I don’t know about you, but I would be happy spending my time pretty much anywhere other than waiting at an airport for a delayed flight or standing in long line-ups during my business travel. Even worse, is not being able to anticipate these issues, so you can either mentally prepare for them or avoid them all together.
Over the past few years, and in the absence of a crystal ball, I have been on a quest to make my frequent trips for business travel between Toronto and the US as painless as possible.
Have I succeeded in my quest, you ask? Mostly — unfortunately, you can never anticipate everything.
Here are my three top tips for fighting the ‘hurry up and wait’ airport phenomenon on your next business travel trip:
Sign Up for TripIt Pro
No need for a crystal ball when it comes to flight cancellations, delays or boarding gate changes; all you need is TripIt Pro. One of the features of this powerful travel itinerary tool is Mobile Flight Alerts. By signing up for mobile SMS alerts, you can stay updated on flight changes without a connection to a data network and without a connection to a Wi-Fi network. This allows you to work right up to the minute before you need to leave for the airport, if your flight is delayed you know about it right away. Sign up for the 30 day trial and see for yourself how great it is on your next business travel experience.
Monitor Security Screening Wait Times
Before you leave your home or hotel monitor the current security screening wait times. Sometimes you can’t avoid long lines, but at least this way you know what to expect. The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) mobile website publishes wait times for Canadian international airports; the wait times represent an average of the last ten-minute period of elapsed time. The website also includes FAQs and other pertinent traveller information which is good to scan once and awhile to see if protocol has changed. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) offers something similar for the US with their My TSA app. The interesting difference here is that My TSA gives passengers the ability to share their checkpoint wait time.
Join the NEXUS program
Custom lineups can add minutes, even hours, to the time you spend at an airport. If you frequently travel to the US join the NEXUS program. Your NEXUS card allows you to use automated self-serve custom kiosks at designated international airports as well as take advantage of the Trusted Traveller Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) Security Line at Canadian airports to expedite pre boarding security screening. The application is simple but may take a few months to complete, and the cost is $50 every 5 years. It is well worth the money and effort to get it for your business travel needs alone.
Best-laid plans can still go awry. If you do find yourself at the airport early and have a lot of time to wait for your flight, here are five productivity tips from a colleague of mine to help you stay busy and not stressed.