I’ve done a lot of traveling in the last few years, but not all my trips have gone smoothly. In fact, some of the worst scenarios have happened at the very beginning of the trip – at the airport. In my defense, there’s a tendency to be lax and sloppy once you’ve been doing something for quite some time. You take things for granted and you’re a little less aware, a little less observant of rules and common practices.
To save you the trouble of missing your flight or the less worrisome situation of getting there too early, here are a few important things I’ve gleaned as an ~ occasional ~ airport slacker:
Get your military time straightened out.
It’s okay to admit that military time is confusing, that your basic mathematical skills aren’t always up to speed. Of course 17:25 is not 2:25, and yes, it’s such a bummer to be in the airport three whole hours before your flight – but people make mistakes. For those who still regularly get stumped, here’s a time-tested formula: If the time is beyond 12:00, just deduct 12 to get the equivalent hour in normal time. Ex: 17:25 – 12 = 5:25, NOT 2:25.
When deciding between breakfast and getting to your boarding gate early, choose the latter.
You’ll thank me later. Sure, you will be hungry and will be forced to buy the expensive airplane food. But at least you’re on the plane and not weeping pathetically in the tickets office while purchasing a new ticket that costs thousands more than the P80 adobo bread on the menu. #SilverLining
Know where your boarding gate is and stay close to it.
Have a good long glance at your ticket and make sure you get the letter and numbers right. Memorize it. Say it over and over again. Then check for the arrows on the signs above to know the gate’s general direction. Ask someone else if you’re not sure. Best to go there right away so you won’t need to run when they’re calling your name for final boarding repeatedly on the intercom. And speaking of final boarding…
“Sumimangot kayo kapag sakay niyo ha! Dapat mukha kayong na-hassle.”
A baggage handler had whispered this to me, smirking as he registered the panic and stress on my face. I had run from the other side of the airport upon hearing my name on the intercom; needless to say, I didn’t check beforehand where my gate would be (thus tip #3). So I accepted the advice as I zipped my bags and headed for the plane. Because really, who wants to see a couple of last-call boarders, whom you were grumpily waiting for, smiling and laughing as they took their seats? If you ever find yourself delaying the entire flight, at least make an effort to put on an apologetic face as a sign of respect to the waiting passengers.
If you’re below 18 years old and traveling alone, you need both parent’s permission and official documents from DSWD.
Make sure to secure these documents ahead of time or else you won’t be allowed to board the plane.
Stick to the baggage limit.
Read carefully through your check-in baggage allowance before leaving; do not make your own rules. Ex. Most individuals traveling in groups will insist that their baggage limit be combined, but some airports don’t allow this. If it says 10kg per person, it’s really 10kg per person.
With all that’s been said, it’s pretty safe to conclude that traveling responsibly could really spare you a massive amount of time, energy and, well, money. Happy long weekend, everyone! :)