The travel industry is full of inspirational quotes: ‘Life is not a destination, it’s a journey!’ ‘Not all who wander are lost!’ Lao Tzu wrote: ‘A journey of a thousand miles must start with a single step’ …easy for him to say - his journey didn’t involve self-check-in kiosks, security screenings, or immigration queues. For many travellers the airport experience has become an unavoidable travel inconvenience, the least enjoyable part of any trip. But it doesn’t have to be, in fact follow our 5 simple steps to improve your airport experience and you will arrive at your destination feeling as calm and relaxed as a zen master:
One – Airport arrival.
With so many on-site and off-site carparks to choose from knowing which one you should book can sometimes be confusing. Not all of them are clearly signposted, and many require you to take a shuttle bus to the terminal, but did you know most UK airports now offer Meet & Greet parking options? Simply drive up to the airport entrance and hand your keys to an appointed valet who will park your car for you. Whilst fellow travellers are waiting for courtesy buses to bring them to the terminal you’ll be breezing into departures. Book in advance to take advantage of additional discounts and you might be surprised to discover a Meet & Greet option doesn’t cost much more than regular off-site parking. Best of all, your car will be waiting outside for you when you return.
Two – Check-in.
As automation continues to replace traditional check-in procedures new electronic kiosks are becoming more common place at airports. As with all technology these systems are not infallible and machines can sometimes become out of order, causing queues to form. Most airlines now offer on-line check-in options, so stay ahead of the crowd by checking in and printing off your boarding pass at home, when you arrive at the airport you can head directly to the Fast Bag Drop.
Three – Security & Immigration
Possibly the most important and yet everyone’s least favourite part of the airport experience is going through security. Heightened measures in place inevitable slow down the process and at busy times some airports advise travellers to allow at least an hour to clear security. Pre-booking a fast-track pass will give you access to a lane designated exclusively to fast-track passengers only - You’ll be through security before you know it. Plan ahead for your return journey too, some airports now offer fast-track passport control options that allow you to clear immigration much quicker than using regular channels.
Four – Departure Lounge.
The stressful part is over, now all you have to do is wait for your flight to start boarding. Why not spend this time relaxing in a lounge? No longer a luxury reserved exclusively for business class passengers, most international airports offer a choice of lounges that you can pre-book ahead of your trip. Quiet havens away from the hustle and bustle of the busy terminal, most lounges offer complimentary drinks, snacks, wi-fi and other services, such as showers, spa treatments, even cinema rooms - depending on which airport you are travelling from. Take into account what you would spend on drinks and snacks in the terminal and the cost of upgrading to a lounge is nominal.
Five – After Landing.
If you’ve followed our tips you should arrive at your destination with minimal fuss, having avoided the usual airport chaos. However now you may have language barriers to contend with, not to mention jet-lag. Is this your first time here? Do you know where you’re going? Are you familiar with the airport? Are your stress levels starting to rise?
Pre-book an arrival transfer to guarantee someone will be waiting to meet you. They will be familiar with the airport and the city. For little more than the cost of a taxi you can pre-pay your private transfer and avoid standing in line waiting for cabs, make sure you don’t fall victim to the unscrupulous taxi driver who takes the longest route to increase your fare. A private transfer will take you door to door safely, you’ll even get assistance with your luggage.
Travel for some is an essential part of their business, for others it’s a way to discover and explore new places, whatever your reason for travelling we believe the journey should be as productive and as exciting as the destination.