Want to sail smoothly through the airport? Stop doing stupid things. What's that? Oh, you're a pro when traveling, and it's the other fliers who're the impediment; in that case, share this with your high-flying friends, and we can all learn together.
6. Believing the gate agent
There's a chance that the last time you flew and were delayed by no fault of your own, your airline owed you more than just a later seat -- according to the DOT, if you're bumped from a flight and stranded for more than two hours/ domestic or four hours/ international, your airline owes you cash. They'll shell out four times the cost of a one-way ticket, up to $1,300. But, you've gotta ask for it... no gate agent worth her kerchief's going to offer the info. Know your rights, son.
5. Walking around, dead, in search of an elusive socket
The sheer number of travelers using their devices at airports slows down cell service in general, which drains battery power. On top of that, there's a serious lack of outlets at airports. Be smart and invest in a rechargeable case or external battery pack for your phone, because if you show up with only two bars, you're almost certain to be delayed until further notice.
4. Flying peak-hour
Travelers don't seem to grasp the convenience of flying off-peak (generally early mornings, late nights, Saturdays, and Wednesdays). Not only are ticket prices generally cheaper, planes'll be less jammed, security lines shorter, drop-off/ pick-up areas less congested, and airport traffic way down. Sure, the 6a flight means an unholy wake-up, but you'll be far better off for the journey.
3. Eating your way through a delay
Carbs and sugar alleviate stress, and airports stress people out, so travelers are magnetically pulled towards brightly-lit, woefully unhealthy food courts. So, while it may feel good to wolf down a day's worth of calories in 20min, remember how much smaller your seat'll feel after an airport meal. Apps like GateGuru identify the healthiest options near your boarding gate, so you won't have to pay for two seats on the plane.
2. Not being loyal to an alliance
The benefits of a few select frequent flier programs speak for themselves (better seats, first boarding groups, no luggage check-in fees), and travelers also get better service, thanks to their loyalty. It's tit-for-tat backscratching. When the weather up north goes south, members are the last to be bumped, the first to be helped, and if you become super elite with a particular airline you'll have access to extreme perks (like Ferrari rides between Delta terminals in Atlanta, private VIP security and lounges on British Air in London, and more).
1. Not using Global Entry
Infrequent international travelers often think it's not worth paying a hundy to join the TSA's Global Entry program. That's because they don't realize Global Entry members are also eligible for TSA PreCheck, and can zip through domestic security checkpoints as well. Next time you face that endless security line, look to the side where (at most airports) you'll see an empty row reserved for PreCheckers. They don't have to take out laptop and liquids, or take off shoes and belts. Keep your pants on, man, there's more -- when you do make those international trips, there's no line at customs upon your return. None! And if you've got an airline credit card (per above), PreCheck may even be free.