‘As an introvert, it’s no surprise that I hate airports. As a regular traveller, however, it’s a necessary evil (mainly because I don’t have my own private jet…yet) to get me to where I want to be…’
I hate the queues, the luggage, the disarray, and the people who wait until they hit 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. I’m doing it now, as it happens.
Over the years, I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks that have made my time at numerous airports around the world just that *little* bit more bearable. A lot of these things involve bars. Here are my top tips to avoid all that airport stress…
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 I know that 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 or the front pouch of your hand luggage and KNOW WHERE THEY ARE. For the love of God, people. Seriously – this will cut down on your stress and that of every single person stuck in the queue behind you.
Please don’t pack your iPad at the bottom of your carry on luggage as you’ll then need to root around for it 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 right at the top of your hand luggage so that 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 and buy a pack of plastic bottles and dispense your full size 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. If I’m hand luggage only, then everything goes in these travel bottles. If 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 but, for everyone else? Get yourself together. In other news, it’s not uncommon for European and Trans-Atlantic carriers to have vastly different rules on what’s you’re allowed to bring back from your trips. You might be able to take those bottles of Houghton’s wine you bought during your vineyard trips in Australia through Hong Kong customs, but 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 that covers different countries. You don’t want to be the person that ends up paying for the customs officer’s Saturday night tipple.
‘Nothing makes my airport stay better than not being around All Of The People…’
It’s worth every single penny of the £100 I pay annually to give me access to the quiet space that it the Priority Pass lounge. Also, I damn sure make this money back in the sheer amount of free wine and food I can consume during each of my 3 hour stays. And that doesn’t even *begin* to cover the amount of food that Les can get through. Airport lounges are also the only thing that keep me sane if my flight is delayed. When you balance up the cost of paying for your card against the food, drinks, comfort, serene surroundings and, of course, your sanity, I promise it’s worth it. Plus, you get a comfy seat, space to relax and, did I mention the free wine? I feel I’ve made my case.
If you remain unconvinced, I once spent 5 hours in the lounge at Oman airport and they had actual sleeping pods. I had a shower in their beautiful bathrooms, then a lovely snooze in my private pod 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, it also allows me to catch up with all the TV and reading I don’t get time to do in my normal life (well, I say ‘normal’…). I often load up with episodes of my favourite show, which can lead to me actually looking forward to spending time in the lounge. 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 terminal. It’s possibly not the most politically correct game ever, but you can usually separate a stag party heading to Krakow from a business woman on her way to London. Les and I have become quite skilled at working out who’s headed to Spanish Islands or Orlando, but are dreadful at working out who’s going to Rome or New Orleans.
This game passes time in the most entertaining way, but it can be difficult not to cheer out loud when someone you’ve tagged as heading to the European Parliament to lobby MEPs suddenly jumps up with the Brussels flight is announced. However, I imagine that the glamorous older lady on her way to a gorgeous spa result in Mexico would be most displeased if you had her labelled 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?