6 tips for getting through the airport seamlessly

Try these easy hacks and you’ll sail through the airport journey with time to spare.

Woman sits in an airport terminal with a laptop and mobile phone
  • Pilar Mitchell
  • September 2019

Just when you’re ready to get the holiday started, the process of getting through the airport can seem to take longer than the actual flight (or trip even). You have to juggle paperwork, get through security, walk to your gate… By the time you’ve been scolded by a security agent for accidentally putting a bottle of kombucha in your carry-on, you’ll be ready to collapse at the airport bar, able to say only three words, “Gin and tonic”.

Of course, all of these security measures are important and need to be adhered to, but they don’t have to be stressful. Here are six easy ways to make getting from check-in to departure quick and hassle-free.

Bring an empty water bottle

This will save you money and keep you hydrated. Don’t waste coin and propagate single use plastic with buying bottled water at the airport. Bring an empty bottle and when you get through security, fill it up at a bubbler.

Carry an empty water bottle for your trip.
Packing an empty water bottle is great for your wallet and the environment.

Respect your check-in time

If you’re asked to arrive three hours before an international flight, do it. You’ll be more relaxed and you can use the extra time to download archived episodes of your favourite Netflix show for the flight. Just remember, the alternative to being early is being stuck in traffic begging the Uber driver to run a red light so you won’t miss your flight.

Find the shortest queue

There’s a science to finding the shortest queue that goes beyond simply looking for it. According to Psychological Science opens in new window, righties turn right and lefties turn left. And because there are more right-handed folks in the world than left, that means most people at places like airports will choose queues on the right. Therefore, if you choose a security queue to the left, there will probably be fewer people in that line, and you’ll get to the front faster. Thanks science!

Try turning left instead of right at airport queues to get through quicker.
If you want to pick a shorter airport queue, science reckons you should stick to the left.

Keep liquids and tech within easy reach

Making it through security quickly isn’t just about what you wear, it’s about how you pack. Keep coins and keys in your bag, not your pockets. Have your laptop and tablet at the top of your carry-on for quick extraction when you arrive at the x-ray machine. The same goes for liquids. Make sure everything is decanted into 100ml containers and corralled in a ziplock bag, so you don’t have to sacrifice your expensive tube of hand cream to the security gods.

Getting through security scans will be faster if you prepare ahead.
From emptying your pockets to keeping your laptop handy for airport security, it pays to be prepared.

Dress for security

Dress to make the walk-through easier. That means slip-on shoes that you can get out of and back into quickly, and elastic-waist pants so you’re not wearing a belt that will set off the metal detector. That said, you can be smart about maximising your luggage allowance and wearing your heaviest items rather than have them take up suitcase space. Wearing bulky items like jumpers, coats and heavy shoes means you’ll have enough room in your checked luggage for the manga collection you’re planning to pick up in Tokyo.