If you traveled recently, you know that the airport experience is a time consuming, sometimes exhausting experience. You have to arrive 2-3 hours before your flight. You have to find a parking space, uber, or a ride. You have to pay additional fees to check your bags. You have to stand in a long security line and take off your shoes and remove all your electronics and toiletries. And then you have to wait at a crowded gate and wait for your boarding number to be called. Hopefully, you’re not last. If you are a frequent traveler it might me time to upgrade your airport experiences. Here are some options.
Parking: Consider using the Valet. Drive right up to the front door of the airport where someone will take your bags for you and park your vehicle. And while you’re away, ask them to wash your car, or have the state inspection done.. It’s all fair game.
Average cost: $35.00 per day
Security: As I mentioned before, the security line at the airport can be the most time-consuming. I’ve waited up to 45 minutes in an airport security line. This can be even worse if you are traveling on a holiday or weekend. With a Known Traveler Number you are background checked and then interviewed at the airport. From that point forward you head to the TSA pre-check line and you are expedited through security. You can obtain a KTN with TSA precheck or Global Entry which gets you expedited through customs upon your return to the Country.
Costs: TSA precheck $85.00 for 5 years. Global Entry $100.00 for 5 years
Airport lounge: Looking to relax in a lounge instead of at the crowed gate: Why not try an airport lounge? A membership with priority pass gets you either discounted or free entry to airport lounges nationwide. Some lounges give you a private room, others offer free food and alcohol. You are notified when your flight starts to board.
Cost: $99.00 a year for discounted entry. $249 a year for free entry.
Credit Cards: Many credit cards offer several travel benefits. Airline credit cards are a great option. Whatever airline you use the most, take a look at the credit card benefits for that airline. For me, it’s American airlines. With their card, I get a free checked bag for myself and my travel party. We also get priority boarding so we are one of the first on the plane. Other cards like American Express pay for your Global Entry fees, your priority pass membership, and membership to wifi hotspot providers. Remember to use credit cards wisely and pay your balance off at the end of the month to avoid interest.
If you are a traveler that uses all of these options here is what your experience would look like. You would drive up to the front door of the airport. Someone would collect your bags and park your car. You’d hand in your free checked bag and breeze through the security line without removing your shoes or electronics. From there you’d relax in a comfortable lounge and have a bite to eat. When you are alerted that your flight is ready to board, you’d walk to your gate and be among the first to board. You’d have your pick of overhead compartment space. When you return home, your car will be waiting for you to just get in and drive off.
Sounds nice right?