With the rising popularity & affordability of airfare, airports are busier than ever and the 2-hour rule of thumb just leaves us a few more minutes to get a coffee or have a quick trip to the loo. If you're like me and don't fancy the long queues and extended waits in the airport, these 10 key tips can make going through the airport a breeze by cutting down precious minutes and potentially have an hour of extra sleep the night before!
1. Prepare Your Documents Beforehand
The night before, lay down your passport, credit card, phone & boarding pass in an easily accessible area, like your bedside table. This is to make sure that you don't waste time in the morning trying to find these items and reducing the chances of forgetting one of them and potentially not even making the flight altogether. Also, when bringing them to the airport, I advise using a travel wallet of some sort so that they would all be in one place as well as quick and easy to hand out during check-in and so on.
Time saved: 10 minutes - missed your flight
2. Arrange transport early
Make sure you've got a car or a bus coming to you in the morning. Double check if you've correctly booked the correct date & time (especially for those who are taking red-eye flights!) for your skybus tickets or order an online transportation beforehand with its schedule a ride feature to not risk late drivers or the potential of not even getting uber coverage at all at your area.
Traveloka App also provides airport service train schedules if you're travelling light or trying to save up, which is also especially important if you're in a country where you don't speak the main language as Traveloka App translates the schedule into your chosen language.
Alternatively, if someone promises to send you to the airport, reconfirm to your mates or your family the day before to make sure that your ride is indeed coming when it needs to. Also, if the distance between you and the airport is an hour, try to leave at least half an hour early taking into consideration if traffic or accidents happen along the road.
Time saved: 5 minutes - missed your flight
3. Pre-book your seats
Not only does this cut off your check-in time, this feature also guarantees you to have the best (available) seats in the plane. This is extremely useful if you are traveling as a group or family and want to sit together or you just have a high preference for a window seat! With the Traveloka App, you can not only check-in but you can also book your seat right through your phone, which is great, just in case you don't have a computer that you can access during a holiday or you suddenly just remembered on the way to the airport.
Time saved: 5 - 10 minutes
4. Keep accessories to a minimum
Sometimes we might want to look our best in the airport just in case we stumble into anyone we know or if we're low-key trying to get a seat upgrade, but keeping your accessories to a minimum can keep you from beeping through a metal detector and getting an extra pat down. Watches, earrings, belts, boots and necklaces might set off the alarms so better be safe than sorry.
Time saved: 5 - 10 minutes
5. Don't accidentally bring prohibited items
If you don't like arguing with security or having your precious belongings thrown away, be wary of the local regulations and prohibited items in your flight. When doing an online check-in, the Traveloka App also tells you what items are prohibited in the flight so you have the list right at your fingertips. If you travelling international, a rule of thumb is to pre-pack <100 ml liquids into a ziplock bag and not bring anything above that, unless it's purchased at the duty free. Common mistakes include 120ml foundations, aerosols (hairspray, dry shampoo or spray tan), water bottles, sunblock and your coffee. Also, remember to avoid bringing items with sharp edges or point that capable of injuring someone (including nail clippers!)
Time saved: 5 minutes or say goodbye to your items
6. Set an alarm for- everything!
Set an alarm or reminder to when you should wake up in the morning to when you should be in your cab to when you should be in the gate, this just keeps your life together in case you caught the case of the airport stress. This is especially important if you're like me and enjoy working in the airport with my headphones on as you can't hear the announcements, which include gate changes or flight delays. Be sure to check on the status of your flight from time to time, or you might just get left behind!
7. Be very careful of your connecting flights or just... don't
Book a direct flight whenever possible but if not, be wary of all the details of your connecting flight. Make sure there is sufficient time between flights to incorporate potential delays of the first flight, hold-ups in customs or terminal changes if you're switching from a domestic to an international flight. They might book you in the next flight free of charge if you're using the same airline but if you're using different airlines, they are not going to take in responsibility and you might have to pinch pennies for that new plane ticket.
Time saved: 1 hours - purchase a new connecting flight
8. Check-in Online
It's shocking the amount of people that know about online check-in and do not utilise it. To make our lives easier, Traveloka has recently launched their Online Check-in platform that can even be done through the ease of your phone through their app. Easily add and change your details with a tap of a screen and see a crystal clear flight itinerary, a gem for connecting flights!
Pop your baggage at the baggage drop or online check-in counter of your flight and cut all that extra queuing time, especially during peak hours or red dates. Choosing your seat number or changing it cannot get any simpler than using the Traveloka App. Most importantly, you can easily download your boarding pass into your phone or open it through the app, to save time on printing it yourself or if you've accidentally deleted the email that the airline sent you.
Best of all is that Traveloka is available worldwide and has multiple language options if you're more comfortable in reading things in another language other than English and to reduce confusion when going to a non-English speaking country.
Time saved: 30 - 50 minutes
9. Weigh your luggage to avoid drama
Weigh your luggage at home so you won't be shocked on how heavy it is or to what extent you've exceeded your baggage allowance. Moving from your check-in luggage to carry-on is one thing, but the steep prices of extra baggage allowance is a whole different animal. Either pay for extra baggage allowance beforehand or just pack lightly because an extra $100 to 1 kg is just not worth it. Imagine trying to unpack your neatly folded (or even worse, random piles of) clothes in front of the whole world to see and how much unnecessary time that wastes.
Time saved: 10 - 40 minutes
10. Or don't check-in a bag altogether
Skip the baggage check-in line and breeze through the airport by just bringing carry-on luggage and boarding pass, perfect for short business trips, saving so much time.
Time saved: 30 minutes - 1 hour
Well, hopefully these 10 tips will help you to avoid some previous mistakes of mine!