14 airport hacks to make your next flight better
Contrary to the mindless quotes posted on Facebook and Tinder profiles, travel is in no way about the journey, but rather the destination. Surly gate attendants, moronic passengers, crap coffee -- you don't have to be Tom Hanks in The Terminal to know that flying can suck. And because we don’t all have the time and money to pull off using a first class ticket to eat for free for a year, some kind soul on Reddit reached out to airport workers to compile a handy list of how to make airline travel better.
So, straight from the horse’s mouth, here are 14 hacks that'll make any airport experience better.
1. Use any card to get free moviesAllegedly, swiping any card with a magnetic strip to pay for the TV in front of you will work, so long as there's no WiFi on the plane. So that Red Lobster gift card now gets you a lot more than just Cheddar Bay biscuits.
How it works: When there’s no connection to verify your card, the transaction is held until the plane lands. If you swipe while still on land, WiFi is usually not active yet. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 on repeat!
2. Roll back your computer's clock for more time on WiFiWhen life hands you lemons, make lemonade. When airports hand you an hour of Wifi, play the system and make two hours look like one by rolling back the system clock before the first hour is up.
3. Don't get into the line when your schedule changesIf your flight is cancelled or overbooked, following the herd to the gate attendants is like throwing gasoline on a fire sparked by frustration. Instead, just call the airline; the operator can do everything the gate agent can, and probably much sooner than for all those suckers waiting in line.
Or double dip: Call while in line. Then you'll be laughing at them while swigging $12 airport beers in no time.
4. Pay less for flights by booking impossible connectionsThis is obviously situational, but – at your own peril – book a cheap connecting flight you've got a snowball's chance in hell of making. Oh, you only had 10 minutes to connect in Philadelphia? The airline has to reschedule you.
If flights aren't sold out, you can tell the gate agent you won't make it even before you leave on the first flight, and possibly get rescheduled on a direct flight that would have been much more expensive otherwise. It's not quite hidden city ticketing, but it still carries some risk.
5. Pack a gunDO NOT PUT THIS IN A CARRY ON.
OK, now we've got that out of the way.... a few airport workers affirmed that packing an unloaded firearm or starter pistol in your checked luggage means the TSA won’t mess with it. Or you, for that matter.
Obviously, be sure to declare it, but once you do, watch your luggage get extra special treatment – apparently it’ll be handled extra carefully, won’t get lost, and will be the first on the carousel.
However, we REALLY don't recommend doing this without knowing the local legislation. If you happen to end up in a state with strict gun laws (like New York, California, Hawaii, and Illinois), you could end up going to jail.
6. Acquire shopping bags. Avoid overweight feesGo to any airport gift shop and ask for a big shopping bag. Then throw all your extra crap in there, and strut on board; since it looks like you just bought this stuff, airlines can’t charge you for an extra carry on.
Alternatively, look into whether buying a cheap new bag and checking it as a second bag ends up being cheaper than paying overweight fees. If so, do that.
Also: Why don't you know how to pack without going overweight?
7. BYO BoozeDon't spend your life savings on airplane alcohol: 50ml bottles of liquor are totally fine going through security, as long as they're sealed, contain less than 3oz of liquid, and fit into your 1qt bag.
However, try to be sneakier than that time you wanted to sneak booze onto a booze cruise in college, as it’s a violation of federal law to consume alcohol on a plane when it's not provided by flight attendants.
And hey, we even have in-flight craft cocktail recipes for when you do!
8. Pack a dense bag to fool the x-ray machinesPack things like textbooks, cords, and shoes, and you conceivably could sneak that favorite bottle of rosé of yours on board. The reason? The denser your bag, the less detailed the x-ray.
Still seems like a good way to get your hooch tossed in the trash, though.