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When there's chaos at airports: What to know for travel

When you travel by air, whether for work or pleasure, you often do not know what to expect at the airport. Sometimes, your trail goes smoothly and you get through security in less than 30 minutes.
At other times, you’re glad you arrived two hours early because it takes three quarters of that time to get from your car to the gate. When airports are particularly busy and chaotic, it’s vital to plan ahead.

Recent events show the need for preparation

Chaos erupted when, at the end of January, Donald Trump and his Cabinet ordered a temporary travel ban on seven nations that have Muslim majorities. As a result, airports all over the US scrambled to maintain operations amid strikes and picketing in their lobbies and entries.

Airport disruptions caused more than 200 flights to be cancelled and more than 100 people to be detained, some of them overnight. TSA struggled to contain crowds, and lines were longer than they had been in years.

In the weeks since, the panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Court has upheld a lower court hold on the travel ban and refused to reinstate it, and opined that it could ultimately be ruled unconstitutional. But the chaos hasn’t simply disappeared. Extra detainment and longer lines through security have remained.

Difficulties at the airport aren’t exactly new. Last year around the same time, protestors led riots against TSA over extreme wait times and ostensibly unjustified detentions in US airports. The agency was accused of racial profiling and unjustified treatment of minorities.

Security lines grew and some delays lasted more than three hours, which caused ticketed passengers to miss flights. Both passengers and airlines were furious and unhappy about the situation.

Being prepared at the airport

These problems highlight the wisdom of being prepared in advance for travel, especially for business trips. Missing meetings elsewhere in the country because you didn’t take the proper precautions before travel isn’t the greatest excuse.

To limit your hassles and ensure smooth travel, here are some suggestions for how to prepare:

Arrive early

As a general rule, anyone flying out of an international airport should arrive at least two hours before the scheduled flight departure. If you’re travelling during the busiest time of the day, or you’re aware of delays due to government regulation, however, three hours before your flight is preferable.

Check TSA compliance rules before leaving home

This could save you a lot of time and hassle. TSA has a list of compliance rules on its website: items such as limits on liquids, the size of your carry-on bag, prohibited objects, and such. If you pack your bags with these rules in mind, you’re less likely to experience a delay.

Ask someone to drop you off

Parking is available for a fee, of course, but having to use airport parking only adds to your time before the flight. It’s often difficult to find an available space, and the shuttle to the terminal may be slower than you anticipate. You also risk getting lost as you navigate sections in the parking lot and try to remember which terminal is yours.

Having someone drop you off is much easier. Besides, you’ll save the extra fee for parking.

Book travel arrangements ahead of time

Stress levels can run high when the airport is busy. Remove some of the responsibilities from your plate and your arrangements beyond the flight before you leave home.

Sites like make it easy to book a hotel anywhere, whether you’re travelling for luxury or business. You can also reserve your rental car or other transportation so it’s ready and waiting when you arrive.

Even if your pre-flight experience isn’t smooth, you can make sure everything is in order when you land.

Download your airline’s app

Most airlines have apps that make checking in easier than ever. You can download your boarding pass to your mobile device and use it to check in rather than a piece of paper.

You can also check your flight status and receive notifications of boarding times. These apps are designed to make the entire pre-flight experience more enjoyable and stress-free, even if there’s still chaos all around you.

22 Feb 2017 11:03


About Boris Dzhingarov

Boris Dzhingarov graduated UNWE with a major in marketing. He is the CEO of ESBO ltd brand mentioning agency. He writes for several online sites such as,,, Boris is the founder of and