The airport experience can be a bumpy ride at times, from battling a lot of traffic on the way there to long lines at security checkpoints and last-minute flight delays. So, here are some tips today to make your next takeoff a smoother journey.
Do some pre-flight homework
As we experienced in 2020, itineraries can change at a moment’s notice, but with the right information, you can make smarter travel decisions and create a more enjoyable trip.
Staying on top of the latest advisories is now simple with our Travel Vitals™ search tool, which compiles travel-related updates from hundreds of vetted sources and enables travelers to review relevant information on every key touchpoint of their journey. For instance, you can use it to see whether the destination you’re flying to has quarantine measures in place, if face masks are required at the airport and aboard the aircraft, and what safety and cleaning protocols your preferred airline is taking.
Pack the right gear in the right bag
As you may realize when reviewing safety information on Travel Vitals, there are not many places in public you can visit without masking up these days. So be sure to pack enough face coverings – as well as hand sanitizer and other personal protective supplies – for the duration of your trip.
By the way, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) now allows passengers to pack up to 12-ounce bottles of disinfectant and as many premoistened antibacterial wipes as you like in their carry-on. Just note: the 3.4-ounces-or-less rule for other liquids, gels, and aerosols still applies.
If possible, we advise skipping checked luggage and taking a lightweight, easy-to-maneuver carry-on. This way, you can avoid any congestion at the baggage drop-off and claims areas.
Time your arrival just so
While it’s smart to arrive at the airport early to avoid the “I might miss my plane” panic, you also don’t want to come too early and be stuck at the airport, waiting for hours. More time spent there means more opportunities for exposure.
When timing your arrival, the TSA suggests allowing enough time for parking/shuttle transportation and the check-in and security screening process.
To avoid extra time at the airport, the International Civil Aviation Organization advises travelers to come to the airport “ready to fly” by completing the check-in process before arrival and having mobile boarding passes ready on their devices.
You also may want to check out the TSA’s app, which has a feature to gauge how busy the airport may be on your specific day and time of travel based on historical data.
Take advantage of flight disruption assistance
Your flight to Sao Paulo just got canceled? Avoid rescheduling hassles by taking advantage of our Proactive Traveler Care™ flight disruption service, which uses cutting-edge technology to monitor travelers’ flights in real time and respond to travel disruptions proactively – without the traveler having to reach out first.
The way it works: When there’s a flight delay or cancellation or if there’s a chance a traveler might miss their connection, we will automatically send impacted passengers a message via email, text, or the Amex GBT Mobile app (depending on their setting preferences) to see if rebooking support is needed. If the passenger replies “yes,” then one our travel counselors will reach out directly and offer their assistance.
Please note: This is a complimentary service for those who book their travel with us – so remember to use your company’s approved booking tool and do not book directly with the airline. Otherwise, we won’t have the itinerary information we need to monitor your flight.
Speed through security
If you’re a frequent flyer, expedited security screening programs such as TSA PreCheck, Global Entry, and CLEAR can drastically reduce the minutes you’re standing in line. For an $85 application fee, TSA PreCheck allows preapproved fliers to access designated fast-track security lines and help clear airport security faster. Enrolled travelers also don’t need to remove their shoes, belts, lightweight jackets, electronics, or their bag of travel-size liquids and gels from their carry-ons, minimizing the surface areas they need to touch.
For just $15, you also can become a Global Entry member, which allows preapproved travelers the ability to skip the paperwork and US Customs Border and Protection inspection lines when returning from international trips.
Finally, there’s CLEAR, which uses biometric technology to get you through lines faster. Instead of waiting for an officer to review your documents, members whiz through CLEAR’s dedicated lanes to have their identity verified by a fingerprint or iris scan, then move directly to the metal detectors and bag scanners for TSA’s physical screening. The best part? It’s a truly touchless experience and there’s no need for a security officer to physically handle your ID or boarding pass.