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Before You Go / Packing
Consider traveling on alternate dates instead of peak travel days.

Fly early in the day. If your flight is delayed, you stand a better chance of getting on a flight that day and not have to stay overnight at the airport or at a hotel.

Depart and arrive at alternative airports - they might be less busy. These airports will have a more limited schedule of flights, so it is best to be flexible.

Check you carriers on-time performance record. You can do this by asking your travel agent or by looking at the airline's Web site.

Reconfirm your flight itinerary with your airline before departure and on every leg of your trip.

Have someone drive you to the airport. This will alleviate the stress of driving in traffic and trying to find parking at the airport.

Save time and embarrassment by traveling light. Pack your bags so that they can easily be opened and closed if they need to be hand-searched.

Consider packing a change of clothes in your carry-on, depending on how long the trip is and whether you have to make any connections. Having some clean underwear, a T-shirt, and a toothbrush and toothpaste will make you feel better if you get stuck overnight at the airport.

To save time, put metal items, such as keys and loose change in your carry-on bag, rather than in your pocket that you'll be asked to empty.

Avoid paying the airline's fee for a third bag by shipping it ahead of time (i.e. via Fed Ex, Airborne Express, etc.). This method can be quite cost effective if you allot ample time for the package to arrive before you get to your destination.

At The Airport / Checking In
Make sure you have a proper government-issued photo ID accessible. Along with your ID, keep your boarding pass, ticket and/or e-ticket itinerary handy.

Send presents ahead or check them in your luggage. The less you have to hold up the security check, the better. Also, there's no point in lugging an extra carry-on if you don't have to!

Eat before you fly. Many airlines are no longer serving food. Explore the food court or bring some non-perishable food, especially if traveling with kids.

At The Security Checkpoint
If you want to take gifts on board, carry them unwrapped. If gifts are wrapped, you will most likely be asked to unwrap them when you get to the security screening point.

Put your undeveloped rolls of film in your carry-on luggage. Certain x-ray machines now being used for check-in luggage have powerful rays that can damage film. Have your film hand checked when going through security to avoid it getting damaged.

Don't wear clothing with metal on it (i.e. a belt with a heavy metal buckle, jeans with metal buttonflies). These might set off the metal detector and you may be asked to remove them.

Even if you have already passed security, be prepared to have your bag searched again at the gate prior to boarding the plane.

Coping With Travel Delays
Don't stray too far from the gate if your flight is delayed. Your flight's plans and departure gates can change on you so that when you disappear for a piece of pizza, your flight can move to another side of the terminal!

Book through a travel agent, if your flight is delayed or canceled you can call them for assistance.

Be sure to have a charged cell phone. If your flight is canceled, call the airline while you wait in line at the counter in the airport. This will maximize time and service and get you on your way quicker.

If you're delayed, use the time to your advantage. Explore the airport and stretch your legs. Many airports have numerous shops to peruse, e-mail terminals, and gyms.

If you're delayed, use the time to your advantage. Read that book you've been meaning to. Explore the airport and stretch your legs before sitting on the plane. Many airports have numerous shops to peruse, e-mail terminals, and gyms. It is a great opportunity to get your shoes shined!


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