Pro Airport Hacks to Make Flying Suck Less [Infographic]

Ah, the airport – a veritable hell of long lines, frisky officers, expensive meals and bad coffee. But to get to where we want to go, we must overcome. We want to share some helpful airport hacks and tips on how to make flying suck less.


We do a lot of traveling, both to meet with our users and to keep our global team in touch. We’re also rather impatient when it comes to idling and waiting, so it’s safe to say we have quite a lot to say on the subject.

The bottom line is this – airports can be a real hassle, and the quicker we get through them, the better.

We’ve provided some written tips after the jump, but first, take a look at this infographic which in theory should explain all:

(click to enlarge)

infographic on useful airport hacks and tips



Oh and if you think your friends might like this, you can tweet this infographic here!


Check-in Hacks

1. Do it online

Most airlines have joined the modern era by now and online check-ins are more and more common. If you’re traveling light, this allows you to skip the check-in queue altogether. Since airports are little else than endless queues, this is a good thing.

Also, when you check in online you might get a better choice of seats (if you’re quick enough).

2. Queue close to the business desk

The business queue is pretty empty most of the time and if it gets too quiet for too long, they’ll start pulling in people from the regular line next to it, potentially making it move along quicker. Picking the line next to the business queue might save you quite a bit of time.

3. Get a private jet

No, seriously.

This option sounds like a fantasy, but private jet operators do offer incredibly cheap seats on their aircraft in situations where the alternative is not to sell seats at all. Keep in mind that these are almost always last minute deals, but if you’re willing to take the chance, you might strike gold.

Security Area Hacks

Mmm yes – everyone’s favorite for sure. It’s your duty as a human being to make this line move along as quickly as possible.

1. Pack strategically

You know they’ll be screening your electronic devices separately, so make sure they are easy to pull out of your baggage. Bottom of the underwear pile is literally the worst place for your laptop in this situation.

Same goes for zip lock bags with liquids – make sure you can get them out of your baggage quickly.

2. Pick the left line

Some studies suggest that since most people are right-handed, they’ll instinctively pick queues on the right-hand side. This means that typically there’s less people in the queues to your left. Unless you queue with too many people that have heard of this tip, you could easily shave off some time at the screening station.

3. Know the rules

It might be a 15th-century ceremonial dagger to you, but to airport security, it’s a sharp metal object. Make sure you’re familiar with rules regarding what can and can’t be brought on board an aircraft. Most of these rules are pretty universal, but it seems people still forget that bigger liquid containers are a no-no.

4. Empty your pockets

Nothing wastes time more than fumbling with change before going through the metal detector. You’re queueing for security, not groceries, so don’t have anything on your person that you don’t absolutely need at that point. Keep your keys and coins in the hand baggage till you’ve cleared security.


Hanging at the Gate

The worst is over, but there’s a lot you can do to be more efficient with your waiting time.

1. Your gate is your castle

For the most up-to-date flight information, head to your gate as soon as they announce it. It’s not that the big information screens are inaccurate, but the gate always has the better information. It’s also easier and quicker to pick up on unexpected delays and changes – and these do happen.

2. Bring a power splitter

It’s always good to fully charge all your devices before heading to the airport, but sometimes you’ll be in for a longer wait and might start running out of juice.

Power outlets can sometimes be scarce. To alleviate this problem, get yourself a power splitter. They’re lightweight, cheap and carry the added benefit of helping you make new friends.

3. Use headphones… for silence

Sure, they’re essential if you want to watch a movie, but consider using them for noise cancellation. Our own Liisa does this a lot – mostly to block out noise while she’s working. Keeping her headphones unplugged, however, prevents her from missing any important announcements.

4. Excersise (sort of)

Our office manager Evelin has an interesting routine – she uses the longer waiting periods to fill in her daily physical activity, walking up and down the long corridors to stay on top her daily step count.

Boarding Hacks

This is it – it’s go time!

Except that’s it’s not. You know full well that once you get to your seat, you’ll easily be spending another 30 minutes sitting in the plane before it goes anywhere.

1. Don’t rush the gate

You have your seat – the plane’s not gonna leave without you. Some people like to queue up the second an attendant appears at the desk, but you should know better than that.

If you stay put until the line starts to clear, you can use the extra time to squeeze in some work.

2. Be the last to board the plane

When you’re the last to board the plane and the aircraft is not full, you might be able to get yourself a better seat. If you have an aisle ticket in the toilet row, see if there’s a better spot somewhere else.

Oh, and if you’re cocky enough and can pull a good poker face, you might even get away with upgrading yourself to first class!



If you have any tips you think would help us at the airport the next time, you’re welcome to drop them in the comments!

By On September 3, 2015

  1. Board plane last and there will be no space for your luggage and there is a chance to be offloaded. Upgrades never done that way. Frequent flyers are upgraded. The last on the gate on overbooked flights means involuntary offload

  2. Boarding hacks – 1. Not true – I was at the gate waited for the last 5 minutes to board and the plane did leave without us (2 checked in people mind it). Also 2. If the plain ia overbooked you may very well loose your seat, yes it’s rare but it does happen

  3. […] Along those lines (pun intended), here are some great Airport Hacks in one giant infographic and a companion blog post with some more details. […]

  4. I think you mean “print” and not “download” in the OFFLINE SURVIVAL tip…
    If your device goes dead, you have the good ol’ hardcopy…

  5. The first thing is I work for a major US airline. I liked your tips. They are pretty good.

    The second thing is that your last tip is wrong. The chances of getting away with moving to a better seat without paying for it mostly went away some years ago. Now if the flight attendants find you switching you will be told to move or pay for the seat. If they ask if you wish to move or move so people can sit together, then it works and works well. They like helpful and polite people but company rules on most airlines just do not allow switching like that. Also, names and seat locations are transmitted to corporate in case something happens on the plane or to the plane and people have to be identified. Also, if you dress business casual you are more likely to get treated a little better than people who do not. Add politeness to all the employees and you will sometimes very quietly get things you would not receive otherwise. This is true with any customer facing employees whether in-person or over the phone. Airline phone reservations people don’t like being yelled at or insulted any more than the employees at the airport. Both groups put up with it to a point but as a rule, the nicer you are to them the nicer they will be to you. If you ever update your graphic, add that one in.