Saving time at an airport: 5 top tips!

One of the biggest downsides to travelling is the time you spend in airports standing in queues and waiting at your gate. Here’s 5 top tips for saving time at an airport:

Airport Security

One of the best ways you can save time is by making sure anything you have to take out of your bag to go through security is already at the very top of your bag and not in a case. You can also make sure you aren’t wearing any belts, watches or heavy boots (which all have to be removed to go through security). Remember to wear nice socks in case you have to take your shoes off!

It might not always work out but, some say that the line with more security officers checking your carry-on luggage and metal detector likely means someone is being trained, which could hold you up. Another tip is to have a look at what kind of people are in each line before picking one. People on business trips and adults in small groups will move faster than the queue with children and a hen party.

Know the Airport

Some airports include a map on their website, with detailed diagrams of where every gate, restaurant and shop is. Think about how much time you usually waste at an airport looking for things in the labyrinth of airport corridors. Already knowing exactly how to get to your gate could also be a lifesaver if you’re running late!

A map of Gatwick Airport:

A woman wearing an orange jumper stands in front of an airport departure board with a boarding pass in her hand and a bag over her arm.
Airport Departures Board

Don’t get held up!

Some countries make it a standard policy to question each arrival about why they are in the country and the worst thing you can say is ‘I’m here to work.’ You might be on a business trip but they often take this to mean that you are planning on staying indefinitely and getting a job there. It’s better to be specific about your business trip, for example ‘Meeting with some clients.’ or ‘Attending some trade shows.’ 

It’s also a good idea to carry any documents that prove this, proof you can afford your trip, proof you already have a job in your country and any other relevant documents. It can also help if you are dressed smartly and are polite to them (they might hold you up just because you were rude). You might also get asked where you are going straight from the airport so having the name of your accommodation ready is a good idea.

A woman in a long cat walks outside of an airport, pulling luggage behind her.
Walking with luggage outside of an airport.


It’s always a good idea to weigh your luggage at home before your trip, to make sure you are within the weight limit and have some extra room for anything you might bring back from your trip. You might be at the check-in desk longer than most if your luggage is heavier than the limit. 

If you are only going for a few days or overnight you could skip this queue altogether by only bringing carry-on luggage and checking-in online.

More tips about packing your carry-on luggage:

Off-peak Flights

Booking your flight (or requesting it when booking with us) for an off-peak time usually means that the airport will be far less busy when you arrive. Off-peak times for prices can be different for each airline but in terms of how busy the airport will be, 10pm to 8am is usually the quietest time. Getting a flight at 3am comes with certain sacrifices, such as the airport shops and restaurants not often being open and you can say goodbye to a good night’s sleep, but if your main goal is to be as quickly through the airport as possible, you probably aren’t too worried about that.

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