8 tips on airport transiting: how to make the best out of your connecting flights
Are you a transit passengers who struggles all the time with flight connections? Flight delays, security checks, loss of baggage, transit visas, long layovers, missed connections…is this causing you troubles? We have put together for you 8 tips to make your transiting a pleasant experience. Let’s start with:
1. Prepare beforehand
Spend a few minutes reading the basics about the airline, the connecting airport(s), the procedures, the fare rules etc. Overall, this shouldn’t take you more than half an hour. Start with the ticket - pay attention to the connecting airport, transit time and the terminals. If you don’t have experience with that airport, go to its website and read the section about transiting. Go to popular review sites like tripadvisor.com or connectionreview.com and browse for information. Check with the official sources if you need transit visa (just in case). In case your connection involves change of airports (or terminals), browse online for the best means of doing so. Take a note and check the time you have disposal is enough. In case you are traveling with baggage, take into consideration the connection time and the safety records of the airport (by reading passenger reviews) Preparation will save you time and make your journey more comfortable.
2. Know where you are going
It is quite possible that the arrival hall of your connecting airport is big and crowded. Directions to the gate of your onward flight may not be quite obvious. If you take the wrong direction, it may take you hours to get back on track. While on board your first flight, check for connection info in the in flight magazine. Asking the flight attendant for directions won’t hurt too. Flight attendants know well the hub airports and can be of great help. Once you find yourself in the arrival hall, you will have a good idea where you are heading to and will easily locate the directions.
3. Check in early, get a seat in the front
Even if you know your way, the transit process at hubs requires is all about queuing - security checks, immigrations, busses, baggage claims, etc. Your general strategy should be to speed up the process as much as possible. Whenever possible, check in early and choose seats in front of the aircraft. If you are flying a single isle aircraft, that strategy always works. This allows you to get out of the front door quicker and be and line up at the queue before the other 100+ passengers. Air bridges are always attached to the front door, but when the flight is served by buses, the back door may be used. In case of a bus service, it can be tricky as not always first in is first out. As a rule pick the first bus in the row. Even if the back bus gets filled in quicker, it is unlikely that it departs before the front one. The bus that departs first, arrives first at the arrival gate. But most airport buses have doors both sides, which means that even if you are standing by the door, may be the last one to leave . In most cases, when the bus parks next to the arrival gate, the doors opposite the driver’s side would open, make sure you are there, leave the bus and rush forward.
4. Lifehacks at immigration
If some forms need to be submitted at the transit airport, ask if these are available on board and fill them in prior to landing. This will save you time at the immigration desk. If you need to pass thru immigration within EU, make sure to bring an e-passport with you. It will give you access to the e-gates, for which lines are less crowded.
5. Cut short the security checks
Security checks really take long time at many airports worldwide. If you have a tight connection, don’t be a shame to say so. Hold your boarding passes (and other documents), put the stressed out look on your face and ask fellow passengers if they would be so kind to let you pass thru as the boarding time of your flight has started already. You will be surprises how kind people are. Most of them will let you go and wish you safe travels.
6. Don’t be shy to ask for advice
If you are hesitant about procedures, directions, places, just ask. Even if there aren’t dedicated transfer desk, you can ask anyone who works at the airport - even cleaners can help you out with directions.
7. Take good care of your baggage
If you don’t travel with a lot of baggage, check if you can take it all onboard. Checking it in always creates the risk of getting lost. On the other hand, a bag at hand always arrives. Here tip 1 is especially handy - prepare beforehand. If you read online that your connecting airport has bad reputation regarding baggage, you may do one of the following:
- Wrap your baggage to avoid thefts
- Keep all the valuables in the hand baggage
- Lock well your suitcases or insure them
8. Killing time at the airport in a smart way
It’s wrong to think that all connections requires rushing. In fact, in many cases the transfer time can go beyond 8h-10h. Here we have another problem - boredom. If this is your cases, check online for lounge passes. You may be surprised that for a few bucks you get access to amenities, not available for regular transit passengers. Hanging around in a lounge helps killing time…It really does. Alternatively, do the most out of the free time. Check out for free city tours, many reputed transit airlines such as Qatar Airways or Turkish Airlines offer such.
Written by Connectionreview.com