Airport Etiquette: How To Travel Like A Boss

“You know… the airport is the only place you can walk around with no shoes,
a glazed look on your face, and sleep on the benches and no one judges you.” 

― Coriander Woodruff, The Call of the Spectacled Owl

Traveling can either be extremely exciting or a necessary evil. You see all kinds of people at the airport, from the leisurely tourist to the fast-walking business professional.

Everyone has somewhere to be and most are in a hurry to get there. Following these tips will not only make the trip a lot less stressful for you, but easier for everyone else, too.

et·i·quette: (noun)
The customary code of polite behavior in society or among members of a particular profession or group.

Beat The Clock: Save Time During Airport Travel

Simple Rules of Etiquette at the Airport

What you need to know. 

#1) Be On-Time

You know what time your flight is scheduled to take off. What you don’t know is, exactly how long it will take to get through security.

Be sure to show up with plenty of time to:

  • Check your bags.
  • Get through screening.
  • Find your gate without having to rush.

Providing your own transportation can sometimes present an issue. You may think that you’ve arrived with plenty of time to catch your flight, but did you factor in time to find a parking space?

Once you’ve found a spot, you then have to get from the car to the terminal, which could be quite far away.

Consider booking a professional chauffeur to avoid airport parking issues, altogether. Reserving a limousine rental will also ensure that you have a ride ready when you land.

That means you won’t have to waste time waiting on a taxi or other ride service.

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#2) Be Prepared

Print out as many of your documents as you can at home. Many airlines now let you check-in online up to 24 hours before your flight. You may then print out your boarding pass and skip the check-in line at the airport.

Keep your ID or passport handy. You will have to show these documents repeatedly.

There is no need to put them away. If you do, you’re only going to slow yourself and everyone else down later while you rummage through your things.

Expect security to go through your things. You hope that they won’t, but know that they have the right to do so if they feel the need. To make things easier, only pack what you need.

Make sure to check The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) guidelines for prohibited items and leave them at home.

  • Pack any necessary medications in their original packaging and be ready to provide prescriptions, just in case.
  • If bringing any liquids, be sure to pack them according to the 3-1-1 rule:
    ▪ Use three 4 oz. containers.
    ▪ Keep them in one Ziploc bag.
    ▪ Only one per person.

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#3) Dress Appropriately

You may be headed for a luxury travel destination, but everyone doesn’t need to know that just by looking at you. Don’t wear or carry any valuables that you are not comfortable removing and placing into bins for scanning.

Avoid wearing metallic accessories.

  • Belts, especially those with large buckles, can set off metal detectors.
  • Large earrings or bulky metal jewelry can also set them off.

The more items that you have to remove, the more bins you have to use and the longer your clearance takes.

Don’t wear too many layers. Think about it this way. You know you have to remove jackets and shoes to go through the metal detectors.

  • Slip-on shoes are great for traveling because you can get them on and off quickly and easily.

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#4) Pay Attention & Follow Directions

Your pilot and flight attendants are to your flight what your chauffeur is to a stretch limousine. They are professionals who are there to provide the best service to everyone on board.

If someone gives you instructions, it’s for a reason. Just follow along and everything will go smoothly.

Try not to get distracted. Shopping or grabbing a bite to eat is fine, but listen out for any announcements. Know your flight information or have it handy for reference.

When the flight attendant makes announcements about your flight, listen. If you ignore them now, you will only annoy them later when you have to ask questions that they already answered.

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#5) Stay in Your Area

Don’t take up too much space. Being comfortable is one thing. Acting like you own the place is something else.

When the airport is crowded, keep bags out of unoccupied chairs. Spreading out too far also makes it harder to grab your things and run if there are any last minutes gate changes.

Charging stations are awesome. Invading other people’s personal space is not.

  • If you can help it, don’t try to share outlets.
    • Your fellow travelers likely want to savor what little time they have to enjoy sitting by themselves while they can.
  • Also, don’t unplug someone else’s device to charge your own.
    • It’s just rude. There’s plenty of juice in the outlet for everyone.
  • Charge up a portable battery ahead of time to keep your devices powered on when there’s nowhere to plug in.

Once you’re on the plane, get your bag put away to find your seat quickly.

Remember that the plane is not your personal party bus.

  • Try to keep your noise level to an acceptable level.
  • Don’t wander aimlessly around the cabin, just because the seatbelt light is off.

When picking your seat, be mindful of any special accommodations that you may need.

  • If you like to sleep on the plane, a window seat may be best.
    • You can lean against the plane wall and save yourself the embarrassment of falling asleep on a stranger’s shoulder.
  • For those who make frequent bathroom trips, pick an aisle seat.
    • This way you don’t have to climb over everyone when you need to get up.

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#6) Keep Moving

Be nice to those around you, but navigating the airport is no time for small talk. The security agents are not your friends. Neither are the flight attendants or other workers.

Everyone has somewhere to be or a job to do. Chatting them up slows everyone down. It’s not friendly; it’s selfish.

Don’t stand in the way staring into space. If you are lost, ask for directions.

  • If you need to use your phone, get off of the main walkway before you do.

Don’t argue with TSA. Getting through security can be frustrating, but the agents have a job to do.

  • Don’t argue when they ask you to remove your shoes, jewelry, or other accessories.
  • If you have any questions about what is or isn’t allowed through the checkpoint, call ahead.
    • The TSA has a toll free number (1-855-787-2227) just for these questions.

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― Bonus Tip: Take Advantage of Mobile Apps ―

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  • Searchable, updated lists of acceptable and prohibited items
  • Flight and weather information
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Your Airline may have a mobile app to improve your travel experience. Functions vary, but often include:

  • The most up-to-date flight information
  • Integrated loyalty program
  • Access to your boarding pass and seat information
  • Ability to check-in online or make changes to flight details

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  • Contact/Locate your driver
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When traveling for business or pleasure, getting to the airport should be the least of your worries.
Sit back, relax, and let the professionals at A1A Airport and Limousine Service get you there in style and luxury.

We are much more than a limousine company. In addition to limo rental, we offer personal concierge and even travel management services. Contact us to see how A1A can improve your travel experience today!

Written By: Amber M. Smith 

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