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How to Navigate Going to the Airport in Today’s World

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Travelling today looks a lot different than it did several years ago, let alone right before the pandemic. With an airline staff shortage, almost 116,000 flights have been cancelled in 2022.

This means you’ll need to prepare when planning a trip. Here is what you need to know about navigating the airport in today’s world.

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Determine how much time you need

There’s always the question, ‘How early should I get to the airport?’ It’s a valid question, as there are a lot of factors that could determine the proper time frame.

If you live in Orlando, for example, traffic on I-4 is notorious for being extremely backed up. Parking your car means you may need to consider traffic along with shuttle transportation time. If you’re opting for car service in Orlando, you can easily save time by getting dropped off. 

Then there’s the question of baggage. If you’re only taking carry-ons, you can easily check in online. But if you’re checking baggage, you’ll need extra time for in-person check-in. The lines can be excruciating if you’re flying during prime time.

You also need to account for security lines. Always give yourself extra time at the airport. The worst-case scenario is you have to read a book or grab something to eat while you wait to board your flight. 

Have your boarding pass ready

In terms of checking in, most airlines opt for the online option through their app. It allows you to bypass the lines to obtain a printed ticket.

Occasionally, there are circumstances where you still need to go through in-person check-in. Airlines such as Spirit or Frontier that offer discounted flights are much stricter about their luggage carry-on policy than others. 

Most often, you’re able to do a mobile check-in twenty-four hours in advance. This will let you know if you need to see an attendant before going through security. Then you can adjust your travel time as needed.

Consider TSA PreCheck

In 2013, the US Transportation Security Administration began offering TSA PreCheck to US citizens. This allows you to bypass long security lines and go straight to your gate.

Wait times for those who choose TSA PreCheck have been around 5 minutes or less.

You no longer will have to remove your shoes, jackets, or liquids from your bag. It’s a simple 10-minute enrollment process you can do online.

Bring food with you

This might sound like something you’d only consider when travelling with children, but you should also consider it for yourself. Airport food and drinks are much more expensive than picking up snacks at the grocery store.

People often think that you’re not allowed to have food when you go through security. But the only thing you’re not allowed to have is liquids over 3.4 ounces. Food is acceptable depending on the country. 

Some countries prohibit certain fruits and vegetables when you go through customs. In the US, all solid food is allowed.

Prepare for delays or cancellations

The Covid pandemic has had a serious impact on airlines. With flight attendant and pilot shortages, more flights have been cancelled than usual. Because of this, it’s important to be prepared for your flight to be delayed or cancelled.

It’s always recommended to get traveller’s insurance. While it is an extra cost, it can alleviate a lot of financial stress if you have to rebook a flight for a later date.

Prepare for the flight

Some people have the luxury of being able to sleep on an aeroplane. For others, it’s a lot more difficult. There may be hints of anxiety while flying or the inability to get comfortable. Also, if you’re not on a bathroom friendly airline, try and get to the bathroom early on in the flight before a line builds up.

Always plan ahead. Create playlists and download them to your phone so you have music or podcasts to listen to during the flight. Streaming apps like Netflix and Hulu allow you to download content to your phone so you can enjoy a movie while having your phone on aeroplane mode.

You can also take this opportunity to read or get some work done on your computer, given you have access to WiFi during the flight. Whatever it is you need to make the journey more enjoyable, have it ready in your carry-on bag or backpack. 


Navigating the airport can feel overwhelming at first. It’s easy to overthink and over-prepare when it comes to taking a flight. Give yourself plenty of time before your flight to make the necessary preparations.

David Radar, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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