Here’s How to Navigate the Airport at Lightspeed

Eight hacks to help you stay sane

By The Editors

How to Navigate the Airport at Breakneck
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15 September 2015

The miracle of human flight is one of those technologies that promises convenience but then breaks that promise with frustratingly predictable regularity.

You know this is if you’ve ever had a flight canceled, a bag lost or tried to use in-flight Internet for anything other than research into the effects of altitude on page-load times.

But for all that you can’t control — read: pretty much everything that happens once you make your gate — there are some things you can do to ensure your pre-flight experience is as quick and painless as possible.

1. Get Global Entry. Like, yesterday. The one-time application fee is $100 and nets you five years of expedited passage through security. The govmit’ will take a deep dive into your life, yes. But you’ve got nothing to hide (Right?).

2. Check in online as early as your airline permits. Ticketing lines — not security — are the bane of timely air travel. It also ensures you won’t get bumped from the flight.

3. Don’t drive your car to the airport. Uber. Lyft. Hang a thumb out. Whatever. Just don’t mess with shuttles and two-counties-over remote lots.

4. Carry on. Five nights should be the absolute minimum for checking; if you can stretch that to seven or eight and still err on the side of the overhead bin you’re probably eligible for some type of medal.

5. Wear loafers. Keeps you looking dapper, minimizes your time at the X-ray.

6. Speaking of: don’t be the bottlenecking jagoff who repacks his carry-on and gets dressed at the end of the conveyor — pick up your trays and move on to the banks of benches that have been strategically placed just beyond it for that exact reason.

7. Check in with the gate attendant as early as possible. You might be able to score a better seat or an upgrade. Just remember The Kindly Brontosaurus.

8. And because you will now have time to relax a bit before your flight: A) Download FLIO, the new app that connects you directly to most airports' local Wi-Fi.

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