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For most of us Brits, going on holiday is more than just a luxury – it’s a rite of passage. If we’re unable to head overseas as regularly as we may like, it’s vital that we ensure the experience is as enjoyable and stress-free as possible.

More often than not, our journey abroad starts at the airport. With this can come flight delays, trouble with baggage, and long queues. While the first two are mostly out of our control, the latter is something we can potentially avoid, so long as the correct measures are followed.

In this guide, we take a look at three expert tips to help avoid long airport queues like a pro, guaranteeing you get on your flight with minimal issues.

When and how to check in

By utilising online check-in, you can shave off time waiting in queues. All you need to do is follow the instructions set by your airline, usually in an email, and make sure your boarding passes are set up on your phone or tablet. This can all be done from the comfort of your home as early as 30 days before your flight.

You can even go that step further and drop your luggage at the airport the night before. While likely relevant only to those staying in a hotel nearby or living in the area, it makes a big difference, enabling you to go straight through to security. 

It’s best to check what airlines allow this beforehand but you’ll find Tui offers a “Day-before bag drop” at various major UK airports. For example, you can check your luggage in at Manchester Airport between 2 pm and 9 pm for any flight before midday. Come the next day, you’re then able to park outside Manchester Airport Terminal 2 and avoid the check-in queues.

When to turn up at the airport

One of the main questions surrounding flights: How early should I arrive at the airport? Well, a good rule of thumb is to turn up a minimum of two hours before an international flight. If you intend to check in luggage, aim to get there slightly earlier.

Avoid getting to the airport sooner or later than this time period. Doing so can disrupt the flow at security, which is usually organised based on the number of passengers and flights at any given time. Rather than a staggered group of individuals passing through every so often, you instead find many large groups all at once.

How to prepare for security

There will always be a queue at security – it’s one of those things that you can’t fully avoid. However, there are some ways of speeding up the process for yourself. While it may sound obvious, remove all electronics from your bag, as well as any accessories or jewellery, and place all liquids and toiletries in clear plastic bags.

You should also make sure to bring all of your documents and keep them in a safe place. This includes your passport and boarding passes. If your passes are digital, print out some paper versions in case you can’t access them in the queue, either due to poor signal or low charge.

If you really want to avoid queues at security, consider opting for Fast Track Security. This is generally included with business class and premium flights but can also be purchased as an add-on in some cases.

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