|Photo by Open Clipart Library.|
Inspired by my last run with the airport (literally), when I was flying from Wilmington, NC to LAX after the holidays. I was at brunch with my friends to say goodbye when I looked at my watch and realized that it was a hour before my flight was supposed to take off...as in I was supposed to be at the airport already.
Thankfully I had already packed most of my luggage and my friend Hugo was available to drive me right away. By the time I got to the ILM airport, it was only 30 minutes until my plane was going to be in the air. I tried to check-in at the kiosks, only to have "Sorry, it is too late for you to check-in. Please go to a US Airways representative for more assistance," pop up on the screen.
Shit. By this time I was sure that I was too late and going to have to change my flight. What made matters worse was that all the "representatives" were already busy with checking-in a family of five and their thousand bags. When the lady at the desk finally noticed me tapping my foot and looking flustered, she told me that I could check-in at kiosk. "I know," I said dejectedly, "It told me that I was too late."
She made no effort to hide rolling her eyes, gave a huge sigh and told me to come up to the desk after she had finally finished tagging the family's baggage. "Is there any possible way that I could just check-in still?" I pleaded, and then blurted out, "My friend got pulled over because his tags were expired and it took forever."
Now this was partially true. I got pulled over the other day driving my friend's car, who's tags were expired. But this lady didn't need to know that. She didn't look happy, but called my gate to let them know that I was coming, and quickly checked-in my bag. "Thank you, thank you so much!" I yelled to her before I ran over to security.
I was the very last person to board the plane (the woman at the gate even knew my seat number before I gave her my boarding pass), and was sweating profusely from running by the time I was in my seat. However, I had made it and that's all that mattered.
Here's some handy dandy tips to avoid being late to the airport/get away with being late:
1. Check-in EARLY. Most airlines won't let you check-in less than an hour before, so keep that in mind. You can do it up to 24 hours before so just do it before you even pack your bags and you will be good to go.
2. Have an excuse ready. In the case that you did NOT check-in early like me, have an explanation that will pull at that airline representative's heart strings. Actually, it doesn't have to be that melodramatic- keep it short so that you don't make yourself later than you already are, but just enough content that will make the them know that it was NOT YOUR FAULT. If you make it sound like you didn't have control of the situation, then they will be that more willing to give you a lending hand.
3. Pack smart. If you have a carry-on, put the liquids (no more than 3.4 ounces and in a ziploc bag) and any electronics (laptop, kindle, IPad, etc.) somewhere that you can easily access. Everyone knows the worst part of the airport is going through security. Make it easier for yourself and everyone in line. Know that you are supposed to take off your jacket(s), big jewelry and shoes. Do not hesitate. Just get that shit off so you can go through the line faster. If you are in a really big hurry, most of the time you can get away with telling whoever is in charge that your plane is boarding and they will allow you to cut the line.
4. Have your ID ready. If you need to check-in a bag, take out your license or passport and credit card ready to go before they even ask for it. Time is crucial. The less time burying in your purse or scrambling for your wallet, the better. Know that they will need your ID again right before security as well, and then for goodness sakes put it somewhere safe. I've almost lost mine many a time because I was in too much of a rush and forgot where I hid my license.
5. Run. If you know that your plane is already boarding, get a good hold of your bags and haul ass! Because they WILL close that gate on you, and to miss a flight by just a few minutes is the worst feeling in the world. It doesn't matter that you look like an idiot scampering through the terminals– everyone has been there; they won't judge you.