumps up when the Brussels flight is announced.
I imagine that the glamorous older lady on her way to a gorgeous spa in Mexico would be pissed if you’d labelled her as the next Shirley Valentine, so do keep your voice down. Also, please let me know which airport you play at and how many you get right. I must know.
What are your tips for relaxing at the airport?