Planning a trip, whether for fun or business, anytime soon? Today we have a post from Chris Weber, Associate Director of Career Advising & Corporate Outreach with the Parker Career Management Center, and also a UCLA Anderson alumnus from the Class of 2009, with some tips on getting in and out of airports expeditiously. Hopefully these will come in handy on your next visit to Los Angeles and UCLA!
I genuinely love airports and most everything about them. What I don’t love is the time suck all the getting to and from them can be. Here are some tips to help you minimize your airport time:
- Consider Flying Into and Out of Less Busy Airports – BUR, SJC and OAK tend to have much shorter waits, and are great alternatives to LAX and SFO if you can make them work with your schedule.
- Only Bring a Carry-on Bag – Unless it is absolutely necessary (ex. you are doing a lot of travel and will not be home for two weeks), NEVER check a bag for four reasons:
- You will be mocked by your co-workers if you can’t pack three/four days of clothes in a carry-on bag.
- The airlines will lose your bag. On purpose. Because they can.
- Waiting for your bag after a long flight home is the WOAT (Worst of All Time).
- Avoid the Cab Line at All Costs – on Thursday nights, the cab line at LAX could be as long as an hour. Some options for avoiding it include:
- Uber/Lyft – If your firm will pay for Uber and Lyft, awesome! The key is to hail them the moment you are de-boarding the plane and calling them to find out where they recommend that you meet them.
- Find your Favorite Cabbie – You could also find a cab driver that you can call directly to pick you up at set times. That works pretty well for both going to and coming from the airport.
- Sign up for TSA Pre(Check) – Visit TSA's pre-check website for details on how to sign up for this program that allows frequent fliers to occasionally move through airport screening quite quickly. After you meet some basic requirements, it allows you shorter lines, and no taking out allowable liquids, taking off your shoes or belt, or taking out your laptop – it’s pretty awesome. It doesn’t work at every airport, but it does at LAX and most major hubs, which is crucial.
- Sign up for Global Entry – Global Entry is more for folks who travel internationally a lot or want to get TSA PreCheck without waiting to be invited by your carrier of choice. It provides the same TSA PreCheck benefit and the benefit of moving quickly through immigration at most US hubs, but it’s a little more costly and valid for only 5 years; however, I definitely think it is worth it. Additionally, if you gain higher status levels on some of the major carriers (ex. United), they will pay for your Global Entry fee.
- Follow the TSA Rules – while flying through MIA, I stood in the miles long TSA screening line and heard the same ‘Take off your shoes and belt off; take everything out of your pockets; etc.’ messaging at least a thousand times before finally getting to the X-Ray machine. Sure enough, the guy in front of me still thought it was okay to be carrying a longbow with him through the checkpoint. The TSA agent, naturally confused by why someone would be carrying a longbow with him, shouted ‘Hey, this isn’t the Hunger Games!’ I laughed and then may have muttered under my breath that sometimes it felt like it was… conveniently, I was selected for extra screening that day. Moral of the story – follow TSA’s rules and watch your mouth because this is NOT the Hunger Games.
- Chris Weber '09 - follow me on Twitter
Do you have any travel tips to share with our readers? Post them in the comments below!