35+ Airport Hacks To Make The Hours Waiting For A Flight More Pleasant

By Ziyee N

Jet setting around the world may be most people’s dream, but getting through the airport, checking in your bags, and the dreaded questions in customs, on the other hand, is the exact opposite of a dream; it’s an absolute nightmare; we are often racing through the airport in order to make it to our gate on time, and it’s not crazy if we forget a thing or two, take Home Alone, for example, the McCallisters completely forgot about Kevin in the midst of a hectic rush through the airport. But crazy airport experiences can be avoided with proper planning and preparation; given that, we’ve come up with airport tips and tricks to help you turn a hectic and awful airport experience into a smooth experience before boarding your plane to fun destinations.

1. Prepare All Information

Before leaving your home, you should check to see if you have all your documents and personal information prepared and up to date; this ensures a smoother journey through the airport and avoids losing precious time as you may miss your flight due to delays.

Easy_budget / Instagram

It is also a good idea to have your information ready for immigration officers so that you don’t hold up the line; try to have a hard copy of your flight number, hotel reservations, credit card, or some local currency, and be sure to fill out the travel declaration card beforehand.

2. A Copy of IDs

It is also smart to screenshot or photocopy all of your IDs and passports; this is especially important because you never know what’ll happen to you in a foreign country where you don’t know anyone and aren’t familiar with the place.

Jonathon Adato

In case your wallet containing your IDs gets stolen or lost, at least you’ll have a copy of your information. Of course, you’ll definitely need to contact your country’s embassy or consulate as soon as possible to resolve the issue.

3. Parking Space

Believe it or not, most airport goers have a hard time locating their cars in the parking lots after a long trip. This is not only because airport parking lots are often huge, but it’s also because we’re unfamiliar with the layout of the lot, and it’s easy to forget where you left your car. 

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One easy way to avoid losing your car in the airport parking lot is to take a picture of the parking spot; in case you do actually land up forgetting where you parked it, you can show the picture to the airport security and have them point you in the right direction.

4. Check Flight Status

Before arriving at the airport, the most important thing is to pre-check your flight status to see if your flight has been canceled or delayed. We wouldn’t want to go through all the rush of arriving there either too early, or for you to have to turn around and head home again.

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Of course, if your flight is canceled, you’d have to get online and rebook another flight. However, if the flight was delayed, you wouldn’t need to rush to get to the gate on time. So, checking the flight status before arriving at the airport is really useful, especially these days with many disruptions.

5. Rebooking Flights

If you only discover that your flight has been canceled once you are already at the airport, you’ll need to rebook your flight. However, rebooking flights on the sport usually requires you to be queuing in an extremely long line at the counter. Fortunately, we have a simple trick to avoid this.

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Rather than queuing up at the check-in counter, simply call the airline from the airport phone, which is free, and rebook your flight; the representative on the phone can do the exact same thing as the representative at the check-in counter without needing to be surrounded by disgruntled fliers.

6. Check For the Best Seats

It’s commonly known that economy seats are cramped and uncomfortable, but there are a few seats amongst them that do have a little extra legroom as well as being a bit more comfortable, so try to get these seats the next time you fly economy.

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But, how would you know which are the better seats to pre-book? SeatGuru allows you to check reviews on the seats on different aircraft models written by other passengers. So, go ahead and check the reviews before deciding where on the plane you want to sit!  

7. Check Airport Restaurants and Shops

The waiting time at airports can be rather lengthy. During the long wait, most airport goers either get hungry, bored or both; luckily, airports often have a variety of restaurants and shops that offer food and retail services to their customers.

@Cameron_Gray / twitter

So, be sure to check out the restaurants and shops at the airport you’re going to before departure; this way, you’d be able to kill some time and get a healthy meal before boarding the plane. Other than that, if you forgot to pack some stuff, you could even do some last-minute shopping. 

8. Download Airline App

If your airline has its own app, be sure to download it before arriving at the airport because airline apps provide lots of helpful information that you could potentially use; you’ll be able to find everything you need to know in one place.


With the airline app, you’d be able to check your flight status, rebook flights, check airport restaurants and shops, and find out all the rules in a few clicks; you’d be able to enjoy a smoother journey through the airport. 

