Airports can be a stressful place. So many people are crammed into such a small space and a lot of these people are going somewhere and have strict deadlines. This can create a bit of a messy situation, and not everyone handles it very well.
The airport can be especially intimidating if you haven't been to one very often. There are certain codes of etiquette that you must follow or you will be shunned by the other people at the airport, or even worse, face official repercussions.
Luckily, this article should warn you about the main snafus that people commonly fall victim to an airport. Most of these are fairly innocent but there are a few that have committed they could seriously hinder your travel plans. I think it is also important that there are some exceptions to this rule's and that they should really be taken on a case-by-case basis.
But if this is your first time at an airport these are all good rules of thumb to follow so you don't stand out. If you can think of any airport snafus that didn't make our list, or you disagree with some of our entries, feel free to mention them in the comment section.
20 Use the Bathroom During Rush Times
It is a universal rule that airport bathrooms cannot handle the magnitude of people that use them on a daily basis.
At no time is this more evident than during peak times when there are a lot of planes arriving and departing. During these times, I highly recommend that you do your best not to use the restroom.
Not only will you probably get stuck waiting in line, which is always an awkward experience, but I can all but guarantee that the bathroom will not be in any condition that you will want to use it.
19 Use the B-word, Even As a Joke
Every time that I have been at an airport with a group of people, someone has proposed yelling the B word as a funny way to rile up airport security. If there is one group of people who don't need to be riled up anymore, it is airport security.
A lot of people think that it is funny joke but there's a very real chance that someone will take you seriously. After all, security is trained to take any bomb threat with the utmost of caution and seriousness. The best case scenario is that you come out of this looking like an idiot, and the worst case scenario is that an overzealous guard tazes you.
18 Show Up Right Before Your Flight Leaves
I don’t think that security takes as long as people think that it does but it can be a lengthy process at times. Almost every travel website will tell you to arrive at the airport hours before your plane leaves and that is very sound advice. Any little issue with security can significantly lengthen your process and planes will not wait for anyone.
Some airlines will accommodate late passengers with cheap replacement tickets but this is certainly not the norm. Don’t put yourself in a situation where you are at the mercy of the airline companies.
17 Miss Your Connecting Flight
A recent study found that the majority of people who missed their flights do so because they are coming in from another connecting aircraft. Some of the time this is the fault of the airlines themselves, but most of the time it is due to the carelessness of the flyers.
If you arrive at the airport and you have a connecting flight, the first thing that you should do is to see when and where that plane is departing from. Planes change their schedules all the time and you don't want to be left out of the loop when the plane decides to leave an hour early.
16 Miss the Airport Food Court
I may be in the minority here but I absolutely love food court grub. I first fell in love with the food court at the local mall but as an adult I have found another venue where the food court holds king: airports. They may be a little pricier than your standard food court but they are certainly the most convenient way to get a quick meal while you are traveling.
You probably have to hang out at the airport for some reason anyway, so why not grab a bite to eat while you are there?
15 Leave Your Stuff Unattended
There might not be a more important entry on this list than this next one. It is important that you do not leave your things around not only for the safety of your stuff but also for the safety of everyone at the airport. The reason why unattended luggage is such a big deal at airports is because a suspicious package is grounds for a bomb threat.
In the modern age, security staff are too careful for you to leave your bags unattended at an airport. Best case scenario, a thief steals your stuff. Worst case scenario is that your bag gets called in as a bomb threat.
14 Let Your Phone Fizzle Out
Today's airports are totally different than they were 10-20 years ago. A big change has been the amount of electronics in the terminal. Plane delays used to be almost unbearable because there wasn't anything for people to occupy themselves with while they waited for their flights.
Now, everyone has a supercomputer in their pocket, but this has created its own set of challenges. One such challenge is keeping all of your electronics charged. Airports have been frantically adding charging stations but they cannot keep up with the multitude of devices that need recharging.
13 Lie Down in the Terminal
There are a lot of rude things that happen at airports. Whenever you cram this many people into a small area, the worst aspects of certain people's personalities will come out.
Take for example, the people that lay down across multiple seats at the airport terminals. I understand if the airport is empty trying to catch a few z’s before your plane arrives but I've seen multiple people have to stand up because one rude individual decides to take up four seats.
12 Get Fresh With Other Passengers
It is a good rule of thumb that you should never hit on someone when they are in a position where they cannot easily leave your presence. Recently, I have read several reports from women who claim that their boundaries were overstepped at the airport. A lot of these were about men who lacked decency, but I'm not sure if it is ever okay to hit on another person at the airport.
This person is probably waiting for their plane to depart, so if they spurn your advances you are both in for an awkward experience until your plane arrives.
11 Pack Heavy
The reason why I think that it is so important to travel light when you travel is that your oversized luggage will haunt you from the beginning of your trip until the end. This is even true at the airport.
