The holidays, when millions of people take to the skies to visit friends and family, are the busiest time of the year at the nation’s airports. But long lines of people carrying too many bags can turn anticipation to anxiety, leaving many travelers wishing they were anywhere or doing anything else.
A survey conducted for NCR Corporation asked potential holiday travelers what other challenging and unpleasant tasks they would rather do than wait in line*. Thirty-five percent of respondents said they would prefer to shop, 24% said wrap gifts and 22% said they would rather clean up after the holiday dinner. Other responses included: sleeping on a sleeper sofa (18%), spending time with in-laws (17%), wearing holiday themed sweaters/outfits (10%), braving the mall to return gifts (10%) and listening to “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” again (9%).
For travelers heading to the nation’s airports this holiday season, NCR Travel Division Vice President and General Manager Tyler Craig offers several tips for making the experience easier and less stressful.
- Bulky winter items like coats, boots and sweaters will quickly fill up your carry on and spill over to a full-sized suitcase, requiring you to check a bag. Save some time by paying the extra bag fees online before you get to the airport.
- Security personnel will often ask you to unwrap wrapped presents in your carry-on, which will slow you and everyone else down. To eliminate this problem, consider shipping some or all of your gifts ahead of time. Or do last minute shopping at the airport, as many airports now offer a wide array of stores and many of those stores offer services that allow you to ship merchandise from the airport store directly to your destination.
- Save time and avoid check-in lines by checking in on your mobile device. An electronic boarding pass eliminates the need to keep track of a paper boarding pass, which you’re more likely to misplace in the holiday rush. When purchasing your ticket, check if your airline offers an app or mobile website that allows for mobile check-in and mobile boarding passes. This way you can avoid check-in lines at the airport and go right to security screening when you arrive.
- Consider applying for an airline-branded credit card. Many of these cards offer perks like a free checked bag or access to airline club rooms, which can be especially beneficial during the holidays when you’re traveling with a lot of items or looking to avoid the crowded terminals and gates.
- In advance of your trip, download maps to the airports from which you’ll be departing, connecting and arriving. These wayfinding apps can help you make the most of your time at the airport by helping you locate gates, ticket counters, shops and restaurants. These can be especially helpful when connecting through an unfamiliar airport, allowing you to make the most of your layover without worrying about getting lost and missing your connection.
For more tips on the travel experience, please visit the NCR Travel blog at http://blogs.ncr.com/travel/.* The online survey of 1,000 adults 18 years of age and older was conducted for NCR by ORC International. Survey respondents were able to select multiple answers.