Cutting the Line at the Airport (Part 2)

Here are some additional tips including some sent in by readers to help reduce or speed up your queuing time at the airports...

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Arrive at the airport early. Airlines and airport authorities encourage us to arrive at least two hours before our domestic flight and three hours before our international flight to avoid any hassle and delays. But I still see people coming at least an hour before departure---and sometimes they’re not even in a hurry. Late passengers must remember that their late check-in also inconveniences their fellow passengers who did the right thing by arriving on time. I have been on flights where departures have been delayed because of these selfish passengers who arrive at the last minute or who prefer to be nowhere near the gate during boarding time.

Whenever possible, try travelling with hand-carry luggage so you can opt for the shorter no-check-in counter as well as free up the regular check-in counter. Just make sure your hand-carry is the right size and weight with no prohibited items. I saw one passenger on a flight to Hong Kong with no luggage at all, not even an ugly fanny pouch. His tour guide was incredulous as well that he repeated his question, “No luggage? No nothing at all?” He breezed in and out of the airport the fastest.

If you are flying business class, make sure you avail of your privileges and benefits. Most airports have counters and lines dedicated to business class passengers. Some airlines tag the check-in luggage of their business class passengers so they come out first and are even waiting for you unloaded from the carousel. The same privileges might also be available for the airline’s VIP members.

And if you are pregnant, a senior citizen, have a medical condition or have special needs, most airlines and airport authorities also have ways to make things convenient for you. If you can’t find any lines dedicated to your needs, ask the assistance of an airline representative.

When preparing to enter the security line, tuck away all your loose coins, cell phone, watch, or anything metal into your hand-carry. If possible, don’t unload them when you are about to enter. I have seen people who hold up the line because they still have something on their person when walking through the detector.

If you are traveling with someone or with a group, stay together if you want to do a group check-in. Everybody has to be present and ready with their documents. You will only be turned away if one is missing or you will hold up the line if the airline representative is too nice to allow the next in line to check in while waiting for your missing member.

And most of all, follow the rules. If it’s not yet your turn to board the plane, stay put and let those whose numbers or categories are called go through. I always see people who line up together with those with special needs or small children only to be turned away. I applaud inside when officials do that because sometimes the ground crew allow this rude behavior. If you are one of those people, please be assured that the plane will not leave you behind if you are at the boarding gate already.

-The Paranoid Traveler

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