Think about your last visit to the airport, and where was the one place you wasted time, and it was annoying? It took extra time that you wish you could avoid. It probably required a long line. And even if you had kiosk service, you still had to wait….
YES, I’m talking about the check-in counter!
The single largest time waste in the airport is during check-in. To drastically reduce this time requires a multi-pronged approach
- Book flights with airlines that allow online check-in. This will keep you out of the lines requiring check-in at the airport. A list of all airlines that provide Online Check-in is here.
- Fly with carry-on only. This eliminates any lines prior to the security check.
- If checking luggage, invest in the One Bag Tag. This high tech device replaces the luggage tracking tags placed on your luggage every time you check your bags. You will have a permanent bar code, and your flight will be tagged to that code on every flight. No more stickers, waiting for printing, removing tags, and more. It also provides real-time tracking of your luggage in the airport, and if you are separated – such as when the airline misdirects your luggage. There are other great features you can learn about in this video:
Implement these 3 items, and you will drastically reduce your time in the airport. To cut down on your time even more, try doing these additional items:
- If you travel often, take advantage of TSA’s PreCheck. This is a very short security line, and is fast. You don’t need to remove shoes, belts, liquids, and laptops. All these items make the other security check-ins much slower. Add that it has fewer people participating, and you are moving through the line very quickly.
- If you choose not to participate in PreCheck, then as you are in the line, queuing for your turn with the TSA Agent, have all of your items removed and placed in the outside pocket of your carry-on. This would be jewelry, belt, coins, electronic items, wallet, etc. The only items you will need are your ID and airline tickets. The you can quickly place your shoes in a bin, carry-on in a bin, and laptop in a bin, and move over to the imaging line for body screening.
- If you have multiple xray/screening lines, your best option is to go to those on the left. its natural for humans to go right. and unless they are savvy travelers, they will gravitate to the right. This means that even if the left line looks just as long, its likely occupied by travelers who are doing the same time saving techniques as you, and those lines will move quicker.
- Take advantage of travel lounges when available. Its quieter, and less crowded, so you can make last minute calls, and even find more power outlets if you need to charge devices, or connect to the online world. Often you can get beverage service, and light food – again without losing your terminal seat, and standing in a concession line. some are free, others cost a day charge, however frequent travelers can save money by purchasing an annual membership that allows access to 1000+ airport lounges. Details can be found Here.
Lastly, you can save time with your ticketing, and in the case of cancellations or severe delays, by taking advantage of Travel Insurance, and the services of a Travel Professional. Both resources can completely eliminate standing in line for re-ticketing and booking. Just return to the lounge, and get your travel professional on the problem. Typically, they will have it solved well before you could get back to the ticketing agent, and you won’t have to leave the security zone to make it happen.