Plan Ahead! 9 Airport Hacks You Must Do Before Your Flight

Airport hacks to save time and stress!

With the holidays around the corner, the airports will have higher than usual traffic. Airlines for America reports highly affordable airfare is driving an increase in holiday air travel, with an estimated 2.5% increase in passengers traveling Thanksgiving.

Sign Up for Expedited Security

Whether you choose TSA Pre-Check or CLEAR, bite the bullet and pay for the expedited security screening. Even if the expedited line is not that much faster, you still avoid the hassle of removing your electronic and liquids from your bag and taking off your shoes, belts, and jewelry. TSA Pre-Check costs only $85 for five years, which is only $17 per year- WORTH IT! CLEAR is more expensive and likely a better choice for frequent flyers. Remember to apply for expedited security prior to your trip, processing can take up to four weeks.

RELATED: How to Get TSA Pre-Check

Carry-on Only

It may seem like a pain to carry on your bag instead of checking it, but, there are advantages to traveling with a carry-on. The biggest advantage to carrying your bag is the time saved waiting for your bag. When you check your bag expect to wait in line when you arrive at the airport and plan on waiting at baggage claim to pick up  your bag after you arrive. Carrying on your bag also ensures it will not be misplaced en route to your destination. If you pack like a pro, one carry-on bag, and one personal item is enough space to transport belongings from A to B.

RELATED: How to Use Packing Cubes

Pack for Security Screening

If you do not have TSA Precheck or CLEAR, keep security screening requirements in mind when you pack your carry-on. Keep the bag with your TSA compliant liquids at the top of your bag, along with your electronics, so you can easily remove them. It is a good idea to keep your bag of liquids near the top of your bag after security to keep them from being squished. It will also keep them readily accessible if you would like to freshen up before your arrival.

RELATED: TSA Compliant Liquid Containers

Book Ground Transportation in Advance

Before you arrive, determine how you will get from the airport to your hotel. Do not assume you can take an Uber or there will be a taxi line available. Some airport shuttles only run during certain hours, so check with your hotel before you arrive. If you are renting a car, make your reservation in advance, do not assume you will be able to rent a car on the spot.

Check Your Airport’s Website

Use your airport’s website to check security checkpoint wait times and parking lot capacity updates online. Make sure you check before you leave the house so you don’t waste time trying to find a parking spot in a nearly full lot. If your airport’s website does not cover security wait time, use the TSA Wait Time website. Always plan to arrive at the airport two to three hours early.

Check-In Online

You can check-in for your flight up to 24 hours in advance. Checking in before you head to the airport will save time, as you can head straight to security (if you are not checking a bag). This is especially important if you are flying on Southwest. After the priority passengers, your boarding number is assigned based on when you check-in. Check-in at home and print out your boarding pass to save time at the airport. If you are using a mobile boarding pass, take a screenshot.

Check your Seating Assignment

After you check in for your flight, check your seat. Sometimes the airline will change the plane, which could change the seating configuration, which could make your aisle seat a middle seat or your bulkhead row a normal row. Another advantage to checking your seat before you fly is you may find a better seat! Once premier flyers are upgraded, new seats are often available. Many airlines also offer first class upgrades a discounted price.

Download Airline App

Download your airlines’ app to take advantage of the mobile boarding pass and flight updates. The app should notify you in real time of gate changes and delays.

Copy Important Documents

Before you leave your house, print out a copy of your travel reservations. Also, make a copy of all important travel documents, photo identification, and directions. If your phone dies or breaks, you will still have access to pertinent information.

Business Travel Life

Business Travel Life is an online resource supporting the road warrior lifestyle. We give business travelers the tools they need to maintain their wellness and productivity when traveling. The topics we cover include business travel tips, travel workouts, healthy travel hacks, travel products, general travel tips, and industry trends. Our goal is to make business travel a healthier experience – and to make healthy travel practices more accessible to all road warriors.



Kristina Portillo, CPT, MS

Kristina is the founder of Business Travel Life. Her love of fitness and travel unified to create a resource for business travelers and road warriors who want to take a healthier approach to business travel. She has traveled for business on and off for the past eight years. Kristina received a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership from Colorado State University and received her Bachelors of Arts in Business Marketing from Chaminade University of Honolulu.

1 Comment
  1. I like how you said that before you arrive at your destination, determine how you will get from the airport to your hotel. I am going on vacation this spring to New York. Thanks for the tips on airport hacks.

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