By Jeremy Rochow
Published: Tuesday, December 6, 2022
The only place busier than an airport at Christmas is Santa's workshop. But unlike the latter, airports aren't always filled with joy and festive cheer.
Navigating the airport can be challenging at the best of times, but during the festive season it can be even more difficult. We’ve listed a few ways you can make the airport more tolerable for you and your fellow travellers.
Before you get started, take our poll and tell us your biggest air travel pet peeve.
1. Arrive on time
Start your holiday on the right foot and arrive to the airport on time. A good rule is to arrive at least an hour before domestic flights and two hours for international.
This will give you enough time to check your bags and pass-through security. For international travellers, you’ll also need to go through immigration before boarding. If you’re late, you could upset fellow travellers when you cut in line, or worse, miss your flight.
2. Weigh your luggage
Weigh your luggage before you arrive at the airport. Travel scales are inexpensive and could save you from having to pay excess luggage fees at the airport. After all, you don’t want to be redistributing your gear among various suitcases while there’s a queue of people impatiently waiting to check in to their flight or drop off their luggage.
3. Be ready for security
There’s always one person who decides to remove their belt and empty their pockets as they arrive at the security x-ray screening point. This holds up the queue, frustrating other travellers.
While you’re in the line inching forward, get your laptop out of your bag, take your belt off and empty your pockets so you’re ready to pop it all in the tray once you reach the front of the queue.
Similarly, you can take the tray a few metres away once it’s gone through the scanner, so you don’t hold up the line as you check you have your belt back through every loop.
4. Be kind
Airports can bring out a whole range of emotions. People might be frustrated because their flight is delayed, upset they’re leaving friends and family, or nervous about turbulence.
This can stretch travellers’ patience and cause tempers to flare.
A smile and little bit of kindness can go a long way. Be patient with fellow travellers and polite and friendly to airport staff.
5. Travelators aren’t rides
If you’re going to stand on a travelator, keep to the left so people who are late for their flight or in a rush can pass you.
Avoid standing side-by-side on travelators or walking on them in the opposite direction.
6. Kids will be kids
If there are kids who are making a bit of noise or a baby crying, don’t stare or roll your eyes at them. The parents are doing their best and they’re likely already feeling bad about the disruption being caused. Instead, grab your headphones and try to ignore the noise. A bit of empathy will go a long way and after all you may have been the screaming baby or restless toddler kicking the back of the seat on a flight from Adelaide to Melbourne. I know I was – my mum reminds me every time I fly.
7. Keep an eye on your children
In saying that, kids can’t run riot around the airport and parents need to keep an eye on their little ones. Sure, you want them to expel some energy before they’re confined to a tin can in the sky, but you don’t want them to disturb other travellers or get into trouble.
Make sure you pack plenty of activities to keep them entertained, on the ground and in the air.
8. Wait until you’re called to board
Standing up and crowding the gate before your flight has been called isn’t going to help make the plane leave any quicker. Of course, you should be at the gate on time, but once you’re there, you can sit down and relax until you’re called.
9. Don’t crowd the carousel
Crowding the carousel causes a domino effect. As soon as one person steps forward so their legs are touching the baggage carousel, nobody behind them can see what’s coming. So, they step forward, and so on.
Suddenly there’s a mosh pit around the carousel and it’s difficult to see the bags arriving. Stand a few metres back from the carousel until you see your bag, and then step forward to grab it and move quickly out the way.