airportI am a frequent flier, and I am always watching people run through the airport, in danger of missing their flight. With airlines cutting back on flights, it can be difficult to get on the next flight – so it’s even more important to keep yourself on schedule. Here are five things you should do to make sure you don’t miss your flight!

Leave for the Airport With Plenty of Time
I know this one sounds like a no-brainer, but sometimes in an effort to get more sleep, travelers really cut it close. Before you leave, think about how much traffic you are likely to encounter, and how busy the airport will be. Build in extra time in case there’s an accident, or other unexpected traffic.

Checking a Bag?
Plan for Lines With most airlines charging for checked bags, lines to check bags are generally not too long. But, if you are flying on an airline that doesn’t charge – such as JetBlue and Southwest, you are likely to encounter a line.

Fly Through Security
Security is often the largest bottleneck you’ll find when you fly, but there are ways to minimize your wait. First, make sure you are entirely prepared for the latest rules by checking the TSA website in advance. Try to avoid wearing heavy jewelry and belt buckles, because you’ll only have to take them off. Also keep the items you’ll need to show separately, like your liquids bag and your laptop, separate and easy to access. If you are traveling by yourself, you can also save time at some airports by going through the “Expert Traveler” line, which generally is shorter and moves more quickly.

Check Your Gate Frequently
I can’t even tell you the number of times I’ve seen someone miss their flight because they are sitting at the wrong gate. Do not trust the boarding pass you printed the day before. Check the terminals in the airport when you arrive at the airport, and again once you pass through security. Then, pay attention to the announcements once you are seated at your gate. If you travel frequently, Trip It Pro may be a good investment because it keeps you updated via text on your flight, including your gate.

Know Your Departure Airport
Some airports can take longer to navigate than others. For instance, Orlando International Airport always has a long line to get through security, and has a tram to get to the gates. I always know to arrive at that airport with even more time because it takes so long to get through it.

Do you have other tips?

Photo credit: Indywriter on Flickr