Can you remember the first time you went to the airport? That must have been an exciting day because, let’s face it – flying is one of the coolest things we get to do in this lifetime. Just the thought of how modern engineering allows hundreds of people to get lifted from the ground and be airborne in a matter of seconds is enough to get anyone, young and old, excited. And the view from up there is like no other. While looking down on Mother Earth, you are reminded for a few moments of how magical it truly is to fly and be amongst the clouds. That magic, however, comes with a whole lot of secrets. As you’ll see from our list, airport employees keep some of the biggest secrets to themselves. Some of these secrets have been exposed, while others are still kept on the DL…well, until now.
You know that TheTravel has your back and we’re all about transparency. We certainly don’t want to ruin your magical flying experience, we just want you to know what’s really going on out there. So read below as we expose all the fascinating things that airport employees want to keep hidden and touch on the interesting facts that have already been exposed.
25 The Air Quality Isn’t Great
We’re starting our list off with this one because it affects all of us – we all need clean air to live. Well, unfortunately for frequent fliers, you’re not going to get it anywhere near the airport. In fact, the air quality at airports can be quite toxic. MSN highlights that “the heavy air traffic and the various road machinery around airports emit all sorts of odd chemicals – carbon monoxide, ozone, and VOCs included. The air quality around Europe’s busiest airport, Heathrow, for example, regularly breaches the legal limit of nitrogen dioxide pollutants.”
24 Tuesday Has the Best Deals
In this economy, we’re all trying to save a buck or two so this one on our list is our gift to all our readers. So, if you’re a frequent flyer, you’ll know that weekend flights are often very costly because that’s when there is a higher demand. Weekday travel is the best time to save some cash but to be even more specific, Tuesday is often the day with the least amount of travelers, meaning lowered flight costs. The early morning or late evening flights also tend to be the most economical.
23 Prohibited Carry-on Items Get Sold
So you made the mistake of not checking-in some items that you know you can’t have in your carry-on. Well, obviously the TSA won’t let you through with them, you know that much, but one thing you may ask yourself is - What will happen to them? It is very unlikely that you will even get to see these confiscated items again. Why? Because they get sold at auctions. So, if you truly value an item that you know you’re not supposed to have in your carry-on, make sure that you check it in with your luggage.
22 The Airport ATM Will Save You Some Money
This is one of the secrets that very people know. In fact, only the most frequent flyers are aware of this little fact and thankfully, because you’re reading this article, now you also know. If you’re planning on traveling soon, make sure that you use the ATM at the airport, rather than convert the money to cash there. This is because it is much more cost effective. Best Life Online explains that “If your debit card has a four-digit PIN, you can use it virtually anywhere in the world to withdraw cash, often for little more than the ATM fee your bank would charge.”
21 Many TSA Agents are Military Trained
So, The TSA is in charge of helping to ensure that all the safety regulations concerning travel are adhered to. Although their main concern is making sure that everyone on board a flight is safe, some people like to give them a tough time. If you’re one of those people – Don’t. Not trying to scare you or anything, but many of them are military trained. Best Life Online highlights that “one TSA agent reveals that many of his colleagues, particularly those trained in bomb detection, are former members of the military.”
20 Some Airports Offer Shortcuts
So, many of us often dread the idea of making our way through the airport with our luggage. Airports are often big, this can not only be time-consuming, but just downright tiring. We want shortcuts! Well, apparently some airports do have shortcuts!
As Martin Thomas, BA’s product brands and experience, discussed in The Daily Mail that “If you’re arriving at Heathrow from London Underground or Heathrow Express there’s a quicker way to Fast Track security lanes, accessible behind the B bank of desks at the northern end of Terminal 5.” Many other airports around the world have these convenient shortcuts so make sure to check out their websites to find more out.
19 Isle Seats are Generally Warmer
This one on our list is particularly for our readers who are not so crazy about getting cold while they're traveling. Although the window seat can certainly be attractive because you get to sit back and watch the skies and all of Mother Nature’s beauty, this is also the spot where cold air can leak through the window, particularly at high altitudes. Getting an aisle seat will keep you away from this cold air and the best part is that you won’t have to climb over anyone to get to the bathroom.
18 That Free Wifi Can Be Risky
Cyber Security is one of the main concerns for most internet users. Considering the fact that there are billions of regular internet users, this is a concern for many people out there. While at the airport, you may be attracted to the free Wifi on offer, however, connecting to it may put your devices at risk. Public Wifi is very vulnerable to security threats and connecting to it may also put you and your personal information at risk, so be sure to just connect to your own Hotspot, to be extra safe.
17 Behavior Detectors Have Their Eyes On You
You may have noticed this one on our list before – You’re standing in line at the airport, and as you look around, you see that there are random people scanning with their eyes not just you, but every other passenger. Who are these people and what business do they have scanning everyone in line? As an extra safety measure, American airports have behavior detectors to keep an eye on every passenger and spot anyone who may seem a little suspicious.
