I speak based on experience, killing time in an airport is one thing I hate the most. Everything is extremely expensive and, unless you are in an exclusive lounge, it is uncomfortable and boring.
Errol McGlothan, a travel and hospitality expert at Airport Dimensions, provides readers with his top tips to have a stress free airport experience, including saving money and having a first class experience without the ticket.
Below are some tips on how to boost your experience in airports.
Fast track security check
Trudging through security queues can really drain your excitement before your flight. With prices starting from GBP 5, you can use priority security lanes that will help get your check-in journey off to a good start – but with places often limited, these should be booked in advance.
There are also handy apps that can make your life a lot easier once you arrive in the departure hall. Inflyter gives you the option to browse goods across Duty Free, buy ahead of travelling, and pick up when convenient for you at the airport; while with Grab, you can pre-order food and drink, and then receive a text to let you know where and when food is ready for collection.
Be on the lookout for services
Once through security, a number of airports now have facilities that help you recharge. You can visit BeRelax spa in Heathrow T5 for some R&R, in the form of a massage or perhaps oxygen treatment. While at Gatwick South, you can visit the terminal’s yoga room to prepare your muscles for the journey ahead. And if you’re travelling with a stopover, check out if your midpoint airport has sleep pods, such as Dubai International Airport, where you can have some needed rest.
Experience first-class without the ticket
Of course, a number of the lounges in airports are exclusive to particular airlines, but there are premium lounges you can get access to regardless of the class of your ticket for as little as £18.49 when booked or reserved ahead of arrival. For example, if you’re flying from Gatwick South, you can head to the newly launched Club Aspire that has business, rest and dining zones. Being in a lounge means avoiding the hustle and bustles of the terminal while enjoying complimentary food and drink so you miss out on those restaurant queues, plus have access to free WiFi and magazines. So, why not book a lounge to relax in with a glass of prosecco ahead of your next flight?
Be proactive in case of a delay or cancellation
Flight delayed or cancelled? Don’t panic! It has happened to 47% of us in the last year, and there are a number of recovery services available, such as Skybreak in Gatwick, that can help you get back on track. Their services include re-arranging flights, hotel stays, transfers and organising add-ons such as fast track security and passport services. Also, making sure your phones and iPads are charged will do you a big service if your flight is delayed. You’ll at least be able to continue your series on Netflix.
Download the app
A number of airports now offer their own apps, such as the Edinburgh Airport app. They provide you with updates about the airport, help you navigate the terminal (sometimes with the use of augmented reality). The apps also keep you having to keep looking at the flights board for details on your flight. You’ll have live information about your flight’s check-in security times before you arrive as well as the boarding and departure times.
Be prepared (always)
Double-check how much luggage you’re allowed to carry and then make sure to pack your bags within those restrictions. It’s very easy to overfill your bags, get to check-in and be forced to pay expensive extra baggage fees. Once your baggage is sorted, find out how you’re getting to the airport, and also your accommodation once you land at your destination. This will save you from haggling with taxi drivers in potentially another language or paying to use your mobile phone’s data plan.