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
This historic grocer, opened in 1854 on Paris’s Place de la Madeleine, has an outlet with counter seating in the Galerie Parisienne, where you can stop in for (or take out) coffee, baguette sandwiches, and food gifts, such as jam or tins of rich butter cookies. The Terminal S3 location is for edible gifts and take-out nibbles only. Don’t Miss: Colorful pâte des fruits, or fruit jelly candies, a house specialty ($18/200 grams).
The iconic British handbag label recently opened two concept shops at Heathrow (in addition to its more traditional locations in T1, T3, and T4) that uniquely showcase its beloved natural leather bags, luggage, and accessories. In T5, purses hang from wrought-iron vines that span the walls and ceiling. The T4 outpost is divided into a “garden” with stone benches and a “salon” with bespoke furnishings. Both stores sell one-off passport covers and travel wallets.
Additional Shop Location in London Heathrow Airport:
Terminal 3, Departures, Post-Security
Concept Store Locations in London Heathrow Airport:
Terminal 4, near Gates 1–6, Post-Security
Terminal 5, near Gate A8, Post-Security
Stop here to stock up on Ted Baker’s witty men’s and women’s clothing, accessories, footwear, and fragrances. Countryside scenes and handblown glass birds in antique cages adorn the first of his airport boutiques (designed by Baker himself), in T5. The second, set to open in September 2009 in T1, takes luggage scans as its theme, with X-rayed images of bags on the walls.
Additional Location in the London Heathrow Airport:
Terminal 5, near Gate A10, Post-Security
Links of London
One of London’s premier jewelers, Links of London was founded in 1990 and specializes in men’s and women’s sterling silver and 18-carat gold jewelry. Designs range from pendant necklaces and colorful charms for women to bold cufflinks and watches for men. A children’s collection is available, featuring jewelry as well as Links of London’s stunning miniatures, small wooden figures of animals finished in sterling silver. The store also offers engraving services for jewelry and embossing for leather. A socially-conscious brand, Links of London is committed to using "conflict-free" diamonds.
The Heathrow outposts of this popular London healthcare emporium are designed to cater to the specific needs of air travelers. Busy airport denizens can stop in at Boots and find everything from medicines to cosmetics to fragrances. In fact, the store is home to a number of designer fragrance and cosmetic counters, including Loreal, Max Factor, and No. 7. In addition to toiletries, travelers can buy photo supplies, snacks and the latest issues of their favorite magazines. Boots also offers a number of health services, including flu vaccines and weight loss programs.
Travelers stranded in Miami International Airport often take advantage of the 24-hour service they receive at the dining counter of La Carreta, an authentic Cuban restaurant on the second level of terminal D. This cafeteria-style version of the popular local chain still offers many of its classic menu items, including ropa vieja, shredded beef in Creole tomato sauce. Daily specials often come with sides, such as the roasted chicken with moros rice and plantains.