Expert Airport Survival Tips
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Expert Airport Survival Tips

Want to get to your final destination faster? Savvy frequent fliers share their travel secrets.

Dress up! People wearing impressive clothes are treated better.” —Simon Doonan, Creative Director, Barneys New York

“Many major hubs like Dallas/Fort Worth have smart-phone apps: Download a map of your connecting airport and flight schedules for alternative routes.” —Rick Seaney, CEO of Farecompare

Buy the smallest carry-on bag you can—it’s just that much easier to lift onto the conveyor belt at security and fit into a crowded overhead bin.” —Janet Libert, editor-in-chief, Executive Travel

“If you’re running late, let a TSA agent know. They’ll usually get you through security faster. But don’t freak out—they’ll red-flag you.” —Mark Hoyer, T+L A-list travel agent, American Express Travel

“Use a TSA-approved laptop bag—you just unzip it, lay it flat, and send it through the scanner.” —Bill Miller, Senior VP of Strategic Partnerships, CheapOair

“Keep terminal-hopping to a minimum: avoid connecting from a commercial plane to a regional jet (or vice versa).” Matt Daimler, founder, Seatguru

“I bring sunglasses to block out bad fluorescent lighting and earplugs to block out terminal noise.” —Samantha Brown, Travel Channel television host

“I never eat airplane food. At Charles de Gaulle, I drop by Hédiard (Terminal 2E) for cheese, foie gras, and cookies. In Miami, I go to La Carreta (North Terminal) for Cuban—they have incredible yucca fries with aioli.” —Eric Ripert, chef and co-owner of New York City’s Le Bernardin and host of PBS’s Avec Eric

“London Heathrow’s Terminal 5 has fantastic shopping: Links of London, Mulberry, Ted Baker, the 10,000-square-foot Harrods, and Boots for cosmetics and toiletry essentials.” —Mary Ann Ramsey, T+L A-List travel agent, president of Betty Maclean Travel

“If you’re traveling with a dog, bring along his favorite blanket and a non-squeaking toy. Reno, Austin, and Phoenix airports have impressive outdoor dog parks, and Washington, D.C., Atlanta, and Seattle have off-leash areas.” —Wendy Diamond, editorial director, Animal Fair media

Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the best days for domestic and international travel—lines are shorter and fares are lower. Some airports have peculiar peak times: lines at Miami International Airport run out the door on Saturday mornings, when the cruise ships dump their passengers.” —George Hobica, president, Airfarewatchdog

“I try to find something I love in the airports I frequent. At Newark, it’s the manicure place near Gate 90; at Narita, it’s the Japanese soup noodles almost anywhere.” —Nancy Novogrod, editor-in-chief, Travel + Leisure

Beware of connecting at Kennedy airport until the new runway is ready. Terminal transfers often take longer than expected.— Harold C. Jenkins, National Business Development Manager, Corporate Vacations

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