Questions related to airports themselves rather than "airlines" and "air-travel", which have their own tags. "Airport-transfer" is also covered by a separate tag.

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83
votes
18answers
71k views

Why would you wrap your luggage in plastic?

At many airports you can wrap your luggage with sheets of sticky plastic. Why on earth would you do that? I only see disadvantages. I can imagine the mess when customs ask you to open your luggage. So ...
72
votes
8answers
7k views

Why is the departures level always above the arrivals level?

It seems to be a pretty strong convention for airport terminals with more than one level to have the departures above, and the arrivals below. Is this specified in some international standard? Are ...
44
votes
8answers
4k views

What are good security tactics for sleeping in airports?

Sleeping in airports is something I've found myself doing more often than I ever expected, and while I have no issue with sleeping on the floor or chairs or whatever, sometimes I have valuable stuff, ...
41
votes
2answers
7k views

Who was this persistent person at Shanghai airport?

About 10 years ago I traveled to Shanghai. When I got off the plane, a guy in plain clothes came up to me and indicated he could take me to whereever I needed to go. I was planning on taking a taxi ...
37
votes
3answers
4k views

Why do airplanes at every airport disembark at the left (port) side?

I travel by air a lot, and at virtually every airport I've ever been too, including where you disembark by stairs, as opposed to by jet bridge, the left-hand-doors are always used; and the ...
35
votes
6answers
5k views

Why do they sell luggage in airports?

It seems that in almost every airport I'm in, there are luggage stores behind security. How often do people get to the airport carrying handfuls of clothes and needing something to put them in? I ...
31
votes
6answers
5k views

Is there a specific reason for having a very short window for passengers to get to the boarding gate before closing it?

I am not a frequent traveler but it's been like this with all the flights I have been on. Here is the most recent example: Below is my boarding pass As you can see Gate Closes at 20:20 Here is ...
29
votes
4answers
18k views

Benefits of checking in online when checking bags

What is the benefit of checking in online for a flight when you intend to check bags at the airport? I understand some airports have special lines for people that are already checked in but are ...
28
votes
4answers
5k views

Why is it uncommon to fill airliners from both ends?

In Norway, it is common at airports with jet bridges (of which there are at least four) for aircraft (largely 737s and A320s) to be boarded and exited through both ends: the passengers with seats in ...
28
votes
6answers
4k views

Why do shops within airport terminals scan your boarding card?

Periodically when buying something from an airport shop (in various European terminals), I'll be asked to produce my boarding card to be scanned by staff. It's not 100% of the time for every ...
27
votes
4answers
14k views

My name has “Mr” appended on airline ticket reservation. Would that cause problems at the airport?

I recently booked tickets to travel by plane from the UK to Greece. The website I booked through (airfasttickets.co.uk) lists my name correctly, as "Mr Georgios [My surname]", exactly the same as in ...
26
votes
4answers
2k views

Walk/Run from Berlin Tegel Airport to Berlin City Centre

I am visiting Berlin in May for a short weekend trip (hand luggage only). I see that it's only 11km from the airport to the city centre. I wondered if it is possible to run/walk from the airport into ...
26
votes
5answers
3k views

How to leave Hong Kong International Airport by foot

Is there any way to leave HKIA by foot? I have a 4 hour stopover, so I would like to shortly visit the neighbouring city of Tung Chung (home to 200-year-old forts and temples), but I want to avoid ...
25
votes
2answers
5k views

Can you freeze liquids to pass security checks?

Once I read a suggestion saying that frozen "liquids" are not subject to the 100 ml restriction of security checks in airports. I've found other references of this googling, but they all refer to TSA ...
25
votes
4answers
3k views

What is the purpose of check-in before flying?

A few years ago, to do the check in, we would go to the airport and do it directly at the counter. I always thought the function of the check-in for the air-line company would be to tell the company ...
22
votes
4answers
31k views

New York airports: JFK or Newark Liberty International?

we're traveling to New York for a week in February for my birthday. It's my first trip to the US. :-) We will be flying with Lufthansa but we can't decide to which airport should we land: JFK or ...
21
votes
5answers
5k views

Can I leave the airport during a connecting flight if I am a citizen of the country where I have to change planes?

