Stress, anxiety, happiness, excitement, … All these emotions! I have never met so many lost people before. Here is a small guide on how to act at the airport and all different scenarios that can happen.
Working at the airport was maybe one of the career wishes. I worked in so many departments, so you can imagine my excitement. Working at the second biggest airport in the UK, Gatwick Airport, was easy and hard at the same time. I love airports! It is a lot going on, from starting at 3 in the morning, finishing the late-night… it is busy, never boring which I like.
I love working with people. They can bring the best from you, but also the worst. You can have a good day and not so good ones. But most important you need to be patient.
But let’s be honest, some people are lost just when they enter the airport. You meet experienced people, families with children, first-time travelers, old people, drunk ones as well… People don’t know where are they going, seriously!
It was so funny when one guy came with a piece of paper to me and he did not know with which airline he was traveling not even his destination. And he did not speak any English.
BEFORE THE TRIP: PLANNING
When you are searching for tickets please remember the date you fly, an hour of the departure (more important hour of the gate closure) and the airline you travel. On boarding pass is it also said which terminal your departure is.
NOTE: If for any reason you can not check-in online or download boarding pass, you can do it at the airport. You just need to go check-in area of your airline, but careful – some low-cost airlines can charge you for checking in at the airport.
I had people who came on check-in with the wrong tickets. and instead of traveling from Luton or Stanstead airport, they came to Gatwick Airport. So check what airport and date you are traveling.
First, you need to find a terminal and airline check-in point. It helps a lot if you look on the airport page where is the list of all airlines and locations of zones. And come at least 2 hours before!!!
If you do not know kindly ask one of the airport staff. They know for sure.
FIRST STEP: CHECK-IN
CHECK IN at the airline desk. That means that staff will issue your boarding pass if you did not do it online. At check-in desk you need to leave your check-in luggage (big bags) if you book it. Booking online will save you a lot of money because at every airport it will cost you almost double the price.
A lot of airlines on the big airports have bagdrops to leave the luggage. For example, Easy Jet at Gatwick airport has the biggest bag drop area in the world. You go through the check zone where you need to show passport and boarding pass. Then you start the process on the machine: you need to place the bag on the belt and scan boarding pass. Next step you need to agree with prohibited items* (that you do not have any in your hold luggage), the tag will be printed and follow the instructions on how to stick it together. In the end, you need just to press “send the bag” and that s it!
The maximum weight of each bag can not exceed 32 kg!
*prohibited items: explosives, acids, batteries, bleach, compressed gas, flammable liquids, matches, lighters, incapacitating sprays, poisons.
And do not forget your documents on the belts, because it can take one hour for engineers to find it and bring it back to you! Always have your documents in one place.
After check-in, the second step is going through security! You need to remove jewelry, belts, electronics (Ipads and computers), sometimes also shoes. All liquids (also referring makeup in liquids) needs to be in 1 L plastic bag not bigger than 100 ml.
After security shopping in dutty free, but DO NOT FORGET ABOUT TIME! Gate closes 30 minutes before departures!
AT THE GATE
Get ready your passport and boarding pass! Because people are not ready, you make boarding slow which can result in a delay. As a boarding agent, I can tell you that in most cases delay can be because of the unprepared people. And not because gate staff is slow.
Every airline has their own “rules” that you need to follow if you don’t want to pay extra charges for luggage. Easyjet normally has a strict hand luggage limit of just one item – so you can only take one small suitcase or handbag, laptop bag, etc. However, there is a loophole to get a second bag on, and it lies in duty-free, post-security shopping. Every airline should allow you to take the duty-free bag with you on board.
If your cabin bag is bigger than should be (it needs to fit in the gauge), you will be charged on the gate 50 pounds. Pay attention to this: because low-cost airlines earn money “from luggage”! It is not staff fault if you did not check terms and conditions online!
One more thing. Overhead cabin lockers get full quickly on busy flights so staff will ask for volunteers to check in their hand luggage. So ask if it’s an option at the gate (or even check-in), and you may be able to stow your gear in the hold free of charge. But normally, staff will just start to tag your bags, even if you are not happy with that! Again it says on your boarding pass that this will happen when the limit of accepted bags will be reached.
And the last thing: cabin crew will salute you and we wish you safe flight 😉
IF YOU MISS A FLIGHT …
This can happen to everybody. If for any reason you miss the flight, talk with the staff and they will direct you to customer service. You can choose another available flight but you will need to pay a rescue fee. Another option that you have is to book a flight by yourself online (maybe it is cheaper than a rescue fee).
Till next time from another adventure,