Top ten tips for a trouble-free airport experience

Ten tips for a worry-free experience

  1. Before you leave the house check that everyone has their passports, airline tickets, visas and insurance policies. The same applies when leaving your holiday accommodation for your return journey!
  2. Try and pack light – if you can manage to travel with only hand luggage, which for journeys of less than a week CAN be done, it will save you both time and money. But do check the airline’s hand luggage maximum sizes/weight as these vary considerably from airline to airline. Ensure that any electronic items that you are carrying in your hand luggage are fully charged. If you use medication, ensure that you carry a supply in your hand luggage. 
  3. Weigh your luggage or book and pay for additional bags before your travel so that you’re not hit with a hefty charge at check-in.
  4. If you’re driving to the airport check that there are no road works and always leave a little extra time if travelling at busy times of the year. If you’re using public transport check for engineering works – they’re often scheduled to take place on bank holidays and at weekends so as not to interfere with commuters journeys into work. Book your airport parking in advance; this can save you money. You may wish to consider travelling to the airport the day before; many hotels local to the airport offer a stay and park service and many airlines will allow you to check-in the night before your flight so you can head straight throught security to the departure gate the following day. You should also check-in online as this will save you time when you get to the airport.
  5. There will be bureaux de changes at the airport, but their exchange rates are not very competitive, so try to remember to get your foreign currency before you travel.
  6. Get ready for security checks. Take off your coats, jackets and belts, remove electronic items from their bags and covers BEFORE you get to the security person. Also remember that you can only take liquids, including toothpastes, in 100ml containers which must be placed in one clear plastic bag. Doing these simple things will speed things up for you and everyone else in the queue. If you need to charge up your smartphone or lap top, use the charging ports that many UK airports now provide in the terminal building, or purchase a portable charger to take with you.

    While UK airports are working towards introducing new security scanners and checks, many UK airports will not be fully up and running with the new security scanners for travel this summer, which is why ABTA is advising travellers to continue to follow the existing rules around liquids and removing electronic devices when preparing for their trips. See our advice on new UK airport security scanners for more information.
  7. If you’re travelling with small children bring along essential items such as nappies, wipes etc and to keep them entertained, bring a small selection of travel games, colouring books and crayons etc. 
  8. Many people, particularly nervous flyers, will have some alcohol at the airport. Don’t overdo it as airlines are entitled to refuse to let you on board the plane if they think you're drunk.
  9. And finally, if you’re one of the first on the plane don’t hog the overhead hand luggage lockers by putting hand bags and coats up there. The space will be needed by other people for their cases and it will only slow down take off for everyone on the flight.
  10. All the above applies to your return journey also – in addition remember to ensure that you have sufficient funds for any departure taxes that may apply.