The opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games kicks off in a few hours and that means London is bracing itself with an influx of millions of spectators. If you’re one of the lucky tourists flying in for the games, be aware that you’re not the only one. London airports are shuttling in loads of tourists and the crowds are sure to cause some airline mishaps.
That is why I wanted to lend some tips to all of the Americans traveling to London about how to manage the inevitable airline mayhem.
How to speed through security
U.S. airport security is sure to be backed up due to the increased number of people flying abroad. If you want to help keep the security line moving, here are my suggestions.
- Have your passport and boarding pass out and ready to give to security officers.
- Pre-pack your liquids in a quart sized bag and have them ready for inspection.
- Don’t wear metal to reduce your chances of being patted down.
- Wear easy-off and easy-on shoes.
- Place your electronic devices in the bins for easy scanning.
- Take your items away from the security line before putting them back on, in order to keep the line moving.
For more information on maneuvering airport security, flip to my blog post on how to navigate TSA security.
What to do if your flight is canceled
Cancellations are common, especially when there is a high volume of traffic going to one location. Know that this is a possibility, and be prepared to act if necessary. Here’s my advice for what to do if your flight is canceled.
- Immediately attempt to book a seat on another airline, either online or through the airline’s toll free numbers.
- Check in at the new airline’s counter with your new reservation number to ensure you’ll make it on the flight.
- If the new airline attempts to charge you extreme fees, try to negotiate with them and know that the associates behind the counter have more wiggle-room than they let on.
- If you can’t book a flight for that day, immediately book a hotel room and then start looking for flights leaving the next day.
- Remember to stay calm and be pleasant towards the airline employees who are trying to help you. They’re far more likely to help if you’re easy to work with.
For more information on how to handle a canceled flight, hop over to my blog post on what to do if you’re stranded in the airport.
How to fly through customs
With the influx of people in the country, assume passing through customs will not be easy. Here are my tips for maneuvering a customs traffic jam.
- Make sure to follow the green exit channel designated for non-E.U. citizens. The blue channel, although typically shorter, is designated for E.U. citizens only.
- Bring a good book or some other form of entertainment to keep you occupied while waiting in the customs line.
- Fill out your customs card before meeting with border control.
- Have your passport out and ready for inspection. Also, make sure to take off sunglasses or hats, so that border control can easily verify your passport picture.
- Know the name and address of the place you’re staying, how long you will be in London, and what you plan on doing while you’re there. Most of the time, the border staff will ask you these questions before letting you into the country.
By following these easy tips, you’ll be sure to make it through Olympic air traffic as quickly as possible. Although the mayhem might be frustrating, just remember to keep calm and carry on — you’ll be sure to have a fantastic Olympic experience.