Sixteen more airport and airplane travel hacks, tips and essentials to make flying easy. Back in February 2020, this was our last travel flight out of Canada to the United States. Flying for many years now, we’re still learning more helpful ways to make the airport and airplane experience better. In this article, I sprinkled reminder tips and tips that will save you when at airport security!
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Before the airport
#1 - Take a picture of your boarding pass
Take a picture of your electronic boarding pass to have on your phone, so you don’t have to access wifi or internet at the airport and don’t have to print a physical ticket. Do this prior to going to the airport.
Reminder tip: If you don’t have your gate number on your boarding pass, don’t forget to check the electronic departures board at the airport for your flight number and destination to verify your departure gate. Keep verifying as you get towards your gate. This happened to us throughout our trip to Texas and home.
#2 - Comply with CATSA and TSA restrictions
I heard a lady brought through security three bags of liquids and wanted all of them to go with her. Don’t do this because it’s such a hassle at security and shows non-compliance.
CATSA in Canada and the TSA in the U.S.A. dictate restrictions that you must abide by for liquid, gel, aerosol, cream or paste items. These restrictions apply to toiletries such as toothpaste, hair conditioner, hair spray etc.
For Canada it’s a maximum 100 millitres (100 ml) or less per item to all fit into a one litre (1L) bag.
In the U.S.A. it’s a maximum of 3.4 ounces (100 ml) or less per item to all fit into a quart-sized bag.
Here are links to CATSA and TSA for updated information on these restrictions:
For ease of accessibility put your CATSA or TSA approved bag in your personal item bag as you’ll be required to put this in the security bins at security.
Reminder tip: Don’t forget to pick up an extra one to two approved CATSA bags at the airport for those living in Canada
#3 - Comply with baggage restrictions
Have the right carry-on dimensions per air carrier because not all overhead bins are big. We encountered bins that are small and tight, where you have to fit your carry-on horizontally length-wise. You can actually hurt yourself if you don’t put in or pull out your carry-on properly. My husband cut his thumb when he was putting our carry-on in the tight space of the overhead bin.
#4 - Go early to the airport
Make sure to come to the airport three hours early for international flights because sometimes the line to get through security can get very long.
At the airport
#5 - Check in at the counter
Check in at your air carrier’s counter when you arrive at the airport to avoid issues prior to boarding. For example, my husband and I didn’t check-in at the counter. After we got through security and near the time to board they called my husband and myself to check our passport at the counter near the gate. They called us because they didn’t check our passports earlier, which is important especially because we were going to another country.
Another example, I checked in at the electronic kiosk and it didn’t work as my first names got squished together, i.e. no spaces between the names. We went to the counter and the agent overrode this mistake and checked me in. For example, “JohnDoeJames”, where it’s supposed to be “John Doe James”.
#6 - Prepare for airport security
Reduce stress at security and get ready while in line or prior to getting close to the security conveyor belt.
Anything in your pockets put it into your personal item bag or jacket pocket with zippers.
Display and put out your electronics (cellphone and laptop), CATSA or TSA liquids bag, jacket, carry-on and personal item bag into the security bins.
You can put your cellphone and liquids bag on your jacket so it’s not on the dirty security bin.
Put the outside of your backpack face down into the security bin and not handles down, so that the handles are not dirty when you touch them.
Keep an eye on your items as they go through and out of the security detector as you don’t want your items stolen on the other side.
When traveling to the United States you typically have to take off your shoes at security. If possible, wear double socks going through security because you’re walking on the dirty floor. After security you can take off the first pair, so you have clean socks going in to your shoes. Fold the dirty sock inside out and throw them in your backpack for cleaning later.
#7 - Reusable double-walled water bottle
Especially travelling between Canada and the U.S.A. there’s a chance of finding water re-fill stations or water refills at airport fast food chains. A great way to spend less and waste less. Just need to be diligent and patient in finding them. Feel free to fill your bottle up once you pass security at the airport.
When travelling internationally, not everywhere around the world the water is potable at airports or have refill stations. When you purchase bottled water, a double-walled water bottle can keep your drinks hot or cold. If you want to purchase a double-walled water bottle, check the image and link below.
I watched on Inside Edition that you don’t want to drink the water offered on the planes as the water is pump through pipes that don’t get cleaned enough.
#8 - Get free electronic charging
Plug into free power outlets whenever you can at the airport and in the airplane. Save your power banks for times when you absolutely have no access to an electrical outlet.
Reminder tip: Don’t forget your USB C or USB chargers, plug, and headphones.
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#9 - Eat at the airport
Sometimes the selection of food on the airplane is limited and quite expensive. So try to eat at the airport, where you can get more variety in options. Also you can bring your extras onto your plane ride.
#10 - Get ready to board the plane
Prior to getting on the plane, I like to have a couple items ready in my jacket pocket for use. For example, lens wipes, anti-bacterial wipes, passport, gum and my cellphone.
In the airplane
#11 - Sanitize everything
Sanitize everything that is around you and what you’re sitting on. There are a few reports out there about what parts of the airplane are quite dirty.
To make it easier on your hands, I used gloves this time around when sanitizing (this is optional). I put the dirty sanitizing cloth back into the package. Then I folded the gloves inside out to re-use the next time. Don’t forget to sanitize your hands afterwards.
#12 - Accessibility to items you need
Items you need access to in the airport or in the airplane should be in your personal item bag at all times. Your carry-on luggage should be non-essential items and will go up in the overhead bin.
Reminder tip: Don’t forget to put your personal item in a bag. For my backpack I flipped it upside down to make it easier to put it into the bag.
#13 - Alert the stewardess
Make sure that you tell the stewardess that there is no toilet paper or hand towels in the washroom as soon as possible as they maybe too busy to check to refill it. By the time I went into the washroom there was only one roll of toilet paper left and no hand towels.
#14 - Head phone jack splitter
The headphone jack splitter came in handy, when the headphone jack on my chair was making the audio very warbly and unreliable. My husband and I shared a headphone jack and splitter, so we both could watch the same movie together. Reason being is that the headphone jack on my husband’s chair worked better than mine. If you want to purchase a head phone jack splitter, check the image and link on the side.
#15 - Adjust your watch time
If you wear a watch, don’t forget to update it to the local time of your transiting or destination city.
After the airplane
#16 - Shampoo hair twice
Shampoo your hair twice after being on the airplane to get rid of the smell of the airplane because some planes can get a little smelly.