9. For Faster International Travel

For international travels, the immigration process is always extremely long; a simple and easy way to avoid the lengthy immigration process is for passengers to use Global Entry, an online travel program that very effectively speeds up getting through this red tape.

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Global Entry is a U.S Customs and Border Protection program that allows expedited clearance for travelers upon arrival into the United States; of course, Global Entry charges a membership fee of $100, but it’s totally worth it if you frequently travel internationally.

10. Check Luggage Pickup Point

For flights that have a layover, passengers will have to land at another airport at a certain point of the journey before stepping onto another airplane and traveling to their final destination; passengers of flights like these are advised to ask the airport staff of the luggage pick point beforehand.

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Some layover flights require their passengers to pick up their luggage personally during their layover; so asking where the pickup point is beforehand would prevent you from wasting time looking for it, which would potentially cause you to miss your connecting flight. 

11. Free Up Space on Phone

One thing that most of us do during a vacation is take tons of pictures to share on social media, often using our phones rather than professional cameras. However, photos can’t be taken if your phone has no storage space left.

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Therefore, it is important that you free up some extra space on your phone before going on a vacation. Other than having space for photos, freeing up memory space allows you to save important travel information on your phone too.

12. Get Familiar with the Rules

Another thing you should do before arriving at the airport or before checking in is to get familiar with all the airport rules; this way, you’ll know all the dos and don’ts of the airport and any restrictions to avoid anything that isn’t allowed.

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So many airport goers are unfamiliar with the rules, so they bring all sorts of drinks, makeup, toothpaste, and other liquids that are well over the airport liquid allowance and because they have to discard these items at the security checkpoint, they hold up the line.

13. Go-To Travel Outfit

Long flights can be somewhat uncomfortable, especially if you’re in economic seats; therefore, it’s important that you dress comfortably so that you can enjoy the flight. Aside from comfort, this would prevent you from ruining a nice outfit on a less than clean plane.

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We found that most people’s go-to airplane attire is sweatpants, sweatshirts, or t-shirts, along with some comfy sneakers; this outfit keeps you warm from the freezing temperatures of most airplanes, and it’s so comfortable that you can fall right asleep in them.

14. Find Quiet Gate

Not everyone has access to private airport lounges, which are known for their relaxing ambiance, so for those who cannot get into one of the restricted areas here’s a simple trick for how you can kick back while waiting to board your flight without being in the airport lounge.

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Gates often get crowded only when passengers are about to board the plane at the gate, so gates are often empty and quiet if there are no planes to board. Therefore, choose a quiet gate to kick back and relax while waiting to board your aircraft. 

15. Bright Colored Ribbon

Since there are thousands of pieces of baggage being carried around the airport every day, a lot of it which looks almost identical, it’s not uncommon that luggage gets mixed up; when this happens, there are complicated procedures to switch them back that are an absolute nightmare for passengers to have to deal with.

Jonahan Adato

To quickly identify your luggage from the sea of identical luggage, one simple trick is to tie a bright ribbon on your bags. Alternatively, you could use luggage tags that would include all your necessary information so that in the event of a luggage mix-up, the authorities could contact you. 

16. Photo of Checked Luggage

Even though you’ve tied a brightly colored ribbon to your luggage, you should still take a picture of your checked baggage with your phone; this is especially helpful in the event where you lose your luggage and need the airport staff to help find it.

Disneyland_allfun / Instagram

The picture of your checked luggage will aid the airport staff in identifying and locating your lost luggage more easily than merely a piece of brightly colored ribbon attached to your suitcase. Alternatively, you could use a luggage tag that contains your personal information.

17. Ask for Free Upgrades

Airplanes provide a range of seating, some more expensive than others; of course, the expensive seats are a lot more comfortable than cheaper ones; if you’re traveling alone or celebrating special events like honeymoons, it doesn’t hurt to ask the staff for an upgrade.

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These special situations make it easier to get a free upgrade from lower-class seats to higher-class seats; keep in mind that there’s a fairly good chance that your request may be rejected if the airplane seats are booked entirely.

