10 Things You Shouldn’t Do at the Airport

5 min read
Not At Airport

Here are a few things you should avoid doing at the airport to make your trip go a little better.

10. Don’t Be Late

Dont Be Late
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A commercial pilot told Reader’s Digest that it’s extremely important to be on time when it comes to air travel. Showing up late may mean you missing your flight or making the travel experience worse for the flight crew as well as the other passengers, particularly if you are asking airport security to let you skip the security line because you’re about to miss your flight.

TIP: The security line will be significantly longer during the holiday season, so make sure you arrive extra early.

9. Avoid Using Products Containing Glycerin

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You’ll want to avoid bathing in or moisturizing with products containing glycerin because this compound, which is a key component in the explosive nitroglycerin, can trigger a false positive when airport security uses Explosive Trace Detection (ETD) equipment to search for bombs. This can cause you to become delayed and possibly miss your flight since security agents will need to detain you for questioning.

Prescription medicines can also trigger an airport’s explosive detection scanner. That’s because many medications contain glycerin. For example, people who have coronary artery disease take nitroglycerin pills to treat and/or prevent angina, a.k.a. chest pain.

8. Don’t Forget Your Food

Bagged Lunch
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When it comes to airline food, you’re better off bringing your own or loading up on healthy foods before the flight. There’s a couple of reasons why: 1) airline food contains lots of sodium and can make dehydration (we address that below) when flying much worse, and 2) you need to be careful what you eat while flying. It’s best to eat light and healthy while in flight. That’s because fatty foods can make you feel uncomfortable, especially when you’re trying to catch some Z’s. It’s also best to bring your own food and snacks to avoid food-borne illnesses. This should especially be taken into consideration on flights that originate in countries with poor hygiene standards.

7. Don’t Forget to Drink

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Water, that is. Airplane cabins have low humidity, and you can easily get dehydrated or end up with a bladder infection or cystitis if you don’t drink plenty of water. According to The Cheat Sheet, the Aerospace Medical Association says you should drink about eight ounces of water every hour you’re in the air. On that note, you should avoid drinking alcohol. Not only can it make you further dehydrated, but it can affect your ability to navigate the airport, pay attention to last-minute changes, and make it to your flight on time, especially if you’re drunk. What’s more is that you might not even be allowed to board the flight at all if you show up inebriated.

6. Don’t Lose Your Cool

Keep Calm
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Avoid losing your temper with the slowpoke in front of you as well as with the members of your family. Tensions can run high in a fast-paced environment such as an airport, and taking your frustrations out on others, especially the TSA agents who are inspecting your bags, will just make things worse. “A tremendous amount of stress happens because we have expectations [about flying] that are unrealistically high,” Fast Company said, according to Reader’s Digest. What you need to keep in mind is that many airports are overcrowded and understaffed, so you might not get the experience you were hoping for. So, just try to be patient and come to the understanding that flying isn’t as glamorous as most people think it is.

5. Don’t Go to Sleep

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Unless, of course, you actually want to miss your flight. Because that’s exactly what will happen if you think you’ll just close your eyes for a few minutes to take a quick nap. That quick nap can quickly turn into an all-day snooze fest. Yes, we know flights get delayed due to weather or some other unforeseen circumstances, but you’d better grab a cup of coffee instead. Here’s something else: Not only will you miss your flight, you also put yourself at risk of getting robbed. “Sleeping in airports is a strictly at-your-own-risk activity,” TripSavvy said in an article published on its website. “It is something that few people would recommend outside of extenuating circumstances. By choosing this somewhat risky option, questions of safety, lawfulness, and comfort will undoubtedly come to mind, and there are many airports that will not only be uncomfortable, but downright dangerous.”

TIP: Wait until you get on the plane before taking a nap.

4. Don’t Have Important Documents Packed Away

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Make sure you have your passport, boarding pass, government issued ID and other important documents handy when coming up to airport security checkpoints. “Without those documents ready to go, you may be sent to the end of the line to wait again, though most of the time you’ll be allowed to stand to the side to find them,” travel advocacy group Travelers United said in an article published on its website.

FYI, beginning October 1, 2020, all U.S. citizens and residents will be required to have a Real ID-compliant government issued ID to fly. A regular driver’s license will no longer do.

3. Don’t Ignore the Rules

Know The Rules
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Rules exist for a reason, and ignoring them will only make you a target. That said, if you’re unsure of what items are permitted and which are prohibited, refer to the TSA’s website–else you just might have your bags hand-checked and end up subjecting yourself to a possible pat-down. And, make sure you follow the security agents’ instructions to a tee. “The fastest route to a delay and problems at security is to ignore security agent instructions,” Travelers United says. Still, “following these tips won’t guarantee you’ll never endure delays or difficulties at airport security, but they’ll generally make negotiating checkpoints easier and faster.”

2. Don’t Forget to Empty Your Pockets

Empty Pockets
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If you want to move through airport security lines as quickly as possible, you’ll need to make sure your pockets are completely empty. That means taking out all coins, cell phones and other belongings that could possibly set off the metal detectors. It’s important to note that these items can cause problems with full body scanners as well.

FYI, this rule of thumb applies no matter what line you’re in–whether it’s the TSA Precheck line, another countries’ expedited security lines, or standard security lines.

1. Don’t Leave Your Electronic Devices at Security

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Did you know that about 12,000 electronic devices are left behind at airports each week?! That’s according to NBC’s WBMF News. Most TSA security checkpoints require electronic devices like tablets and laptops to be placed in a separate bin, and, unfortunately, quite a few travelers forget to pick them back up.

TIP: If you’re the forgetful type, you may want to apply for TSA Precheck instead. Passengers who use the Precheck line are allowed to keep their tablets and laptops in their carry-on bags.


For more travel tips, check out these hacks on how to make air travel more enjoyable as well as the ten things you should never do when staying at a hotel. Thanks for reading, and happy travels!