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Travel Tips: Getting through the airport quickly

Here are some great travel tips for getting through the airport quickly.  We can help get your trip off on the right foot.  Here’s some things to remember.

Tips for the airport counter

 .ID
As simple as this sounds, many people approach the counter and it takes them 5 minutes to find their ID or itinerary.  Make sure you have both ready for the airline counter agent when you step up to the counter.  Some airlines may also require that you show the credit card you used to purchase the ticket.  Make sure you have that handy as well.

Boarding Pass/Seat Assignment
Double check your boarding pass before you leave the counter.  Make sure it’s yours, has the correct destination, frequent flyer number and the seat assignment you want.  On a few occasions, we’ve been handed the wrong boarding pass.

Luggage
When the agent checking you in attaches the bag tag to your luggage, double check the destination.  Make sure it’s the same as where you’re going and that the flight numbers are correct.  You definitely want your luggage going to the same destination as you.  Also check to make sure your luggage tag is still attached.

IAH TIP:  If you’re itinerary includes multiple plane changes or transfers to another airline, ask the ticket agent if your bags can be checked through to the final destination.  Many airlines have “interline” agreements that will allow them to transfer your baggage to other carriers without you needing to pick them up and transfer them yourselves.  You will need a copy of your itinerary from the other airline if it’s not on the same itinerary as the initial airline you’re traveling.

Security Line Options
Ask the ticket agent about alternative security lines.  Many airports have multiple security checkpoints, some in remote areas of the airport.  Other “lesser known” checkpoints will give you an alternative  if the line you’re planning on using has a long wait.

Where To?
Double check with the ticket agent about your departing gate.  They change frequently.  Don’t trust the text message or email confirmation from the airline.  You should also double-check the gate again once you’re in the terminal.

Have Everything?
Before you leave the ticket counter, make sure you have your boarding pass, passport , baggage receipts and carry-ons.

Security checkpoint tips

Before You Get In Line
Before you even get in to the security line, remove your jacket, sweater or coat.  Also remove any belts, jewelry, watches or coins in your pockets.  Get rid of any liquids that are not part of your 3-1-1 ziploc bag.  This will make moving through security much quicker.  Have your ID and boarding pass ready.  If you’re using a mobile boarding pass, make sure your phone is ready to display it.

At The Checkpoint
Don’t forget to remove your shoes and 3-1-1 ziploc bag when you’re putting your items on the X-Ray belt.  Video cameras also need to be removed from your carry-on, just like laptops.  If the checkpoint has the new full body-scan x-ray devices, empty EVERYTHING out of your pockets.  You can’t have ANYTHING in your pockets when using these devices.

Have Everything?

After your items have come through the X-Ray, make sure you have everything.  Move your bins to the end of the conveyor belt.  It will be much easier to put yourself back together away from others.  Check one last time to make sure you haven’t left anything behind, including your laptop, boarding pass, wallet or passport.

Tips for at the gate

Check The Signs
When you get to the gate, double check the screens to make sure this is the plane to your final destination.  If you have your boarding pass, there’s no reason to check in again.  If you didn’t get a seat assignment, don’t worry, they’ll call you up when they have it for you.  They know you don’t have a seat assignment.

Check Your Boarding Pass
Most airlines now board planes by seating section or frequent flyer status. Know where you fit in.  If you’re in the last boarding group, there’s no reason to be the first person standing in line.  You can take a seat and relax.  The plane will still be there when it’s time for you to board.

While You’re Waiting…
While you’re waiting to board the plane, now is a good time to get those things out of your carry on that you’ll want to have during your flight.  iPod, headphones, magazines, newspapers, etc.  When you get on the plane, you’ll be able to drop them in your seat and store your bag overhead quickly.

Ready To Board
When your seating section is called have your boarding pass in your hand or the barcode showing on your cell phone.  If you’re traveling to a different country have your passport out and ready.

Tips for boarding the plane

Find Your Seat
Plane configurations on all airlines worldwide are pretty much the same with very few exceptions.  As you enter the plane, almost 100% of the time “A” is the window on your right and the letters go mostly in sequence to the left side of the plane. While row numbers may not begin with the number “1”, they do continue higher as you move to the back of the plane.  So, if your ticket says Row 36 and you see Row 5 as you enter the plane, you can move rapidly as your row is still a good distance ahead of you.  When you arrive at your seat, double-check that you’re in the right seat.

Store Your Bag
Once your at your row/seat, store your bag overhead if possible.  That will leave you room to stretch out in your seat. If you’re going to need to get into your carry-on during the flight, make sure you position it in the overhead so you can access it easily.  If you can’t, then under the seat in front of you it goes.  Most airlines are now rigorously enforcing that your laptop be stowed for take-off.  You can’t put it in your lap or the seat back in front of you.

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