These are the 11 best hacks to use when heading to the airport

Evan Bartlett@ev_bartlett
Tuesday 11 August 2015 13:10
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Picture: Getty

Now that holiday season is well and truly upon us, chances are that you'll be heading to the airport to escape for some summer sun.

To make that experience as hassle-free as possible, check out the following "airport hacks" as inspired by Quora:

1. Buy a suitcase that perfectly fits the airline's carry-on limit

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Buying a suitcase right up to the limit means you can pack as much as you possibly need without having to check your bag into the hold with all the extra waiting and possible damage that involves. Check out a guide to hand luggage limits from Sky Scanner here.

2. Invest in a hand luggage jacket

Picture: Rufus Roo

If you've already bought a suitcase that perfectly fits the overhead locker but you still feel you need extra capacity, why not invest in a "hand luggage jacket". All those extra pockets may not look trendy, but they sure are useful in skirting an airline's hand luggage rules.

3. Always weigh your luggage before heading to the airport

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Invest in some luggage scales that you can keep at home and use before you head to the airport. The last thing you want to do is pay a hefty fine just before you go on holiday, or worse, have to throw away that snazzy new pair of swimming trunks to make the weight limit.

4. Sign up to TSA pre-check

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Although it involves a small fee, this is particularly useful if you fly regularly to the US. The TSA pre-check means you have been approved by the US border agency as a low-risk traveller and can therefore skip lengthy queues, keep your shoes on and your laptop packed away when going through security.

5. Take an empty water bottle through security with you

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Although you can't take water through security, you can take an empty bottle and fill it up on the other side, thus avoiding having to buy a bottle for £4 in the airport shops.

6. Personalise your suitcase

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Placing a colourful ribbon or some other bright identifier on your suitcase will not only save you time when you're waiting to pick it up from the arrivals carousel. With so many suitcases looking so similar, it also means that another passenger is unlikely to mistake it for theirs and leave the airport with it.

7. Put your address on your suitcase

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In case your suitcase does get lost, having your address and contact details on a tag increases the chances of it being sent to you. An easy measure that can save you a lot of time and stress.

8. Be the last one to check your suitcase in

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More often than not it'll be the first one out on the luggage carousel and it'll also be placed on top of all the other suitcases in the hold - limiting squashing and damage as much as possible.

9. Use the stairs where possible

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When you land, queues for lifts and escalators are usually long. If you only have hand luggage, head for the stairs and overtake the hundreds of people slowly making their way on the lifts. Particularly handy for cutting down waiting times at airports with long immigration queues.

10. If you're travelling alone, try reserving a seat as late as possible

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This can be particularly useful if you know the flight won't be sold out. Leaving it to the last minute means you can reserve a seat where the rest of the row is free.

11. Find an airline and stick to it

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Sign up to a loyalty rewards package, particularly if you're a frequent flier, as airport planner Annie Lindseth explains. Rewards schemes can see you save money in the long term with airlines offering discounts on their flights as well being able to save money through their deals with hotels, car rentals and restaurants in your destination. Alternatively, some credit card packages have similar rewards schemes for frequent fliers.

These can be particularly useful if there's one airline that flies regularly in and out of your home airport.

And don't forget, you don't actually need to show your boarding pass

As the Independent first revealed last week, you're not actually legally obliged to show your boarding pass when buying something from the airport's shops. The shops ask you for this to avoid paying VAT. Why not join the dozens of other readers who are refusing to be inconvenienced.

Have any tips of your own that we've missed out? Let us know in the comments...

More: Air travellers know why shops want to see their boarding passes - and they're revolting

More: 12 incredibly simple travel hacks to make your summer holiday even better

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