How to get through the airport quickly
Do you feel like you spend your life hanging around at airports? It’s no fun, especially when a lot of that time will be waiting in a queue to clear security.
But there are some small steps that all travellers, whether on a family holiday, business trip or romantic getaway, can take that will speed up your passage through security and remove the hassle from your airport experience.
Don’t forget the basics
You know the drill by now, but it’s worth a quick re-cap on passing through security before you head off:
Charge electronic devices
Double check that your electronic devices are charged before travelling – and not just so you can sit down and do some work or pass the time with a film.
If your device doesn't switch on when requested by security at the airport then you won't be allowed to bring it onto the aircraft.
Get a Fast Track pass
You could arrive at the airport early, in case of long security lines. Or pick a security queue on the left (people supposedly have an innate tendency to turn right, so you might just find a shorter queue by going the other way).
But a better tactic to beat the queues is to pay a small fee - Gatwick, for example, charges £7 - to ‘fast track’ passport control checks.
If you’re travelling at a busy time of year, such as August, then this small charge is well worth it.
Fly from a fast airport
If you have the luxury of choosing which airport to fly from, bear in mind that some are quicker to get through than others. That is, at least according to a passenger poll by Skyscanner, which found that Birmingham was the fastest, followed by Edinburgh, Glasgow, Bristol and then London Heathrow.
Pay someone else to carry your luggage
Did you know you can pay someone else to get your luggage to the airport for you?
For a fee, a new service called AirPortr will pick up your luggage from your home or office and transport it to the airport. The next time you’ll see your luggage will be at the baggage reclaim at your destination airport.
At the moment the service is limited to areas in the South of England but is available whether you're flying in to, or out of, either Gatwick or Heathrow.
ID your luggage
If you are going on a long trip and hand luggage isn’t enough, be sure to mark your luggage with something simple like a ribbon on the handle, so you can quickly identify it on the carousel at the other end.
Another cheeky tip plugged on internet forums is to put a ‘fragile’ sticker on your luggage, ensuring it comes out first.
And take a photo of your luggage before checking in, in case it gets lost - far better handing over a pic to airport staff than having to describe your plain black bag to them.
Don’t leave it to the airport to get currency
While it may seem convenient to get currency at the airport, especially if the trip was a last-minute necessity, planning ahead is the only way to get the best value for your currency.
A FairFX investigation into exchange rates on offer at UK airports last year showed business travellers leaving their currency exchange until the last minute, and relying on airport exchange desks, could lose well over £100 worth of Euros for every £500 exchanged.
Consider an airport lounge
If you tend to spend out on snacks, drinks and newspapers at the airport, it’s worth at least considering whether you should just book an airport lounge.
You’ll save yourself some time and hassle and can use the free Wi-Fi to work in a more relaxed atmosphere (beats sitting on the metal chairs with your laptop on your lap).
As a FairFX card holder, you can take advantage of 25% off No 1 lounge access when you next travel – locations include Heathrow, Gatwick, Edinburgh and Birmingham airports.
Simply use the code FAIRFXMEM when prompted.