Running late for your flight? This may save you

By Garth Adams on 10/Sep/2012
I wasn't planning on making my trip to Sydney article-worthy, but unbelievable traffic made a 30 minute cab ride take almost an hour. I made it, barely, and actually used a few tech-tips to make the flight.

Check in before you get to the airport

This is the big one. If you check in before you get to the airport, and you only have carry on luggage, then you can go straight to the departure gate. Without this, you have to arrive 30-45 minutes before takeoff as well as the time taken to stand in line. There are several options for check in:
  • Web check in, through your desktop
  • SMS checkin
  • Mobile checkin.
You can check in up to 24 hours before your flight, and right down to 40 mins before departure. I did it over mobile, so I was sent a link to my boarding pass, which then came up on my phone. I didn't have to print anything out, I just showed my phone at the gate.

Know your departure gate before getting to the airport.

I already had my boarding pass on my phone, but it didn't have the departure gate on it. The traffic had totally stopped, and I could see the time ticking away. If I made it to the airport before my flight left, I wanted to know where to go without without having to find a departure/arrivals screen. I checked out, which list all the departures for the next 48 hours. I was able to find my flight, and it was leaving gate 4. Luckily, the domestic terminal is pretty easy to get around at Melbourne - if it had been another airport I would have totally geeked out & looked up an online map.

When you get to the airport - Run

Yep, I totally dropped all attempts at cool and legged it as soon as I got out of the taxi. I got to the departure gate, and the attendant told me that I had just made it - by 9 seconds! I didn't so much show my boarding pass to the flight attentdant as wave it like an Oscar. On to the plane, and enjoyed my flight (and since Virgin have complimentary drinks if you travel after 5, I did enjoy it).

Update: I have checked with the other major domestic airlines; Qantas and Jetstar allow web & phone checkin, Tiger AIrways doesn't (at the moment). You cannot use web/phone checkin for international flights. If you are unsure if you can use web or phone checkin, please check on the airline site before you get to the airport.
By Garth Adams on 10/Sep/2012

Tagged as: last minute flights, holiday planning, travel plans, last minute