Every day more than 8 million people take to the air, with that number rising each year. However, as the travel industry grows, unfortunately, so do the lines and distractions at airports. For frequent business travelers, this means more wait time, more headaches, and more time lost when you could be working. So how can you avoid the added annoyances? American Express Global Business Travel has compiled our top airport tips to help. From skipping lines to saving money, our airport travel tips will help you navigate your way to a stress-free experience.
Expedited Security Screening
If you’re a frequent flyer, then expedited security screening programs such as TSA PreCheck are a must. For an $85 application fee, TSA PreCheck allows pre-approved fliers to access designated fast-track security line for five years. A simple airport tip, enrolling in TSA PreCheck will save a significant amount of time in the long run. With only a small percentage of fliers taking advantage of this program, plus the added benefit of keeping your shoes on and laptop in your bag, TSA PreCheck is a great way to speed through security while avoiding the need to put yourself back together after.
While your schedule may not always allow, aim for flying on Tuesday or Wednesday rather than Friday or Sunday to avoid larger crowds. These days usually draw fewer travelers and offer better fare prices. Fewer passengers also mean more breathing room, both on the plane and in the airport.
Usually a no-brainer, but every once and a while you put off the online check-in knowing that you’ll have to print your ticket at the airport anyway. One of our top airport travel tips is to check-in the minute your flight allows. Not only do you avoid the potential lines waiting at a ticket counter or kiosk, but you’re also more likely to have the chance to upgrade.
If you’re traveling domestically, it’s always smart to arrive at the airport about 60 to 90 minutes before your flight. This allows you ample time to check luggage if needed, get through security and grab a quick bite to eat. However, never be afraid to show up earlier. The earlier you are the better the chances you have of grabbing an earlier flight on stand-by and getting to your destination sooner.
Whether lost for a day or lost for a week, lost baggage is always an ordeal. Another one of our top airport tips, when your baggage is lost or damaged, do not leave the premises before filing a claim. While it may seem easier to skip the line and call customer service, this process will take you more time and may make it harder for the airline to successfully track down your bag. After you’ve filed the report, don’t be shy about asking for reimbursement for emergency costs. Airlines will usually cover some additional expenses to make up for the inconvenience. If your bag is declared permanently gone, you’ll be asked to estimate the bag’s value and reimbursed up to $3,300 per passenger on domestic flights ($1,500 for international).