Top Tips for Travelling through Airports

Travel Talk

Remember to do your research before you leave home, it will probably save money and time.

Investigate local regional airports as they can often be much closer and quieter. Parking may be easier and the time spent in the terminal much less.

If you are a frequent traveller, then look at some of the deals with banks e.g. National Westminster Black Account or credit cards which could include free access to lounges. These take the hassle out of travelling.

London HeathrowSee if there are any free local buses operating around the airport. These are used by the workers but are free to others within a certain radius. London Heathrow for example has plenty of free buses surrounding a lot of the nearest hotels. Use these instead of the more expensive ones. These do go right up to the door of the hotel but tend to stop lots of times before getting to the terminals. Remember to check out airport hotels. Sometimes you will find excellent deals within walking distance of the airport. If you are only staying one night, a basic hotel should be fine and you can probably eat at one of the terminals. 

Find out how the residents get from the airport to the cities. Search on the Internet for bus routes, trams and trains. Using local services, a journey into the city, that is only a few minutes more, can often save you a lot of money. For example, in Vienna, Krakow and particularly Prague it is a good option. At London Heathrow you could opt for the Heathrow Connect Service which takes a few minutes more but costs a lot less than the Heathrow Express.  Use other routes when going from London Gatwick to Central London via East Croydon.

Jubilee Line London Underground trainRemember to take an empty plastic bottle through security and then fill it with tap water on the other side. This will mean not having to pay a lot for bottled water. Also look out for free bottles of water when you buy certain newspapers.

Always ask if there are any upgrades when you check in. If you fly Premium Class there is a much greater chance of being bumped up to Business Class. It still happens!  Be polite and make sure you get to the check-in early. Sometimes there will also be some good last-minute upgrade offers.

Premium Economy meal on Air CanadaPremium Class can be excellent value particularly if you are using some of Air Canada’s routes where they are using new planes which don’t have a business section. In this case premium can be nearly as good as business. Extra legroom, better service and good quality food. 

Always get to the gate early to avoid any congestion. However, it is sometimes a good idea to let the queue go down before boarding the plane. Remember you will have a seat.

To avoid paying high prices for snacks on the plane buy something before you board. Look out for any meal deals in stores such as Boots in the UK.

When entering North America, to save any hassle, choose a smaller airport. Halifax is an excellent example of a much quieter entry point and they often have friendly, helpful staff rather than ones who are under a lot of stress due to large numbers of passengers arriving all the time.  

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Godfrey Hall

Award-winning travel writer

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