Navigating the airport: Tips to avoid missing your flight

Tip 1: Get to the airport early

Lots of travelers means longer wait times. Especially when traveling internationally, make sure to add a generous amount of travel time to get through checkin and security lines to make it to your gate on time. This means getting to the airport three hours early for international travel, and two hours early for domestic trips. If you miss your flight, you may lose the entire value of your ticket and have to buy a new one.  

Tip 2: Check your airline

Sometimes, airlines will sell seats on another airline’s flights in what is called “codesharing.”  Make sure you know which airline is operating your flights so you can make it to the right terminal for check in or risk missing your flight. For example, if you booked a United Airlines flight operated by SWISS, you should check in with SWISS. 

Tip 3: Verify Covid-19 requirements 

While the list of requirements continues to shrink, there are still countries that require either proof of current Covid-19 vaccinations or testing. Before you fly, make sure to check if there are any Covid-19 vaccination or testing requirements needed for both your destination AND your layovers. Some countries also require travelers to complete electronic health declarations before the date of travel, or have specific travel insurance that covers Covid-19. Check out our Covid-19 travel resource page to see which countries have reduced or eliminated entry restrictions. If you show up without the correct documents, you may not be allowed to travel. 

Tip 4: Know your luggage allowance 

Airline baggage rules can be a bit complicated. Many airfares no longer come with free checked bags, and some even restrict cabin baggage to just a personal item (like a purse or small backpack). Knowing your free luggage allowance for each individual flight will keep you from getting stuck with unexpected fees or repacking at the airport. If you tend to overpack, a small luggage scale can help you stay under the airline’s weight limits.

Tip 5: Check in online 

Checking in online is one of the best ways to save time at the airport. Find your confirmation code on your ScholarTrip booking email to view your flights and check in on the airline’s website. Not only can you get a mobile boarding pass, but you may be able to select seat assignments and reconfirm your departure and arrival times. Many airlines also allow you to upload any Covid-19 documents like test results and vaccine cards in advance. 

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