If there is one thing that can turn what should be a pleasant trip into an aggravating journey, it’s standing in line at the airport for excessive amounts of time. Airports should simply be a means to help you get from place A to place B. Wasting minutes standing around to check in or to pass through a security check can make the airport unpleasant experience.
That’s why we’ve come up with five ways to expedite or avoid airport lines:
Become part of the TSA PreCheck program
This program pre-screens individuals who are considered low-risk. Once you qualify, TSA pre-check will send you a known traveler number (KTN) that you enter when making flight reservations. Participating airlines will mark on your ticket that you are a TSA PreCheck member. There are currently 130 participating airports, with several more joining in the near future. It costs $85 for a five-year membership (that’s just $17 a year). It allows you to go through security without having to remove your belt, shoes, laptop, etc. Seems like a worthwhile investment for the peace-of-mind knowing that your airport wait time will be minimal.
Be a CLEAR member
Another program that helps you cut waiting time is CLEAR. This enables you to jump the line at security. CLEAR members receive a card that they simply swipe at security and then are escorted by a CLEAR employee to the front of the line. Unlike TSA PreCheck members, you still have to remove your belt, shoes, and laptop, but you have the convenience of not having to stand in endlessly long lines. CLEAR is located at 13 major airports and also has more looking to join. CLEAR is also pricier than TSA PreCheck – it costs $179 a year. If you want to travel a lot, you can easily expedite or avoid airport lines with this.
Don’t travel on a Friday
Business travelers are often returning from their trips on Friday. Of course, those going away for the weekend also tend to travel on Friday. The combination of these two seems to make the airport lines longer on Friday than on any other day of the week. So don’t travel on Fridays.
Check in online
This will save you a couple minutes, especially if you’re not checking any bags. And not only that, it will help guarantee you get the seat you want. You should also download the app for the airline you are traveling with; this will give you access to your boarding pass on your phone, so you don’t have to worry about the hassle and time it takes to print your pass. Just have your phone ready with your boarding pass displayed, and the TSA crew will glance at it before your enter the security line, and the airline crew members will simply scan the barcode directly from your phone when you are boarding the plane.
Choose your airport wisely
Most people don’t take into account the size of the airport when booking tickets, but if standing in long lines is something you really want to avoid, try booking flights that leave from smaller airports as opposed to larger ones. Smaller airports tend to have shorter lines. If you want to expedite or avoid airport lines, think small.
These five tips will help decrease the time you spend in the airport. However, while you may be excited about all of these tips, don’t forget to leave a few minutes of wiggle room incase something does go wrong. It is not worth missing your flight just because you did not leave any extra time to get to your flight. Wishing you happy and speedy travels!