This Bank Holiday, record numbers are expected to jet off to sunnier climes to escape the disappointing UK weather and make the most of the three-day weekend. From Friday to Monday, the UK’s four biggest airports anticipate 1.94 million people passing through their gates.1
For those jetting off, travel price comparison website travelsupermarket.com has compiled the top ten tips to minimise the pain of airport queues.
1. Check your documents before you travel
Check your passport isn’t out of date, your ticket and passport names match and your travel documents are for the days and flights that you thought.
2. Make sure you have travel insurance
Ensure you have travel insurance as this will save considerable time, effort, stress and money should things go wrong while you are away.
3. Airport parking
Save time and money by pre-paying your parking before getting to the airport.
4. Packing your bags
With so many security issues now, it’s important to pack bags carefully. There are Europe-wide restrictions on hand luggage and its contents as well as the normal limits on maximum baggage weight for the hold. Passengers who try to flout these rules hold up the queues at check in, bag drop and security. If you are using two airlines, check the rules for both and stick with the lowest allowance. If two or more of you are travelling together, split important items between bags so the loss of a bag won’t be a total disaster.
5. Hand luggage only
If you only have hand luggage, you will save an enormous amount of time at your destinations. Once you are off the plane, simply walk straight through passport control and customs and you are on your way.
6. Use online check-in or self-service check-in kiosks where possible
Many airlines, including British Airways, flybmi, FlyMonarch and easyJet, allow you to check-in online, select a seat and print your boarding cards before setting off for the airport. If you only have hand luggage, you can go straight to security at the airport. If online booking isn’t available, many airlines have their own dedicated kiosks adjacent to their check-in desks. Manchester Airport has self-service check-in for many charter airlines as well.
7. Fast bag drop off
Airlines that offer self service and online check-in have desks for bag drop off. The transaction time is fast and speeds you along.
8. Pre-pay bag charges
With some airlines charging for luggage placed in the hold as well as excess baggage, it is good to pre-pay for the bags you will be taking. Paying online before you go to the airport is much quicker and can save you as much as 50 per cent. Go to your airline’s website and check the rules before you go to the airport. Sign up for bags and pay online.
9. Fast track
Several airports offer a fast track service for passengers travelling in premium cabins or with selected frequent flyer cards. This is a dedicated lane for security, speeding you through bag check. Airline or airport staff can tell you if you qualify, and endorse your boarding card to speed you through.
10. Car hire
Pre-book your car hire for your arrival airport. The price should be competitive when booked here and you won’t have to join queue after queue to check the availability and prices of cars.