Tricks for getting through the airport faster

Experienced travelers know that a little preparation goes a long way to speeding up the airport experience.  Use these tips to get through the airport in the quickest way possible.

17 December 2021
Tricks for getting through the airport faster
Man hurrying through airport

Airports around the world have nearly returned to pre-pandemic traffic levels and with staffing levels still low, that means long lines for parking, check-in, and security. The handy two-hour rule has turned into a recommended three hours before your flight starts boarding.

Experienced travelers know that a little preparation goes a long way to speeding up the airport experience. 

Use these tips to get through the airport in the quickest way possible.

1 Sign up for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry

We’ve mentioned these expedited security programs often and you’ll find that $85 fee worth it. If you travel internationally, Global Entry gives you PreCheck-like expedited security when you travel abroad and it includes expedited security when traveling through US airports too.

Pro tip: Various travel credit cards offer statement credit if you pay for the program using the card, taking the price to speed through security to $0.

2 Figure out the parking situation

If you’re not ride-sharing or getting dropped off by a friend, knowing ahead of time where to park, which lots are open, and how far they are from the terminal can save you loads of anxiety. 

At busy travel times, airport lots fill up quickly so you’ll want to have a plan for where you’ll park and how you’ll get yourself and your stuff to the airport. Specifically, is there a shuttle from that off-airport parking lot and how often does it run?

Pro tip: Empty your vehicle of any extra stuff that could be attractive to thieves the night before your trip. 

3 Check your flight before you leave home

You know to check in online (or in the app) 24 hours before your flight, but it’s important to verify your flight is still on time before you leave home too. 

In fact, with the current rates of flight cancelations and delays, you want to check your flight status early and often. Nothing’s worse than getting to the airport on time and waving your family goodbye only to find you have a three-hour delay or the flight is canceled.

Pro tip: The airline’s app may give you timely notifications, but not always. You can, however, track where your flight is in real-time at FlightAware using the flight number.

4 Dress for success

Dressing for success at the airport means having a dedicated set of air travel clothes. 

Your go-to travel outfit should be comfortable, easy to keep clean, and presentable. It should be neither too warm nor too thin. You can always have a light jacket or travel scarf to stay warm in your bag.

Pro tip: Travel scarves are beloved travel necessities for many travelers. Here’s a list of the best travel scarves of 2022, if you’re curious.

5 Get organized before the security line

Whether you’re going through the expedited lines or not, getting organized is key. 

Use these steps to speed through security like a pro:

  1. Print your boarding pass or locate it in the app on your phone
  2. Put your ID in an easily accessible (but secure) pocket
  3. Remove any outdoor layers of clothing or metal items and stow them in your bag
  4. Have your bag of liquids in an easy-to-reach place
  5. Put any other clutter – keys, credit cards, cash, coins – away

This way, when you get to the front of the security line, you’ll avoid spilling things, getting sent back through the scanner, and generally irritating everyone around you.

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Damian Tysdal
Author
DamianTysdal

Damian Tysdal is the founder of CoverTrip, and he believes travel insurance should be easier to understand. He started the first travel insurance blog in 2006.

Damian Tysdal is the founder of CoverTrip, and he believes travel insurance should be easier to understand. He started the first travel insurance blog in 2006.