Thursday, 7 January 2016

Tips For A Stress Free Airport Experience

I hate airports.   I hate all the people, the queues, the luggage that people tend to randomly strew about in the middle of walk ways and, most of all: I hate the waiting.   Oh, and the travellers who wait until they hit check in before they decide to rummage through two week's worth of garishly ugly clothing in a vain attempt to locate their passport.     Honestly...I hate those people so much.   

I frequent airports for no other reason than I kinda need to be there in order to get to where I'm going.    Otherwise, no one would go, right?

There are few tips and tricks I've picked up over the years that have made my time at numerous airports around the world just that *little* bit easier to bear.    These often involve bars.     Here are my tops tips to avoid all that airport stress:

Tips for a Stress Free Airport Experience
Are we nearly there yet?...
Be Organised!
Sounds obvious, but it never seems to happen for some people.   Put your tickets and passport in your pocket or the front pouch of your hand luggage and KNOW WHERE THEY ARE.  Seriously, this will cut down on your stress and that of every single person stuck in the queue behind.   

Electronic Equipment:
Please don't pack your iPad at the bottom of your carry on luggage as you'll then need to root around for it and remove it from its resting place beneath your underwear (or whatever the hell you keep in there) in order to pass through security.   Turn everything off and put it right at the top of your hand luggage so that it can be instantly removed without incurring some serious side eye from the person next to you.    


Tips For A Stress Free Airport Experience: Packing
Put the stuff you need to take out at the top.
No Liquids:
Seriously, how long has this restriction been in place? and yet I still end up queued behind someone with a bottle of water, two bottles of foundation, a huge jar of anti-wrinkle cream and a massive bottle of shampoo.   No, people.  Just no.     If it's more than 100ml, you can't take it.  You haven't been able to forEVER.     

I have a selection of tiny, travel sized bottles, which contain anything I actually need on the flight.  If I'm not planning on putting on makeup on the flight (and I never do), then I pack it in my hold luggage.     Also:  if I'm thirsty, I buy water AFTER I go through security.   I don't, actually, I go to the nearest bar to ease the stress of being stuck behind you.   

Now, I know that this isn't possible for everyone and that people with babies and who need meds have to stick to different rules.   But, for everyone else?   Behave.  

In other news, always be aware that European rules differ slightly from others.  You might be able to take those bottles of Houghtons Wine you bought from Margaret River through customs in Perth and Hong Kong airport  but that does not mean you won't have them confiscated when you try to take them into Edinburgh.   Trust me...I speak from bitter experience.  It still breaks my heart to talk about it.     

Entertainment: 
I can't live without my iPad in an airport.  Not only does it distract me from the time I spend waiting, it also allows me to catch up with all the TV and reading I don't get time to do in my normal life.   I often load up with episodes of my favourite TV show which can lead to me actually looking forward chilling at the airport.   After check in, security, taking my shoes off, being searched, and trying not to murder the people in front of me, that is.   


Tips For A Stress Free Airport Experience: Lounges
Time for wine and chilling. 
Airport Lounges:
Nothing  makes your airport stay more enjoyable than not being with All The People.   It's worth every single penny of the £70 I spend each year to give me access to a quiet little airport lounge.   Also: I usually make this back in free wine and peanuts I consume during my time there.   

Airport Lounges are also only thing that keep me sane when my flight is delayed.   When you balance up the charges for a Priority Pass against the cost of food, drinks, comfort and keeping your sanity - I promise it's so worth it.   Plus, you get a comfy seat, access to TV, space to relax and, did I mention free wine and food?   I feel I've made my case.  

If you're still not convinced, the lounge at Oman airport has sleeping pods and Heathrow has fantastic showers.   After a 15 hour flight, I'd gladly pay £70, and give my right arm,  just for a shower or a snooze.   


Tips For A Stress Free Airport Experience: Games
The start of your travels should be relaxing, not stressful
Games: 
You haven't live until you've played 'Where Do You Think They're Going?' in the airport.  It's possibly not the most politically correct game ever, but you can usually separate a stag party heading to Krakow or Prague from a businessman on his way to London.   I'm particularly good at working out who's headed to Spanish Islands and Orlando, but definitely need more practice at determining who's off to Rome and Atlanta.    

It certainly does help to pass the time, although It can be difficult not to cheer when someone you've tagged as heading to Belgium to lobby MEPs hops up when the Brussels flight is announced.   I imagine that a glamorous older lady on her way to a posh spa resort in Mexico would be most unhappy that you had them tagged as the next Shirley Valentine, so do keep your voice down.

How to you while away the hours in the airport?   

Suzanne x