18. Avoid Rushing the Gate

Airplanes are often boarded one section at a time, and most passengers tend to rush to the gate once the plane is being boarded even though it’s not their turn yet; the gate will get congested, and the queue will be unnecessarily long.

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Crowded gates and long queues are an absolute nuisance, so avoid doing this and only board the plane when your section is being called on; don’t worry about not getting on the plane because they wouldn’t leave without you. 

19. Fly Red-Eye

Red-eye is the term for a flight that departs or arrives at night; evening flights are often cheaper than morning flights, not to mention that there’ll be less traffic at the airport during the evenings. However, taking red-eye flights would mean little to no sleep.

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To save some bucks on flights and save yourself from the hassle of busy airports, book a flight that departs at night. During the flight, you can get some sleep, and when you wake up, you’ll have reached your destination.

20. Fly in the Morning

If you’re someone who is prone to motion sicknesses, you would definitely not be a fan of airplane turbulence, which is something that happens because of thunderstorms and fluctuations in the air temperature which usually occurs during the afternoon.

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Mornings seem to be less affected by bouts of turbulence, so to avoid airplane turbulence, book morning flights instead of afternoon flights. Additionally, middle seats that are located near the wing tend to experience the least amount of movement.

21. Left Checkpoint

The queues at the security checkpoints are always extremely long and seem to go on forever. Well, what if we told you that there’s a way you could “cut the queue”? Because there actually is, and that’s going to the left-hand side checkpoints.

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Research has shown that people are more likely to go to the lanes on the right, so there’s a chance that going to the lanes on the left may be less hectic and crazy. Unfortunately, this is not always the case though.

22. Check-in 24 Hours Before

Apart from security checkpoint queues, the line for airport check-ins is also usually annoyingly lengthy. For passengers with carry-on luggage only, try selecting a free seat 24 hours before your flight, as this allows you to skip the check-in line at the airport.

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On the other hand, those who need to check-in their luggage will need to head over to the airline kiosk to print their luggage tags which effectively saves you time as this allows you to skip the check-in line and head straight to the baggage line.

23. Skip Contacts

Since airplane cabins have extremely low humidity, being on the plane dries out the skin easily. If you’re wearing contacts, not only do you have to suffer from dry skin, but you also have to suffer from dry, irritated eyes. 

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So, it’s strongly advised to skip the lenses and wear glasses instead to ensure a comfortable journey on a flight. Furthermore, bring lotion and eye drops to restore the moisture lost from the skin as well as the eyes, and remember to drink a lot of water to keep hydrated.

24. Dress Warm

Both airports and airplanes can get pretty chilly, and the cold can sometimes be unbearable, especially if it’s a long flight and long wait at the airport. Therefore, it’s important that you pack a scarf, socks, and a cozy sweater to keep yourself warm.

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Warm clothes will help you keep warm during your travels and help you have a comfortable journey on the plane and while you are waiting in the airport terminal. Besides clothing, a hot cup of tea or coffee also works wonders in warming the body.

25. Don’t Use Taxi Services

When you arrive in a foreign country, transportation from the airport to your accommodation would be relatively easy to find as there are many taxi services available at the airport. However, these airport taxi services are often ridiculously overpriced.

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So, for those who are traveling on a budget, avoid using the airport taxi services and try to use other transportation companies such as Grab, Uber, or Lyft which offer similar services at much lower prices; these are easy to book too.

26. Store All Loose Items

As we all know, airport security and check-in lines can be pretty hectic and long; one thing each airport goer can do to reduce the wait time is to remove loose items like coins and keys before reaching the conveyer belt at the airport security. 

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Delays at the airport security lines are often caused by travelers not removing metal items before reaching the security check-in or losing loose items that have been removed but not stored properly. So, storing all your small change before the check helps eliminate unnecessary delays.  

27. Easy Access to Laptops

A general packing tip for the airport and plane trip ahead is to keep items that you are going to use in an easily accessible place; if these items were kept in your carry-on luggage, you’d have to scramble through your bags each time you need to use them.

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Storing laptops in easily accessible places would save you the trouble of rummaging through your neatly packed carry-on luggage to retrieve them. Still, a good tip is to store them in a protective case to prevent them from being scratched by other items in your bag.

