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How To Deal With Airport Stress
Your flights booked, and now it's airport time. Airport 's can be stressful places nowadays, and these tips are designed for stress reduction...
* Leave home early
Airport stress starts the moment you leave home. Don't sit in traffic watching minutes tick away. Aim to arrive at the airport two hours early (usually required for International flights). Then if there's traffic delays, you've still got plenty of time.
* The check-in Line
Now you've arrived, next step's check-in. Usually, there's multiple lines you can choose from. Which looks quickest ? Maybe the longest line is quickest ? Here's a couple tips. If you see lots of families and children in a line, avoid it. By the time they've found all their tickets, and sorted their luggage jumble, they've taken twice the time of a couple or single person.
Look for a short check-in line that's not easy to see. Look at each end of the check-in aisles, and maybe there's a valid check-in hidden by a pillar, that few people see. Happened to me just recently, and cut a half hour off my check-in time - a half hour I spent relaxing in the bar.
* How long to walk from lounge to gate ?
Maybe I should publish a guide to 'walk-time' at different airports ! I've walked anything from 2 minutes to 20 minutes after a call to Gate.
Ask at check-in. It's an important question. When that screen flashes 'Go to Gate', it's much less stressful if you know how long you'll take to walk there. All your good work of stress-reduction goes down the tubes if you walk 5 minutes and then realize your gate is way the other side of the airport terminal.
Sometimes you even have to go through more security, or another passport check, and find a line waiting there. I once travelled out of Spain, and this exact same thing happened. A long passport control line stood between me and my gate, where departure was scheduled just 15 minutes later. Luckily myself and 5 others decided to go right to the front and explain the situation - no one objected to us going thro first.
But try to avoid this un-necessary stress by checking in advance.
* Invest in the Executive Lounge
If you travel often you might get free entry to an airport executive lounge. If not, you can often pay a small amount to use it. The ideal low-stress airport experience begins in the executive lounge. Away from all the airport hustle & bustle, relax with free drinks and nibbles. Read a newspaper or magazine and you're soon in just the right, relaxed frame of mind for your journey.
* Nervous ?
Don't feel embarrassed to be nervous. A lot of people are nervous of flying, but you know it's much safer than your car journey to the airport. If you can't use an executive lounge, then there's a couple other options to reduce your stress. Try shopping ! Yes, retail therapy can help take your mind off your nervousness and stress. No need to buy anything - just wander around looking...
Follow the above tips and you'll have a relaxed and stress free airport experience, all ready to enjoy your vacation or business trip.
by Neil Stelling B.Sc, MBA
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