Passport, liquids and luggage
If you’re planning a holiday this summer, then you’ll no doubt have been keeping an eye on the chaotic scenes this half term as airports including Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and Gatwick being hit by huge queues and lengthy delays.
In anticipation of long waits, people have been – understandably – turning up to airports early, which has sometimes had the impact of making the lines for security even worse.
The good news is that there are ways to help put the odds in your favour, and ensuring you have as smooth of a journey as possible.
Small things like having your documents in order, checking your airline hand luggage rules and even just packing enough snacks should you face delays can all make a difference.
To ease any nerves you may have about tackling the UK’s currently tumultuous airport system, we’ve compiled a list of 10 pre-airport checks you should do ahead of your trip.
Have you got a travel story to tell? Email us at [email protected].
1. Check your visa requirements
The glory days of being able to travel to almost anywhere to Europe without need for a visa are soon to be over.
Some countries won’t let you in without a valid visa, so double check any requirements they may have before you leave to avoid an awkward conversation at border security.
2. Get travel insurance
As dull as it sounds, buying travel insurance can be the difference between a minor inconvenience abroad and a financially crippling incident.
Make sure to shop around online before you jet off as there are plenty of deals out there that may only set you back a few pounds.
It’s worth looking at policies that also cover you for Covid – this isn’t always automatic – and make sure you take your policy documents with you so that if anything does go wrong, you can easily access the numbers you need to call/check what you’re covered for.
3. Check the Covid entry rules
While the UK has eased its Covid requirements completely, some airlines require passengers to wear masks to certain destinations.
While some countries have scrapped Covid rules altogether, the majority still require you to have the likes of proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test to be able to enter.
Always check the latest Foreign Office travel advice for a destination before booking a trip or going abroad.
4. Get your toiletries in order
It is almost always worth heading to a large pharmacy and getting the essentials before you jet off, to avoid paying airport prices for the likes of sun cream, soap and tooth brush.
All liquids must be in 100ml or small bottles, unless you’re checking luggage into the hold. (There are some easy hacks to get around the 100ml rule in case you need them!).
Given the enormous size of queues at some airports at the moment, making sure your toiletries are in a clear plastic bag ahead of time is a good idea.
5. Check your passports
There have been countless stories of people being refused access to flights so far this year because their passports are no longer up-to-date due to new post-Brexit rules.
Your passport must be issued less than 10 years before the date you enter the country (check the ‘date of issue’), and valid for at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave (check the ‘expiry date’).
The sooner you know, the better chance you have or rearranging flights.
6. Don’t arrive too early
Airlines typically advise you to arrive two to three hours earlier than your flight, but amidst long queues people have been turning up as early as five hours ahead of departure. However, this can actually create more congestion.
We’ve got a guide to airlines’ best arrival times for passengers including TUI, easyJet and BA which you can find here.
7. Charge your phone
A great way to add to the stress of being in an airport is having 5 per cent of your battery left and no other way to access your boarding pass or vaccine certificates.
8. Get your carry-on luggage in order
A good way to save some money on a holiday is by skipping expensive onboard meals.
Why not pack a sandwich and fruit in your bag, or even a scratch card if you’re flying on Ryanair, to keep as many pennies as possible for the holiday itself.
9. Make copies of key documents
It’s always good practice to make copies of all your important travel documents, like your passport and driving licence, just in case your passport is lost on your travels.
10. Check the status of your flights
Airlines including easyJet and BA are cancelling flights left, right and centre at the moment, with many being scrapped at the last moment.
Make sure to check that your airline hasn’t cancelled your flight and forgotten to tell you before leaving the house.
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