Airports can be exciting, because it means travel, but they can also be stressful. Because of the nature of flying, there are a million things that can go wrong from check in to boarding and then, even at arrivals. Even the thought of these problems can cause anxiety, but there's no need to be nervous if you know exactly how you'd solve them if they did happen.
Just remember — every problem is fixable! That airline wants you to fly with them again and airport staff are there to help so if there's an issue, they want to solve it as much as you do. Well. Almost.
10 You Can Get Lost
The main, obvious problem that can happen in the larger airports is that it's far too easy to get lost. Some airports have multiple terminals, with gates spanning in every direction, and finding your gate can often seem like a daunting task for those who are directionally challenged.
Stay calm and follow the signs — every airport is signposted. And if all else fails, stop someone who works at the airport and politely ask them to point you in the right direction.
9 Your Flight Can Be Delayed
Try to never choose a flight that gets you to your destination a second before you actually need to be there. Always allow yourself room on the other side, because flight delays are shockingly common and it can be anywhere from twenty minutes to twelve hours.
If the delay is significant, you may be entitled to compensation and the airline should at least provide food vouchers. Stay calm and don't panic — you'll get there eventually.
8 Or Canceled
If your flight is canceled, it's the airline's responsibility to get you there. They'll rebook you on the next available flight or find another route, so even though it may tempting to fully panic when you see 'CANCELED' in bold red letters next to your flight number, don't! Some people's flights are canceled and they end up getting to their destination quicker because the layover is shorter, or they end up on a direct flight. See — they can even work to your advantage.
7 Luggage Can Be Lost
Lost luggage is a huge pain, and there's nothing worse than the heart-wrenching feeling of realizing your suitcase hasn't come out on the carousel. More often than not though, luggage is delayed rather than lost. All you have to do is approach the luggage services desk and they'll look up where it is and hopefully get it to you. Most airlines will even hand deliver the luggage straight to your hotel or residential address, regardless of how far from the airport it is. Just make sure you speak up the moment you know that the suitcase hasn't arrived.
6 Security Lines Can Be Huge
Another moment of familiar panic for passengers: when you have an hour to make it through security, you arrive, and the line is huge.
There's an easy solution to this — don't worry, you aren't stuck waiting in a line that's going to make you miss your flight. Flag down a member of security and show them your boarding pass. If you're in any danger of missing your flight, they will move you to the front of the line and ensure you have time to make it to your gate. Of course, they can't do that if you stay silent, so speak up!
5 Passport Control Can Be A Nightmare
On the arrivals side, passport control can be a nightmare. Like security, the lines can be long (and this time, you can only skip them if you have a short connection time). But more than that, the interview itself can be a little terrifying. Customs & Border Patrol (or the country's equivalent) can be short and to the point, since it's their job to be a law enforcement officer, not customer service. The questions they ask can seem invasive, and it might be tempting to get defensive since you just want to get out of the airport.
Stay calm and answer politely. Don't go into too much detail. You'll get out of there much faster.
4 Sometimes Technology Don't Work As It Should
Recently, kiosks have been introduced everywhere in airports — for passport control, for checking in, for everything. But technology is only reliable to a point and often, they don't work.
Allow yourself plenty of time and don't rely on kiosks speeding you through the airport. Be aware that you may have to approach an actual person, and account for the time that waiting in that line may take.
3 Not Every Airport Has Good Food
It's also not a good idea to rely on getting food in the airport, especially if you have a strict diet like vegan or gluten-free. Some airports have wide food choices, but some have barely any at all. Always make sure you pack a few protein bars in your bag so you have a quick on-the-go snack and prevent running into the problem of being hangry.
Just don't try to take fresh fruit or veg through security, as that's where you may have some issues.
2 Long Layovers Can Be Very Boring
Often, waiting in an airport can be due to a layover. Don't rely on the airport having entertainment, as most don't — make sure you have a book and that any electronics you intend to use are fully charged. Preparing in advance can save you a lot in this situation, because otherwise you might be forced to sit there for hours staring into space.
Also, research the airport! Some airports even have sleeping pods.
1 Transport Can Be Hard To Find
You may be relying on a shuttle at the other side, but sometimes, it doesn't show — or sometimes, you can't find it. Stay calm and ask for directions but if possible, always make sure you carry a little cash in the local currency in case worst comes to worst and you have to jump in a taxi. Also make sure you have the address of where you're staying written down for this exact reason.