The series of hurdles you have to jump before boarding a plane can what keeps you up the night before a flight – whether heading overseas for an extended journey or flying domestic for a weekend away. Our stress-free check-in checklist will help you painlessly pass these obstacles, so you’ll be sipping a latte and boarding your plane with minimal fuss.
Before you go
Modern technology allows you to check in online, print boarding passes and pay any excess baggage fees before you step foot in the terminal. So, to save you time, money and stress, why not take advantage of these online services?If you check in online, you can simply scan the barcode of your pre-printed boarding pass, print off your baggage tickets, strap them on to your bag and drop your bag onto a conveyer belt. Then all you have to do is step into the security line for your final check before the gate lounges.
There’s no need or advantage to sort out your currency at the airport either. Most shopping centres have currency exchanges, as do local banks. You’ll find you save a lot of time having your currency ready before you arrive at the airport and, more often than not, you’ll get a better exchange rate at bureaus in the city or suburbs.
Before you hit the security line
As much as airports have made it easier to bypass baggage and check-in lines, unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about the security queue. However, you can familiarise yourself with what’s accepted in your carry-on baggage and make sure you don’t have anything that’s not allowed on board. This will make your passage through security checks quick and painless, without the awkward request to step aside for extended baggage checks or scans.
So, before stepping in line, empty your pockets, remove your belt, as well as any other metallic objects, including necklaces, watches and coins and get ready to pop them in the trays provided. If you’re travelling with a laptop or tablet, you’ll also need to take them out of your bag and place them in a separate tray for scanning.
Before you get too relaxed
Once you’re through the security check you’re pretty much home and hosed. If you have time up your sleeve, you may wish to wander around the airport shops to pick up any last-minute necessities, such as snacks, magazines or a good book for the flight. But before you do your airport shopping, ensure that you know exactly where your gate lounge is situated. Some can require a long walk, so make sure that you leave enough time to get there without having to rush. If you decide to separate from your fellow travellers, make a time and place to meet up again that will still give you plenty of time to make it to your gate for boarding.
In closing, here is a quick checklist to help you through the most stressful parts of flying:
Check, then double check, and then check again
- Familiarise yourself early with your travel details, including your flight number, as well as the date and time of your flight and check them over and again during the few days leading up to your flight. It may be overkill, but it will set your mind at ease.
- If you’re heading overseas, check that your visa is all clear and ensure you have local currency should you need it for any local taxes.
- Some countries require a return ticket before you’re allowed in, so make sure you know the rules of your chosen destination before you reach the check-in.
- Check everything twice and then check it again. You’ll be thankful you did and you’ll sleep easier the night before your flight.
Give yourself plenty of time
- Arriving at the airport early will minimise stress and hassle. Whether you’re driving there yourself, or catching a cab or public transport, it’s best to plan for any unexpected issues you may encounter along the way. You never know when a tyre is going to blow or a car accident slows traffic to a standstill.
Organisation is the key
- Whether you check-in at the airport or online, make sure you can easily locate all your documents.This includes passports, tickets, visas and foreign currency. Put them somewhere that’s easily accessible, such as a zip lock bag inside your carry-on bag.
- Unless you’re traveling alone, nominate one person to keepall of your documents as you head towards check-in so they can hand over everything in one go. That way you won’t suffer the scorn of airport staff or the people behind you in line whilst you rummage around for your passport and visa.
Other things to remember before you leave
- Have all prescriptions for any medications filled at the pharmacy before you leave.
- Suspend any newspaper or magazine deliveries.
- Let your neighbours know that you will be away and arrange for them to take outand bring in your rubbish bins.
- Store back up copies of important documentation, such as passports and travel insurance, one electronically and a second hard copy with a friend or family member who will be available to access them in caseof an emergency.
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