The 5 step guide to airport survival


There is one aspect of a holiday, stag weekend, hen party or business trip that you probably don’t like, and that is most likely to be the time spent at the airport! When you reach check in you’ll either be acting like the giddy kids in front of you, full of uncontainable excitement at the thought of heading off to a foreign land, or silently cursing under your breath as you join a line longer than the Wall of China just to check your bags in. If you’re more likely to fall into the second category than the first you’d better read on!

Try to get an early flight

This one is a bit of a double-edged sword but you can technically get more holiday time if you book the right flights. Early morning is usually better for flying as fewer people tend to book flights through the night. This can mean fewer families if this is something that irritates you, and you’ll also find everything to generally be calmer and quieter throughout the night. You may even find that your flights are cheaper if you choose to fly at an ‘ungodly’ hour. However, there is no quiet time to fly, as most flights are almost full no matter what time of the day it is.

Bring provisions

Let’s face it, like train stations and service stations, airports charge significantly more for their food and drink than you’ll see on the High Street or anywhere else. This is because once you’re at the airport you can’t exactly pop to the nearest town if you want a bag of crisps or a bottle of drink. As a result you’re right where they want you, succumbing to the sorts of prices that mean you have to sell the clothes off your back in order to buy an egg and cress sandwich. So to get around this problem just bring a few snacks along, keep them in your hand luggage and eat them before you board. Some airports will make you throw away any food or drink when you enter the departure lounge so be sure you know if you can take food through before you head to the lounge.

Check in online

The most ideal way of avoiding the chaos of checking in is to do so online. This is fast becoming commonplace for airlines, to the point where soon most people will check in before they arrive at the airport. For passengers with just hand luggage this is especially useful as you can bypass check in completely. With smartphones increasingly the norm, airlines and airports are releasing their own branded apps, which brings me onto the next tip in my list…

Use smartphone apps and mobile websites

Going on a holiday or business trip is one time when you can make good use of your smartphone. Many airlines allow you to check in using their dedicated apps now, and airports will often have either their own app or a dedicated mobile website. You can use these apps and mobile websites to your advantage, checking in when you can, keeping an eye on delays and departures; some even hold the key to exclusive offers at shops in the departure lounge.

Make sure you know which terminal your flight departs from

I’m speaking from personal experience on this one, if the airport you happen to be flying from happens to have more than one terminal make sure you know which terminal your flight departs from! Having followed one of my previous tips and checked in online with just hand luggage, it took me until about 15 minutes before my flight was due to depart before I realised I was in the wrong terminal! Bear in mind it was a good 10 minute walk to the gate if I were in the right terminal to begin with, I was in trouble! Fortunately I somehow made it, but with only seconds to spare, according to the rather annoyed flight stewardess!

These are my tips to help you survive the airport; I haven’t covered what to do in the event of a delayed flight though, because that’s an entire article in itself!


Lee is Hen Heaven’s web content editor, and as you can tell he isn’t the biggest fan of airports. He does however love travelling and visiting new places, so he is trying to learn to love airports. Or at least tolerate them.