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If you're anything like us, then you're probably not a fan of waking up before dawn, standing in long lines with heavy bags and sitting in a metal tube thousands of feet above the ground. With TSA regulations and overpriced food, flying today isn't always as glamorous as it used to be. But with a few tips and tricks, you can get through your flights faster and enjoy more of your destination.
Here are eight helpful ways to limit your time in transit and maximize comfort while flying:
Only Pack Carry-on
As a general rule, we always make a pile of everything we think we will need for our travels, and then cut that pile in half. Depending on the duration of your travels, you probably don't need a full load of checked luggage. Minimizing your baggage to just a carry-on and a personal bag means saving tons of time at check-in and baggage claim—not to mention the hassle of replacing your belongings if your bags don't show up!
Check In Online
Since you only have a carry-on, all you need now is your boarding pass. Almost all major airlines have online check-in and many large airports now have kiosks where you can scan your passport and get your boarding pass printed without ever seeing a check-in agent.
Take the fast lane at security by getting pre-approved with TSA Pre-Check. You can visit the TSA website to apply for your next trip. You'll be directed to a separate line for an expedited screening process, which means faster lines, quicker transit, and an overall better experience.
Run by the US Customs and Border Protection, the Global Entry program makes clearing security and customs quicker and easier. According to Fodor’s, travelers with Global Entry "use kiosks that read their passports, fingerprints, and customs declarations, allowing them to bypass the customs official and the accompanying line.” With Global Entry, you're automatically approved for TSA Pre-Check.
Get on board first with priority boarding. Those who fly first or business class have this built into their ticket. Alternatively, if you are an airline credit card holder, your status is automatically bumped up to Zone 1 no matter where your seat is.
The biggest factor that determines your travel time is layovers. Try to go with an airline that has a major hub between your departure and arrival cities. Even better, grab a direct flight. They cost more, but skipping a 17-hour layover in a noisy food court could just be worth it. Alternatively, opt for an extra-long layover that allows you time to leave the airport and take a side trip.
Sit Close to the Door
If you have the option to choose your seat, pick one that is as close to the boarding door as possible. This is especially important for those international travelers. The last thing you want to do after waiting for all 500 people to disembark is to be last in line at customs.
Noise Canceling Headphones and a Movie
They say time flies when you're having fun. While many planes have in-flight entertainment, it's not always the case. Drown out the noise and forget you're even flying with noise canceling headphones and a good movie on your device of choice.
These are a few of our tips and tricks for making flying faster and more comfortable! What do you do on your flights?