If you are traveling from UK airports this summer, you may be feeling a little anxious about the current chaotic situation. The news is full of images of ridiculously long lines and stories of travelers missing their flights due to long delays. Some people are waiting for hours to get their bags, and flights are being canceled left, right, and center.
But I’m here to give you some reassurance that there’s always bad stuff in the news. I flew several times this summer and it was very comfortable! Yes, there has always been a line, but there is always a line!
So don’t stress out about the idea of flying this summer. It’s probably okay.
Here are some tips to help you survive the chaos at UK airports this summer and start your holiday on the right foot!
1. Try to book early morning flights
If possible, book your flight as early as possible. Waking up at 4am for the first flight of the day can be exhausting, but you’re unlikely to experience any delays or disruptions.
The last flight of the day is also likely to be cancelled, so try to avoid it.
2. Travel with just hand luggage
I know it’s not always possible, but in many situations you’ll probably be able to travel with just a small carry-on case.
This week I created a reel on how to pack two weeks worth of clothes into a small under-seat bag!
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post shared by Monica | Travel Blogger (@thetravelhack)
If you only have a carry-on, you don’t have to check your suitcase (which can take hours) or worry about losing your bag or waiting for your luggage on the other side.
However, I have to say that I have traveled with Jet2 on my last two vacations and checking in my luggage was easy and really fast.
There are many tips for traveling with hand luggage:
Use vacuum packs to save space in your luggage when traveling
Is it worth packing cubes?
Best small carry-ons and packing tips
How to pack for a week-long trip using only hand luggage
3. Don’t arrive too early
One reason for unusually long lines at airports is that people are arriving well before their flights depart. We understand that everyone wants to stay organized and not miss their flight, but having too many people in each terminal creates a lot of problems.
4. Listen out for updates to skip the queue
If you’re in line for security, be sure to listen for updates that direct those on a particular flight to the front of the line.
If a flight is about to depart, there will often be an announcement welcoming those on the plane to the front of the line.
Don’t panic about this. Seems pretty normal at the moment.
I wouldn’t count on this to happen and arrive late hoping to be ushered in, but it could happen if your flight is leaving soon.
5. Let staff know if your flight is leaving soon
If you don’t hear any announcements and you’re worried that your flight is about to depart and you’re stuck in the security line, be sure to let someone know. They will either bring you forward or reassure you that you have plenty of time.
6. Don’t get held up at security by having prohibited items in your hand luggage
Below is a list of items that are not allowed on board (see Prohibited Items). Do not put these in your luggage. If you don’t, you’ll almost certainly be late.
commonly caught items include cigarette lighters, liquids larger than 100ml, liquids that are not in small plastic bags (like lip balm at the bottom of your bag!), and safety razor blades.
Remember, a liquid is basically anything that can be spread. Not just drinks and shampoo!
In fact, razors can be carried in carry-on luggage, but they cannot be used as safety razors.
There are other items you can bring in your carry-on baggage, but you’ll need to remove them from your bag as you go through the scanner. If you do not remove them from your baggage, you will have to go through a baggage check and may be subject to further delays.
Here’s what you need to take out when going through security:
All liquids, balms, lotions, gels, jams, etc. (liquids must be in one small plastic bag)
Many electronic devices such as laptops, cameras, hair styling equipment, etc
Baby food and infant milk
If you are unsure whether to take it out of the bag, do so immediately. It’s faster and easier to delete! We also have staff on hand to assist you if you need it.
It is also important to keep your bag organized. I once had my bag inspected because it was packed in a disorderly manner!
I put everything I need to take out of my carry-on in a canvas shopping bag so it’s easily accessible from my carry-on case. This means you won’t have to dig around in your bag looking for something you need to get out.
7. Don’t rely on getting food and drinks at the airport
I highly recommend bringing your own lunch or snacks to the airport, as the lines for food have been huge lately. A few weeks ago I queued for over an hour just to buy a coffee at Manchester Airport.
Food on planes is also in short supply, so don’t rely on food and drink availability at the airport or on the plane.
If you leave without breakfast on an early flight, your flight is delayed by an hour or two, and you end up on a long flight, you could end up going the entire day without eating!
This is especially important when traveling with children. Because if your kids are like me, they can’t go long without being fed!
You won’t be able to take things like yogurt, jelly, or soup through security, so keep it simple with sandwiches, fruit, and prepackaged snacks.
although you are not allowed to bring in more than 100ml of drinks at airport security checkpoints, most airports have drinking fountains where you can refill your water bottle, so don’t forget your water bottle!
We also recommend mini cordial bottles. Last time I went to Manchester Airport, the water in the fountain was a bit warm and tasted weird, so I wish I had brought a hearty drink with me!
8. Download an airport map in case you’re running late
There are several apps you can download for airport maps and navigation. Personally, I’ve found that simply searching for the airport and terminal on Google gives the best results, as many of the apps are inaccurate.
Before boarding, you can instantly check your gate location, the nearest restroom, and the shops you want to visit. It may seem a bit overkill, but it will save you a lot of time if you are in a hurry!
9. Keep the live departure information on your phone
Most airports have live departure information that you can access from your mobile phone.
This information is also displayed on screens around the airport, but it’s useful if you’re not near a screen and need to make a mad dash to your departure gate!
10. Have a good insurance policy
Travel insurance can feel like a bit of a minefield, as policies can be long and confusing.
This year I purchased my annual family travel insurance with Cedar Tree.
We chose Cedar Tree because of their easy-to-understand Covid compensation policy. All of their policies cover Covid as standard. If you contract coronavirus while on holiday, you could be entitled to up to £15 million in costs.
“We include cover for cancellations due to contracting coronavirus* and being unable to travel or required to self-isolate, subject to a doctor’s note or official test result. It also includes compensation for work reduction due to the death of a close family member due to coronavirus.”
You may also be entitled to up to £5,000 if your holiday is cancelled, or if you have to give up part of your holiday due to delays or cancellations.
This is especially important if you are booking a holiday on its own and not as part of a package holiday. If you don’t have the right insurance or book a package holiday, if your flight is canceled or significantly delayed, you won’t be able to get your accommodation back and it won’t be worth the trip holiday.
Read more: Cedar Tree: Travel insurance that covers COVID-19 and cancellations.