THE ULTIMATE AIRPORT HACK LIST (45 HACKS!)
Flying can be stressful, expensive, and exhausting — but it doesn’t have to be this way.
We’ve rounded up the best tips to make your next trip through the airport as easy as possible.
- DOWNLOAD OR PRINT YOUR BOARDING PASS AND AIRPORT MAP.
It is always a good idea to download your boarding pass into your phone in case something happens with the airport internet or you just lost your printed pass.
- Take a screenshot of your mobile boarding pass
Sometimes the app signs you out, sometimes it crashes, and sometimes you just don’t have service. Take a screenshot of your boarding pass for easy access and to bypass any app related issues.
- DON’T LISTEN TO MUSIC WHEN YOU ARE AT THE AIRPORT.
The Reason in this is rather simple you can miss very important announcements like a gate change or even a boarding call.
- MAKE YOUR SUITCASE STAND OUT.
Nearly all suitcases after a long flight look the same. Take the time to but a colorful bow around the handle or put something distinctive on it in order not to lose it.
- CARRY A MULTIPLUG
Power plugs in Airports are sparse and very spread out. Carrying multi-plug can help you charge all your electronics or even make friends with a fellow traveler.
- BRING AN EMPTY WATER BOTTLE THROUGH SECURITY
Buying water bottles at the airport is like throwing money down the drain. Just take an empty bottle and fill it up in the bathroom.
- OR YOU CAN JUST FREEZE THEM
Ice is solid, of course, so as long as liquids are frozen they should be fine with airport security.
- PACK ALL YOUR LIQUIDS AND ELECTRONIC DEVICES ON THE TOP OF YOUR BAG
So you don’t waste time searching for your stuff and possibly delaying the security line.
- START EMPTYING YOUR POCKETS WHEN IN THE LINE
Be smart and cool, don’t wait last minute to empty your pockets and get your liquids out.
- PICK THE LEFT LINE
Most people are right-handed, they tend to pick a right line to start queuing. Picking the furthest left line gives you the most chance to pass through quickly.
- Or, pick the security line with the fewest Airport Security agents
If they are more than one, chances are that one of them is being trained, and that pretty much every item will be stopped as it goes through the x-ray.
- CHECK IN ONLINE
Most airlines now offer online check-in. Use it and save time!
- QUEUE NEAR THE BUSINESS CLASS CHECK-IN
The business check-in counter is never really busy. The hostess will sometimes will help with the workload of the main check-in counters. With a bit of luck, you’ll be helped faster that way.
- BOARDING TAKES TIME, NO NEED TO RUSH
Boarding only takes 10-20 minutes. So let the crowd go first and board in a civilized way after everybody else. You’ll all end up in the same place anyway.
- BE THE LAST ONE ON BOARD
Being the last one on the plane means that you could potentially be able to pick any empty seats. Being polite and letting others pass first could well pay off. Just ask politely the stewardesses.
- IF YOU HAVE A HAND LUGGAGE WITH YOU THAT YOU DEFINITELY WANT IN THE PLANE JUST IGNORE THE tips 12 & 13.
Sometimes the flight is fully booked and there is no space for everyone’s hand luggage. For the ones that there is no space, they will get them checked in (for free of course).
- PACK THE MOST IMPORTANT BELONGINGS IN YOUR CARRY-ON
Losing your checked-in luggage is unlikely, but it could happen. Be prepared for that too.
- PACK A LOT OF SNACKS
Airport food is expensive and often not that great. Pack yourself some snacks so you save money and eat what you like in transit.
- HAVE A JUMPER HANDY
Airports get cold – really cold sometimes. Keep a warm jumper on hand so you can keep yourself in shape for the biggest adventure of your life!
- Book red-eye flights for an emptier airport
Long lines, crowded commutes, and traffic can be avoided by picking off-peak flights, especially overnight ones.
- THE BEST BATHROOM IN THE AIRPORT IS ALWAYS AT THE SAME PLACE
When you’re coming off a flight, skip the restroom by the gates and head to the one in baggage claim, which is always cleaner—and there’s never a line.
- Bring Ziploc bags
Instead of awkwardly pulling shampoos and lotions out of your Dopp kit, keep liquids in a separate Ziploc to easily pull out of your carry on.
