Airport check-in procedure can be a hassle if you're a frequent flyer and intimidating if you're not used to it. Extra security, long waits, long queues, combined with dull waiting areas. There are ways, however, to streamline the airport check-in process.
A few airport operators and several other companies offer deals on services like parking, hotels and access to airport lounges. The check-in procedure can be made a lot less troublesome if you are willing to take advantage of these services. If you have a basic grasp of technology, there are also ways to make checking in much faster and ensure you get a decent seat.
Parking is almost always cheaper if you book it early. For example, two weeks of parking at Gatwick South long-stay car park can be booked for £65.80, which is a saving of around £50 on the gate rate.
Valet, when booked in advance is also fairly reasonably priced. If you are traveling by train, then always check around before automatically booking them through the airport website.
Airport websites usually have good deals on hotels, but it's also worth checking out www.lastminute.com www.laterooms.com or www.superbreak.com. Consider, too, the location of the hotel and whether you are willing to pay a little extra to have your hotel adjacent to the terminal, which gives you more time to prepare for departure, or a little extra time in bed!
British Airways has a great, intuitive system that allows you to log-in, choose your seat, check in and print your boarding pass. At the airport, you can then take your bag to a fast-drop desk and go straight through security. You can also use the auto-check-in machines.
Other airlines offer similar services. Easyjet and Ryanair have the same services for passengers with carry-on luggage.
Security restrictions can make traveling with only hand luggage troublesome, but there are companies who will pick up your luggage two or three days in advance and ship them to destination for your arrival. This service costs around £60 one-way to Europe for an average suitcase.
Book A Lounge
Entrance usually costs about £20pp for three hours and it's best to book in case the lounge is full. Lounges usually come with free wifi, free soft drinks, snacks and newspapers. It's a more relaxing atmosphere than the usual waiting lounge.
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