Sam's step-by-step guide to get through the airport unscathed

By: Samantha Thomas
January 1, 2022

As the holiday season seems to be closing to an end, airports seem to be insanely hectic with crowds of people seemingly everywhere.

I recently went to the airport to travel down and see some family, and in doing so I had to witness the mess that is at the airport during the holiday season. There were delays in arrival due to the insane snowstorm that hit Oregon in the past week, as well as a few other issues like certain flights being overbooked.

I have been going to the airport for a good amount of time(longer than 3 years I promise, that shows you know I am official), and in going to the airport so often I am almost always learning something new; whether about myself or the people around the airport.

Ask anybody how they feel about the airport, and I can almost guarantee they will say something along the lines of,” It can get pretty busy at certain times” or even “I don’t mind the airport when it's quiet, but when it's busy that's a different story”. The airport is constantly described as a very crazy place to be in, and if you aren’t generally used to the airport there are a good few ways to work past the entire horrible experience.

Before I begin to say anything, I am not a professional and have only come about these pearls of wisdom by learning and listening.

  1. The first thing you should always do is make sure to be packed before the day you depart. It doesn’t matter if the flight is at 10 pm that night, packing the day of usually leads to disaster, whether you forget your deodorant or a toothbrush, to even forgetting a phone charger(it's happened, and I regret having to buy an expensive phone charger). Packing roughly 2-4 days before the actual flight gives you enough time to think about what you need to bring, how long you might be staying, and if there might be any last-minute grabs as you walk out the door. I also would make sure to keep the weight of your carry-on/suitcase, as a lot of airplane companies have a set amount of weight per suitcase, specifically if a suitcase is going under the plane. I recommend looking up the weight for anybody using a different airline that they might not have used before. I mainly use Southwest airlines, and their weight is 50 lbs. maximum. Knowing the amount of weight helps you long-term in case you aren’t good at packing in general.

  1. Arrive at least 2 hours before your flight. Airports are generally packed to the brim like a pack of sardines, and so arriving ahead of time, even by just an hour, is generally helpful because you can check in your luggage, get your boarding pass(es) and then hope that security is a really small line. (It typically isn't). Of course, it also depends on the time of year, and how close to a holiday you are. I wouldn’t recommend getting to the airport an hour earlier if it's a week before Christmas or a week after. I also wouldn’t recommend spring break, at all. It's packed with college students or athletes going to spring training.

  1. Find something to do. There is always something to do at an airport, and if you are a part of the unfortunate flight that has a delayed flight, it is just easier to stay in the airport. But that means that you are going to be bored for however long you are delayed, it's wise to find something to occupy your time. Of course, you could always use the free internet at the airport, but this generally doesn’t end well, and if you have a hotspot then maybe you are saved. A good way that I generally find to pass the time is to read. It is a very calming activity that doesn’t involve you yelling at someone because you are in a stressful situation(Yes I have been yelled at by another person on my flight, it is not the best experience). So reading does that, and while you wait, you can get invested in a new thrilling novel. Of course, if reading isn’t for you then there are of course other ways to pass time by, like drawing, people watching(it sounds creepy, but it's the funniest thing to do and watch), or even taking a walk around the terminal.

Although there are 3 main “rules” to being in the airport, the rest are entirely up to the people who visit the airport. Everybody looks at the rules, and then over time starts to come up with their own. These scenarios don’t always apply to everybody or every situation.

(This is simply meant to be fun and to welcome in the new year with some high spirits)