My brother is British, who is traveling to Scotland coming from Qatar on Qatar Airways. He'll have to spend two hours and a half in Heathrow as his ticket is a connecting flight and he has to change ...
21
votes
8answers
4k views

Why do I have to wait 2 hours instead of 1 for intercontinental flights?

For intercontinental flights I am advised to be at the airport two hours before the gate closes. For intracontinental flights one hour is enough. Why is there a difference?
21
votes
4answers
3k views

In an international airport, is there specific set of laws for the international area?

When travelling in an international flight, you pass a border with passport check at both the departure and the arrival airports. It means you spend time in an international area. What are the ...
21
votes
3answers
4k views

“Do not board” message at the airport check-in?

I was booked on a flight for Chicago from Bangalore (India), I have a B1 visa. During check-in at the airport counter (for air India) they guy (who generates the boarding pass) said he gets an error ...
21
votes
4answers
8k views

What's with Canada's airport codes?

In my flying experience (passenger), I've gotten used to seeing 3 letter airport codes. AKL = Auckland. LHR = London Heathrow. LGW = London Gatwick. LAX = Los Angeles. Generally, they seem to make ...
21
votes
1answer
261 views

Is there an easy way to check whether a given airport offers airside (visa-free) transit?

Is there an easy way to find out whether a given airport is equipped for passengers to connect between two international flights without passing through the host country's border controls? Of course ...
19
votes
6answers
65k views

How early should you get to the airport in the US?

When traveling on a domestic flight in the US, how early is it recommended to get to the airport before the flight is scheduled to leave? What about international flights leaving from the US? Are ...
19
votes
6answers
75k views

Are airport duty-free shops really cheaper?

I guess this one will be hard to answer because prices vary from airport to airpot, but...every time I travel friends tell me not to forget to "bring something from the free shop". On a general basis ...
19
votes
2answers
6k views

How bad is baggage theft at Johannesburg airport?

South Africa's Johannesburg's airport has a reputation for stolen and rifled baggage and a quick Google search returns many travelers reporting similar stories. My question, is how bad is the ...
18
votes
2answers
3k views

What is the real legal status of an airport transit area?

According to Russian president Vladmir Putin in the Edward Snowden case, an airport "transit area" is not subject to the authority of the country in which it lies, because the passengers there are not ...
18
votes
3answers
25k views

How do you estimate how long it takes to get out of an airport?

Whenever I have to fetch someone from the airport I usually arrive at the airport on the estimated arrival time resulting me spending useless time in the arrival hall. Can you get a reasonable ...
17
votes
5answers
14k views

Can I through check my bags on separate bookings (international flights)?

I have two different bookings on British Airways and Emirates. Booking 1 (British Airways): Washington (IAD) -> London (LHR) -> Dubai Booking 2 (Emirates): Dubai -> Hyderabad I have a 5 hour stop ...
17
votes
1answer
36k views

Where can I take a shower at Dubai Airport?

I've got two transfers between long-haul flights coming up at DXB, and I'd like to freshen up with a shower. Information on the net is outdated and contradictory, and the official site is remarkably ...
17
votes
1answer
642 views

Where can I board an Airbus 380 using stairs instead of jetbridges?

The international airport of Suriname, doesn't have stairways (yet). Still KLM flies there with a Boeing 747. Making it one of the best places to board a 747. I always have enjoyed walking to the ...
16
votes
4answers
6k views

Language problems at the airport?

I have a family member who speaks Romanian but not English, French or any other world language. If she flies alone, how can she pass through the control points (immigration, customs) at the airport? ...
16
votes
4answers
3k views

First time travelling alone, and on a connecting flight, I have a few questions

I am taking my first solo trip from London to Sao Paulo in just over a month and I have a few questions. I have booked the hotel, the flights, and got all other things (apart from getting money ...
16
votes
5answers
2k views

Airlines actions for overbooking a flight

I have been a frequent flyer since I was one year old and I have heard the gate employee time and time again say "Due to this flight being over booked we are offering free vouchers for those who are ...
16
votes
3answers
13k views

Is it possible to book an hotel being a minor?

