In the wake of last month’s U.K. terrorist bomb plot, all flights and airports around the world are feeling the strain of even more stringent safety procedures. Longer lines, security and ever-changing carry-on restrictions make traveling harder than ever-and many are less than eager to fly. Unfortunately, business often makes air travel unavoidable. The good news is, with a little preparation you can make your flying experience better.
Here are tips for getting you on your way as quickly and efficiently as possible:
- Be aware of what you can and cannot pack in carry-on and checked baggage. For example, liquids, gels and aerosols are still banned in carry-on luggage (with a few exemptions). An up-to-date list of permitted and prohibited items can be found at: CATSA-ACSTA.gc.ca. Electronic devices, such as laptops, cell phones and digital cameras can be packed in carry-on baggage, however, they will be screened or examined. Avoid needless delays by keeping them turned on.
- Protect your information. Even if you can carry your laptop in-flight, it’s a good idea to back up your data before you leave, says, Bill Margeson, president and CEO of Markham, Ont.-based CBL Data Recovery Technologies Inc. You should also use encryption software to block access to files. Both of these measures will save you time if lose your computer. If you are planning to check your laptop, he adds, ensure it’s in a proper case.
- Check with your airline or travel agent to determine how early you should arrive (recommended check-in times vary by airline and destination). Ensure you have valid government-issued photo ID, preferably a passport, regardless of your destination.
- Dress for travel. If you’re heading to the U.S., you’ll be asked to remove your shoes for screening, so wear footwear that can be removed easily. Remove your watch, empty your pockets, and put any possible metal items like coins and keys in one place to speed up the security process.
- If you usually travel with a large carry-on, you may be surprised at having to check that bag. Pack any essentials into a smaller bag that you can remove and carry with you.
- You may need to arrive earlier than ever for your flight, but it doesn’t need to be wasted time. Plan ahead and bring work that you can do while you wait.