There are definitely things you DON’T want to do at an airport when you are traveling for a vacation (or anywhere). The wrong travel habits can slow you down, make you miss your flights, or irritate other passengers. You don’t want to be THAT person. People who don’t travel often forget airport basics that can help you get to your vacation destination quickly and efficiently.
Recently, I was flying unexpectedly across the US by myself. Usually I don’t travel alone, so this gave me lots of time to people watch at the airport. This is somewhat of an addiction as a travel professional. I’m always seeing how people, what issues they encounter, and what could have prevented them. I was surprised by how many people were missing the basics of airport travel. So, if you need a reminder about travel tip basics, the following are things you should NEVER do at an airport.
Airline ticket rules change all the time. What’s included, extra, or fined can be very different from one airline to another. Terms like basic economy, regular economy, priority, preferred, and premium all mean different things. You need to read the fine print. I have seen many a ticket agent arguing with a passenger who did not realize what they booked. Cheap tickets aren’t always cheap!
Airlines have seriously upped the charges for bags being overweight. Many airlines now have differing standards for what a bag can weigh. Make sure you check your ticket’s baggage allowance and weight and size restrictions or you could be paying hefty fines at the ticket counter. Leave some weight in your bag for your return as well. People tend to pick up a few things while traveling and it increases your bag’s weight. If you were .5lb below when you left for vacation, you could easily be overweight on the return. The airport scale is the one that counts so make sure your bag is underweight when you leave home in case the airport scale is different than your home scale.
If you have a known traveler number through a program like TSA precheck or Global Entry, this must be marked on your boarding pass to be able to use the expedited line at security. It happens frequently that this information doesn’t make it from the reservation to the boarding pass. If “TSA Pre-Check” did not show up on your boarding pass, you need to talk to a ticket agent at airport check-in and give them your known traveler number so they can print you a new boarding pass. Security will not let you in the expedited lane without this. The security people cannot change your ticket even with TSA precheck ID. It must be on your ticket.
Have you ever been in line for security and someone is taking $50 in change of out of their cargo pants along with a giant key ring, 6 receipts, a wallet, and maybe the kitchen sink? There is literally no reason you need these things in your pocket while traveling. Don’t be this person. Before you get in line for security (or while in line), empty your pockets into your carryon or personal item. This makes dumping your things on the security belt so much easier. And you won’t get eye rolls from the people behind you.
Even in small airports, you need to leave enough time to clear security. Airlines take no responsibility if you did not leave enough time to clear security. It doesn’t matter if half the airport is closed and TSA is taking a vacation. You were supposed to leave enough time. So, make sure that you arrive in plenty of time to clear security. Get in line right away and get to your gate.
Should your bag get lost on the way to your vacation, it helps tremendously to have put your name and phone number on the bag. Make sure you put some form of identification on your checked bags. You can also take a picture of any checked bags to help ID them later if they get lost.
If you check a bag, the ticket counter will give you a little paper receipt that is often a sticker. You need to keep these tags. In the event your luggage is lost, you will need these tags to track the bags down. Many places around the world also require you to show these tags to leave customs with your bag. Keep your luggage claim tags with your ID so you have them ready.
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About The Traveling Compass:
The Traveling Compass is a full-service luxury travel agency. Our success is built on a foundation of unmatched expertise and outstanding customer service. Our travel agents specialize in international travel, corporate incentive trips, destination weddings & honeymoons, multigenerational travel, luxury leisure, and family travel. We are also Authorized Disney Vacation Planners with experience assisting families that have children with special needs or large families or groups with complicated dining reservations for over 20 guests. Our personalized travel itineraries are designed to help discerning, time-pressed travelers plan the most elaborate vacations, down to the smallest detail. As luxury travel agents, we are dedicated to creating and facilitating travel experiences that expand awareness and give each person a real sense of the country and culture they are visiting. It is our mission to make sure you have the travel experience of a lifetime, every time.