You cannot leave your luggage unattended at the airport which means that you will have to take it everywhere with you. Into crowded restaurants, into tiny bathroom stalls, and even into the bar. This is hard enough with a regular sized bag, it becomes overly burdensome with an oversized bag.
Packing light will make your life easier for the entire trip, even when you are just at the airport.
10 Look Suspicious
I know that this next entry is a little bit ambiguous but I thought that it was important for our readers to know to avoid any kind of activities at airports that will make them look suspicious.
Airport security guards in the modern era are super high strung. I make fun of them a lot but there is a very real chance that they will have to stop a potential attack. Because of this, they are trained to be extremely ready at all times. You do not want to give them any additional reasons to question you.
9 Spend All the Waiting Time at the Bar
It seems like every time I'm in an airport the majority of people there seem absolutely miserable that they have to wait whatever length of time for their plane.
Airport designers to put a lot of time and effort into making them an enjoyable experience for people waiting for their planes, and I feel like more people to take advantage of everything that they have to offer.
With that being said, some people overindulge in the airport bars. There’s nothing worse than having to sit next to someone that reeks of booze and will probably be sick at some point during the ride.
8 Change Your Clothes
I understand why people change their clothes in the airport but as a practical plan, it leaves a lot to be desired. Despite the incredible volume of people that go through an airport every day, traveling to and from different destinations, there are usually limited or no changing rooms.
Therefore, if you want to change you have to do so in a crowded bathroom stall. It's fine if you are just changing your T-shirt real quick, but if you have to change into a suit or another cumbersome article of clothing, things can get pretty crazy.
7 Lose Your Cool at the Checkpoints
Going through the various checkpoints at airports can be extremely stressful. They make you take off several articles of clothing, they make you empty your pockets, and if anything looks suspicious, you could be in line for an even more thorough inspection.
This is an arduous and at times stupid process but it is important to keep your cool at all times during it. For starters, the people you are interacting with don't make these rules, so it is pretty unfair to direct your anger towards them. In addition, if you become heated during your interactions with them, it is going to make you look even more suspicious. This will just make your link the inspection process even longer.
6 Go to the Airport Chili's
In another entry I talk about how I love the food court at airports but there are certain restaurants that I would definitely avoid. I originally didn't want to name names with this entry but after another bad experience at an airport Chili's, I just couldn’t let them off the hook.
This was the third time that I've been severely disappointed by an airport Chili's and I have promised myself that I will not make this mistake a fourth time. I don't generally dislike Chili's restaurant but for some reason, the ones at airports are just terrible.
5 Make a Mess
It amazes me that I even have to write this entry but if you've ever been in an airport you know that they can get pretty messy. There's something about human nature that when people are at a place where someone cleans up after them that they are far messier than they would be at their home. I think that it should just be the opposite.
If you make a mess of your own home no one will care but if you make a mess at an airport, you are making life harder for an underpaid janitor.
4 Ignore Your Gate
Say that you have already taken my advice and made sure that your plane is leaving at the gate that you thought it was. If you do not physically go to the gate, you could still face trouble when your plane departs. Flights often change throughout the course of the day. Most airlines try to make this announcement over the loudspeaker's but if you are in the general airport they are very hard to hear.
Once you have your food and everything that you wanted to get from the airport, I highly recommend that you get within hearing distance of the gate that you need.
3 Play on the Escalators/travelators
I have been guilty of this next entry a few times myself but there are some serious repercussions for playing on the airport escalators. I'm not talking about the minuscule chance that you get sucked in and lose a toe or finger, rather, I'm talking about the very real chance that some overzealous security guard gives you a hard time for it.
There's a fine line at airports between the fun that you're allowed to have and the fun that they feel creates safety concerns. Playing on the escalators or travelators crosses this arbitrary line.
2 Plan on Parking for Cheap
Since 2001, parking at airports has become impossible. Because of all the security features, parking has been limited in number and accessibility. If you can avoid it in any way, I highly recommend not parking at the airport.
For starters, airports do not guarantee that your car will be kept safe in their garage. You are much better off Ubering or getting a taxi to the airport. If you decide to park at the airport, make sure that you go through the rates to see what the best deal will be for the length of your stay.
1 Bring a Knife/Shampoo/Sharp Object/Anything With Wires
Airports have become so strict with what you can and cannot bring into an airport that it is almost impossible for inexperienced flyers to know what they are allowed to bring with them on a trip. The title of this entry should give you some indication of what kind of things are not allowed but even I am not 100% sure of what the current regulations are.
A good rule of thumb is that if you aren't comfortable throwing it away then you probably should not bring it. Some airports do you have lockers that you can rent but if you're going to be gone for a while they can get pretty pricey.