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Flying amid today's surging demand, inclement weather and short staffing—from pilots to ground crews—can prove awfully challenging.
Fortunately, there are some things you can do in advance to ensure a smooth experience.
While it is typically advised that travelers arrive at the airport two hours before a domestic flight and three hours before an international flight, that isn't always feasible (or necessary).
Checking your flight status on your airline's mobile app and checking in before you arrive means you'll be able to bypass the ticket counter and head straight for the security checkpoint if only traveling with a carry-on item. Those lines can get long but it's rare you'll ever spend more than 20-30 minutes waiting to be screened.
Recent data shows that Newark Liberty International Airport outside of New York City is among the worst when it comes to lengthy TSA wait times but even that average comes in at just 23.1 minutes.
As mentioned, you'll definitely want your airline's mobile app to be able to easily check in for your flight and monitor your flight status from one convenient location.
The MyTSA app is another must-have. You can not only use it to quickly find out what you can and can't bring in your carry-on or checked luggage but you can see how long of a wait time to anticipate at your airport security checkpoint before you even arrive at the airport.
Investing the $78 for TSA PreCheck is another no-brainer as you'll benefit from expedited security screening for at least five years before you'll have to renew your membership with another payment. This means shorter, faster lines where you won't be required to remove your shoes, hat, laptops, 3-1-1 liquids, belts or light jackets.
PreCheck will take the stress out of dressing for air travel.
A young traveler setting out. (Photo Credit: SolStock/E+)
If using a ride-share service to get to and from the airport, be sure to schedule your ride in advance to make sure you're picked up on time and will arrive at the airport with enough time to spare before departure.
You'll also want to download your favorite songs, movies, shows and podcasts to your device beforehand so that you can stay entertained throughout your flight regardless of the quality of the in-flight Wi-Fi service.
The more you fly the more experiences you'll have to draw on for your next trip to the airport but hopefully taking some of these simple steps can keep you moving and get you to where you want to go in less time and with fewer headaches along the way.
A Maryland native and wanderer who has lived across the U.S. from North Carolina to SoCal, Patrick Clarke graduated from Towson...
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