28. Empty Bottle

Only 100ml of liquids can be brought through airport security; obviously, 100ml of water isn’t enough for a lengthy wait at the airport, so thirsty airport goers would have to purchase bottled water at the airport. Unfortunately, bottled waters sold in the airport are rather pricey.

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A simple hack would be to bring empty bottles to the airport so that you can fill them up at the bottle-filling stations once you get through the airport security; since airplanes can get really cold, bring thermos water bottles, and fill them up with hot water to keep you warm.

29. Wear Extra Luggage

There’s often a baggage limit for airplanes, and going over the limit usually means additional charges, which most of the time is pretty expensive. So, one tip to avoid going over the limit is to use a baggage scale to make sure your bags aren’t too heavy

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However, if you go over the limit and only realize this when you’re at the airport, simply pull out and wear some of the clothes you packed; jackets and sweaters are pretty heavy, so wearing them would significantly lighten the luggage.

30. Wet Wipes and Hand Sanitizers

Whether we want to think so or not, airplanes, especially airplane table trays, are extremely dirty. So, it is essential to sanitize and clean to kill all the germs and bacteria on the tables before placing your food or things on a contaminated surface.

Jonathan Adato

Simply prepare wet wipes and hand sanitizers in your carry-on luggage so that you can clean and sanitize anywhere, anytime. Of course, you’d have to make sure that the hand sanitizer does not exceed the liquid limit of 100ml.

31. Hotel Toiletries

When packing for a trip, normal-sized toiletries may take up a lot of extra space, so people often buy specially produced travel-sized toiletries instead of the regular ones to travel with. However, travel-sized toiletries can cost you quite a bit.

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A cost-efficient alternative would be to collect hotel toiletries and use them instead of travel-sized toiletries; when the actual products in the hotel toiletries are finished, fill the bottles with your own shampoo, body wash, conditioners, and face wash, which is also a great hack for being eco friendly.

32. A Portable Charger

Phones are essential when you’re traveling; phones have all the important information you need, including flight info, hotel info, maps, and so much more, so having your phone die on you is the worst thing that could happen when you’re on the go.

Scoutstore1917 / Instagram

Although most airports have outlets that airport goers can use to charge their phones and devices, there won’t always be an open outlet ready for you to use; this is when having a portable charger will come in handy, so be sure to have one with you at all times while traveling. 

33. Bring Headphones

Instead of the cheap and uncomfortable headphones that airlines provide their passengers, try to bring your own pair of headphones, preferably noise-canceling ones; this would make the airplane’s entertainment system so much more enjoyable with better quality earphones, not to mention more hygienic.

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Not only is the entertainment system more enjoyable, but the entire flight would be quieter and more comfortable too because you can have a great nap too as noise-canceling headphones can block out distracting sounds like a baby’s cry or other passenger’s chatting.

34. Ziploc Bags

Ziploc bags have proven to be a handy item to keep close to you while traveling because they have so many uses; you’ll never know when you’ll need one, but when you do, you’ll be happy you have some in your luggage.

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For one, Ziploc bags can be used to store all your liquids; if there’s a spillage, the Ziploc bag will prevent the spill from getting to the rest of your luggage and ruining your things. Secondly, Ziploc bags are great for storing chargers and keeping them organized.

35. Healthy Snacks

After going through the airport security, it’s going to be a long wait before the plane takes off, and during the long wait, you’re bound to get hungry; airport restaurants are often more costly than regular restaurants so to save some bucks, pack some healthy snacks instead.

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Packing your own snacks is also great for when you’re rushing through the airport and have no time to eat. Of course, you’ll need to go through the TSA rules to ensure that anything you’re going to bring is allowed to pass through security.

36. Things you can carry on for free

We mentioned before that you can wear some clothing items like hats and scarves while boarding to get more luggage space. Additionally, there are certain items you can carry along with you at no extra cost. You just have to ensure you check the airline’s website first to confirm.

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Some of these include umbrellas, medical equipment like crutches and canes, baby essentials like diapers, car seats, etc, as well as books and neck pillows. You can also board with duty-free items you buy at the airport, like food. That said, always confirm the airline’s policy beforehand.