I've been in Morocco nearly a month, and it will soon be time for my return. During my stay here, checking into hotel rooms hasn't been an issue, but businesses aren't nearly as lenient about that ...
16
votes
4answers
18k views

Free / cheap ways to get airport lounge access?

Until recently, I had a complimentary Priority Pass card. Although the Priority Pass lounges aren't generally great, they are better than nothing when travelling on an airline where you don't have ...
16
votes
1answer
7k views

Why is security screening done at the gate in some airports?

I've noticed that when taking non-Schengen flights at AMS (Schiphol airport, Amsterdam), there is no centralized security check after you enter the airport and go through passport control. Instead, ...
15
votes
5answers
5k views

Is it possible to walk from ExCeL to London CIty Airport?

I was intending to go to a conference at ExCeL in London Docklands, leaving via London City airport. It seems a very walkable distance between the two, but from Google Maps I can't see if it is ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

What is that device at an airport which transports packages to the aircraft called?

I am looking for the name of this: It is a vehicle with a long band where you can adjust the angle of the band.
15
votes
5answers
3k views

Do all German airports lack free wifi?

I've just been talking to another traveller who was particularly grumpy about Munich airport not having free wifi when he was there recently. Now I seem to recall that Germany has pretty strict laws ...
15
votes
1answer
914 views

Is there an IATA airport code for the Bay Area?

There is an IATA airport code for the New York City area (NYC), encompassing airports such as JFK, LaGuardia etc. This can be used on some flight search sites to search from/to several airports at ...
15
votes
1answer
498 views

What chemicals does airport security use as markers?

I recently travelled to the USA from Asia. When I arrived in Detroit they marked my E-cigarette with a clear colorless liquid using a small paint brush used for water colors. What chemical(s) do they ...
14
votes
5answers
3k views

Why are there no courier services or box-rentals near airport security?

It would be helpful for people not to just throw away their unsafe-for-flight things. I am talking about pocket knives, razors, scissors etc. not haz-mat substances. For example, a new Victorinox can ...
14
votes
4answers
2k views

What was an insurance vending machine at an airport, and what kind of insurance did they sell?

The action of the 1952 novel Prisoner's Base takes place in 1952 in New York. In chapter 15, the author writes in the voice of one of the characters: Some chauffeurs of PD [=police department] ...
14
votes
3answers
5k views

How to deal with inaccurate luggage weighing scales at an airport

TL;DR: What options does one have at (US) airports when they know the luggage weighing scales are inaccurate? This has happened twice now. My bags always appear heavier when measured at the flight ...
14
votes
2answers
317 views

Is there a standardised way to refer to a specific terminal within an airport?

Airports are often referred to by their IATA codes, for example LGW means London Gatwick. Is there a standardised way (i.e. code) to refer to a specific terminal within an airport, for example London ...
14
votes
2answers
405 views

Are there companies that offer worldwide wifi roaming for a fixed fee?

I am aware of the following related question: Overview of wireless in airports. If it is free it would be nice, but I am willing to pay for my Internet access at airports/hotels. The only problem is ...
14
votes
1answer
677 views

What options are there for “disabled” assistance at Heathrow airport? (or: which London airport is best for this?)

I want to bring my elderly parents to visit me here in Sweden next year. My father has had a stroke and walks with a walking stick, and my mother has back issues. Neither of them are in a wheelchair, ...
14
votes
1answer
2k views

Minimum drink age aboard a commercial flight in Canada

What is the drinking age on-board a flight commencing in Toronto (Drinking age 19) and ending in Montreal (Drinking age 18) & vice-versa? As well for flights with-in Ontario?
14
votes
1answer
1k views

Possible reimbursement for missed connection due to gate change

I was traveling from Chicago (ORD) to Mumbai (BOM) with a connection at Frankfurt (FRA). The layover was a little less than 4 hours at FRA. I had a boarding pass with no gate assigned (this is quite ...
14
votes
1answer
225 views

Is there a website to find points to get tap water at airports?

We now have two questions about drinking water taps/fountains in airports, but they are very specific, one to one the terminal of a single airport, the other as wide to cover both airports in a ...