You know Raya is close when Sudirman’s evergreen song Balik Kampung is played out loud everywhere, including inside your office.
For those who bought flight tickets months in advance, great! Flying is way better, and perhaps cheaper, than having to brave through mind-numbing traffic to reach your hometown.
Be it a first-timer or a frequent flyer, catching a flight can either be pleasant or a race against time. Although the latter may sound like an exciting story to share over dinner, why go through all the stress when you can enjoy every step of the journey? Here are a few things you should do:
1. Be early, seriously
Remember, even the journey to the airport counts. Heavy traffic is one of the biggest factors that can derail your arrival time at the terminal, so be sure to save ample time by leaving home early.
Check real-time traffic information in advance to understand the traffic flow. For public transportation, taking the train is the perfect solution to beat any jam without having to drive dangerously like The Transporter. Just keep an eye out for available schedules so you can better manage your time.
How early should you arrive at the airport?
For domestic flights, two hours before the scheduled time of departure while international flights, three hours.
Getting to the boarding gate involves a lot of prior queuing for checked baggage, security and immigration, this is to ensure you get to clear everything on time.
Most airports would be filled with a sea of people during peak seasons like major holidays and extended weekends.
Whether you like it or not, peak periods like Raya require you to arrive at least four hours before departure – non-negotiable.
Did You Know?
Baggage drop-off counters usually close 60 minutes before departure
2. Always Check Documentations
This may seem obvious, but a lot of passengers have had to return home because of incomplete papers.
An identification card (IC), a valid passport, visa and boarding pass are among the basic documentations needed before boarding.
Destinations have varying requirements for passport validity usually between three and six months.
Check the immigration requirements for your intended destination as early as possible to be in the know. Create a travel checklist so you won’t end up making a U-turn halfway to the airport because the passport was left at home.
3. Advance Check-In
To ease congestion at counters, airlines today feature online check-ins as early as 14 days before departure, useful especially for passengers without checked baggage who can walk straight to the gate.
To make things easier, print your boarding pass online as well. Please be reminded that your travel itinerary is NOT a boarding pass – depending on the airline or airport, passengers who only present travel itineraries at the counters are often asked to print their boarding passes and queue again.
Weight is one of the crucial factors carefully calculated by pilots for safety reasons. Although cabin baggage allowance is a great way to save a few ringgit, read the airline’s policy for weight and size.
Never pack beyond the limit or you will end up having to check-in your baggage (more queues) and paying the hefty airport charge – trust us, there’s little to no room for ‘sweet talk’.
Depending on the destination, make a rough estimate of how much you want to pack and pre-book the checked baggage weight you need, which is much cheaper than excess fees. Better be safe than sorry!
Be organised. Get your IC or passport and boarding pass in hand to show the security personnel.
Shoes, belts, laptops, phones, watches, coins, keys, anything that cannot pass the metal detector should be placed in the screening bins.
Liquids bought at the duty-free section should also be placed in the screening bins.
Make sure all items are easy to reach so you won’t end up scrambling for them like a fish out of water at the last minute. You will get the stink eye for slowing down the line!
Whether we like it or not, everything moves slower during peak periods. With that in mind, get to the airport as early as you can and remember, patience is a virtue.
SELAMAT HARI RAYA!