16 Pack Yourself an Empty Water Bottle
If you’ve gone to the airport with a large water bottle before, you would have had it thrown out by the TSA. This sucks, of course, because then this will mean that you will have to spend a ridiculous amount of money purchasing water on your flight for when you get thirsty. A sweet trick then is to pack an empty water bottle. This, of course, means that you won’t be disobeying any of the TSA rules regarding liquids, and then you can just fill your bottle up with water from the many water fountains at the airport.
15 Your Cookies Might Be Costing You Money
So, has this ever happened to you – You check for flights on your phone and then in 30 minutes to an hour, you arrive at the airport to book those affordable flights that you noted. The only problem? They are not so affordable anymore. It turns out, your cookies may be to blame.
Huffington Post highlights that “internet browsers track your activity online and some booking sites might increase the price depending on demand. To avoid this, travel pros suggest clearing your cookies or using a private browser when booking a flight.”
14 Airplanes are Dirty
For all our germophobe readers out there, sorry about this one but it’s true – airplanes can be some of the dirtiest public spaces out there. The main problem is the fact that cleaners don’t have enough time between flights to really give the flights a proper clean – all they do is pick up any visible trash. The best thing to do here is to carry your own sanitizer and wet wipes to use, especially on the food trays and armrests because those are frequently touched.
13 Some Extra Items Can Be Checked-In For Free
This is an exciting one to reveal to all our readers out there so – You’re welcomed. As you may already know, when you purchase your ticket, there is a limited amount of checked-in luggage that you’re allowed – depending on the airline and the class of ticket. Well, the great news is that items such as cribs, car seats, and strollers can sometimes be checked-in for free, at no extra cost to you. Some airlines have no problem with checking in these items for free so be sure to check with the airline rules and regulations to see if it’s permitted.
12 Downloading Your Airline’s App is Smarter
We’re in the 21st century and pretty much anything we need, we can easily access at our fingertips. So why not download your airline's app? Having your airline’s apps downloaded can be a lifesaver at times as you will get instant notifications of when there are any delays or changes to flights. This can also help you check-in online easier and many airlines allow their passengers to use their mobile boarding passes. This means that you’ll not only be saving some of your precious time, but you can also save some trees while you’re at it.
11 You Might Not Need To Use One Airline To Redeem Airline Rewards
This can come as a shocker to many. Most people will sign up for airline reward programs and the general assumption is that you have to use that same airline to be able to redeem the miles, but this is not always the case. Huffington Post explains that “you can often fly on partner airlines using your airline’s miles. In some cases, using Airline A’s miles to fly on partner Airline B requires fewer miles than if you used Airline B’s miles for the same flight.”
10 Pack like a Pro and Only have Carry-on
We’ve now come to that part of the list where we discuss the stuff we already know about the airport. Starting off our number 10 is a smart trick that all frequent flyers are well aware of and now that you’re reading this article, you now know too.
Avoid unnecessary long lines at the airport and also save yourself some of your hard-earned money by avoiding to have check-in luggage. Sticking to just your carry-on is particularly more possible if you just have a weekend trip or just a few days. So pack smartly and save your time and money.
9 Pack Your Electronics Together
There are very few things in life that can be as time-consuming and frustrating as waiting in line at the TSA. Sure, we value their time and diligence to their work but still, it can make any patient person lose it a bit. To make your life a little easier when you’re in front of the line and are about to go through the scanning machines, make sure that you pack your electronics together. So your laptop, cables, camera, tablets, and any other electronic devices that you’ve decided to have in your carry-on should all be in one compartment. This can help to expedite the security process.
8 Make your Check-in Luggage Unique
Have you ever picked up a bag at baggage claim by mistake? Well, you’re not the only one. Most people travel with very similar luggage bags and quite frankly, there comes a point where they all just look the same, right? The tip all frequent flyers know is to make their luggage unique. Whether you tie a little piece of ribbon on it or put a colorful tape on the zip, do anything to help you instantly recognize your luggage when it's within the sea of other similar bags at baggage claim.
7 Everyone Can Benefit From Airline Reward Programs
Number 7 on our list doesn’t necessarily have to do with just frequent flyers. Most people assume that only frequent flyers can benefit from signing up for airline rewards but as we’ve discovered, that’s a false assumption. Even if you don’t travel that often if you’ve flown a few times, you can get enough miles and find yourself getting either free flights or a discount on flights. So make sure that you do yourself a favor and sign up for those rewards because you’ll soon be rewarded.
6 Save Time With TSA PreCheck
We appreciate the TSA at the airport because we understand that their job is to ensure that we all arrive at our destinations safely. Although we can appreciate the work that they do, it doesn’t mean that we’re crazy about the long lines though, especially when we’re running late. You can save some of your precious time by applying for TSA PreCheck and Global Entry. This will expedite the process for you and make sure that you’re not spending hours in TSA lines.