The Most Annoying Airport Behaviors and How to Avoid Them

See recent posts by Megan Wood

Josh Hallett/Flickr

Josh Hallett/Flickr

Holiday travel is right around the corner, and the T.S.A. is already predicting record-breaking numbers. This Thanksgiving will see 25 million travelers -- a seven percent increase from the amount of people who flew last year. Although airports will be operating with extra agents and security lines to accommodate the additional flyers, there's no getting around it: Traveling during the holidays is stressful. That stress tends to bring out the worst in otherwise kind and rational people. But that doesn't mean you have to deal with annoying people or things at the airport. To help, we came up with a list of irritating airport behaviors and solutions for how to avoid them. Keep your eyes on the prize: There's turkey, pumpkin pie, and your loved ones on the other side.

Breaking Carry-On Rules

In an attempt to avoid luggage-related delays during the boarding process, airport agents check that your carry-on bag is compliant before you even get on the security line. Airline baggage fees have gotten out of control, especially on low-cost carriers like Spirit and Frontier, which even charge extra for carry-on bags. However, arguing with airline personnel at the airport isn’t going to accomplish anything other than stressing out fellow travelers. 

How to Avoid It: Double check what and how much luggage you’re allowed to bring onboard your specific airline before you get to the airport. 

Allowing Kids to Run Wild

Kids will be kids, and air travel is simultaneously exciting and boring for little ones — a perfect combination for naughty behavior like screaming, crying, running, and goofing around on the moving walkway. 

How to Avoid It: Parents, this is perhaps a good time for bribes, treats, toys, and screen time. Please attempt to keep your little ones under control, and definitely keep them safe. Travelers without kids, pack earplugs and remember that you were once a baby, but you’re not anymore, so be a patient adult. 

Hogging Outlets

At most domestic airports, outlets are still a rarity. There may only be one or two outlet towers at the gate for a few hundred people and their iPhones. We’ve all seen people squatting on the floor to access a random terminal outlet. 

How to Avoid It: If you’re worried about running out of juice on the road, invest in a portable charger and never squat to access an outlet again.

Being Clueless About T.S.A. Regulations

It’s 2018 and there’s no excuse for not being informed about what you can and can’t bring onboard an airplane. Trying to sneak (or being clueless that you can’t have) liquids, gels, powders, and aerosols over three ounces is just going to cause delays for everyone and make T.S.A. agents grumpy. 

How to Avoid It: Be a courteous flyer and pack according to T.S.A. regulations. Still not sure if you can bring something unusual? The T.S.A. can help with that via their responsive customer service platform

Moving Slow in the T.S.A. Line

Of course, families, the elderly, and people with limited mobility may move at a slower pace at the airport, and that is completely fine. But for everyone else, do not wait until the last second to remove your shoes, belts, metal, laptop, and toiletries. 

How to Avoid It: Consider signing up for expedited security programs like T.S.A. PreCheck or CLEAR. These lines move fast and allow passengers to keep their shoes on and their toiletries in their bags. 

Gate Spreading

You’ve finally slogged through security and have an entire hour to kill before your flight begins boarding. However, when you reach the gate, coffee lines are wrapped around the corner, every seat is filled with either a person or their suitcase (so rude), and a simple sandwich costs $16. Plus, Wi-Fi costs extra and everyone seems to be yelling into their phones to compete with the boarding announcements. Gates can be stressful places. 

How to Avoid It: Escape the gate almost entirely (you’ll still have to show up to board) by getting into a private lounge. Most lounges have ample seating, free drinks and snacks, free Wi-Fi, clean restrooms, and a quiet atmosphere. Some lounges even offer spa treatments and hot food buffets. Luckily, there’s more than one way to get into an airport lounge

Putting Wrapped Presents in Carry-On Luggage

Technically, wrapped gifts are allowed in carry-on luggage. But, if a T.S.A. agent decides something inside a beautifully wrapped box is suspicious, they’re going to open it and investigate. Not only does this take extra time, but it can also kill your holiday mood to watch a government official cut through ribbons and bows.

How to Avoid It: Don’t tempt fate by carrying on wrapped gifts. Ship wrapped presents through the mail, put them in a checked suitcase, or simply pack wrapping paper and do your wrapping once you arrive at your destination. 

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