- Be loyal to one airline
Loyalty to an airline, as well as the frequent flyer and reward programs, will get you perks like upgrades, lounge access, and priority boarding.
- Get the GateGuru app
This app tracks departure and arrival times, estimates security checkpoint wait times, features terminal maps with ATMs, bathrooms, lounges, shops, and restaurants, as well as reviews, and even helps with discounted Avis car rental bookings. You can also choose to get push notifications for real-time updates to your itinerary (like gate changes, security wait time changes, delays or layover time adjustments).
- Download the AirGrub app
AirGrub allows you to order food from your phone, pay for it through the app, and pick it up to eat on the plane. All you need to do is enter your flight number to see what meals are available near your gate.
- Download the LoungeBuddy app
The LoungeBuddy app will not only help you figure out what lounges you can access by analyzing your itinerary, credit cards, and loyalty status but also maps out what lounges are nearby, as well as traveler’s reviews of lounges around the world.
- Use SeatGuru.com, a travel site that tells you which seat is the best on any given plane based on passenger reviews.
- Sit near a lounge for free wi-fi
This might not always work, but often at lounges, the wi-fi signal is strong enough to extend beyond its doors, so sitting right outside of it may get you free wi-fi.
- Check FourSquare for free wi-fi
Foursquare users not only post tips on the best meals but often share wi-fi passwords.
- Try and get into the lounge for free
Most lounges allow members to bring in a non-member. If you’re friendly enough, you might be able to convince someone entering the lounge to sign you in as well.
- Never wait in line to get rebooked
If your flight gets canceled or there’s a really long delay, you’ll find yourself in a stampede heading towards the help desk. Instead of following the herd, get on the phone with your airline ASAP. Get even more of an edge by pre-programming their numbers into your phone, because when a flight with hundreds of people gets canceled, every second count. The person on the phone can do everything the gate agent can, and may even have more options for rebooking. Plus, you get to skip the line. That said, the line is often worth it for food and hotel vouchers, should they be giving those out.
- Tweet airlines
Arguing with some poor, stressed out gate agent will never do you any good, but we’ve found that airlines are super responsive to social media, especially tweets. As long as you’re polite, tweeting at airlines might get you some extra perks.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for things
Always ask for upgrades — the worst that can happen is a polite rebuff.
- Take batteries out of electric toothbrushes and other appliances before packing them. Vibrating suitcases have grounded many flights because of security concerns.
- If you lose something, check all of the lost-and-found. The Transportation Security Administration, the airport police, and each airline have their own.
- Anything that’s been sitting in lost and found for more than 90 days is usually up for grabs. So, if you need something desperately, like a phone charger, just be honest and ask. Chances are that one has been unclaimed for 90 days, so they’ll just give it to you.
- Schmooze the crew with chocolate. Apparently, flight attendants often get each other chocolates when flying privately, so they might think that you’re one of them and give you preferential treatment. At the very least, they’ll be grateful.
- Buy Travel-Sized Items in Advance to Avoid Worrying About Security Rules
- Weigh Your Bags at Home to Prevent Extra Charges
- Book a Private Jet to Avoid Commercial Flight Crowds
Apps like JetSmarter are being called the Uber of airlines. And although some flights are uber-expensive, others – like a flight to Arlington from Houston for eight people – cost only $365 per person.
- Secure Your Luggage with Trackers
Instead of just slapping a pretty bow on your bag to distinguish it from the other luggage in baggage claim, invest in advanced technology like Trakdot luggage tracker and crush-proof, locked bags to help avoid theft.
- Keep a collection of hotel toiletries
Instead of paying for travel-sized toiletries, bring hotel toiletries with you on your next trip. This works great for frequent travelers and saves you money too.
- Skip your contacts and wear glasses
Whether you wear contacts or not, you’ll notice that your eyes and skin will feel dry during the flight. Wear glasses instead of contacts and bring a small bottle of hand lotion and eye drops with you to keep moisturized.
- Wear your extra luggage
If you’re worried about your luggage being over the weight limit, consider wearing your heavier clothing through airport security. Once you pass through security, then you can make a quick outfit change.
- Bring wet wipes and hand sanitizer
We don’t want to believe it, but the airplane tray tables are some of the dirtiest items on the plane. Always keep wet wipes or hand sanitizer in your carry-on luggage to use at the airport and during your flight.