Have a stress free holiday

If you have a holiday coming up, you will probably have a checklist of things not to forget - passport, tickets, travel money, adapter plugs etc. But what about when you get to the airport? Take a look at our top tips...

Bob Atkinson, Travelsupermarket.com’s travel expert and Mike Fazackerly and Beth Brewster from Manchester Airport, give their top tips.

Tip – Documentation

When travelling away on holiday or on business, it’s really important to be familiar with your documentation before you get to the airport. That way you can ensure that you get to the airport at the right time, so you’re not late for your check-in and you’re not late for your flight, and just as importantly you arrive at the right terminal. So take my top tip, and read that documentation before you get here and make the journey a little bit easier for yourself.

Tip – Pre Security

You can help yourself get through security far faster by following my top tips. The first thing you should do before you even approach the security area, get all your liquids into a clear plastic bag. Make sure you’ve got your laptop ready, because that will need to be presented separately, and also have things like your mobile phones, keys, coins and anything that’s already in your pockets ready – put them straight into a bag. That’s going to make it far faster when you actually get to the security desks and you have to place your bags over.

Make sure also at this point you have your boarding card ready, because you are going to need that to go through the security barriers. You can put your passports away, you don’t need that at this stage – in fact you’re not going to require that again now until you actually get to the boarding gate.

Mike Fazackerly Interview

Q1: What are the things that you would advise them to do to make that trip through security faster for them and a little bit stress-free?

MF: Well, we’ve already put into this new facility a new family lane for people who have got special needs or little children and so-forth, but for the majority of passengers I guess the number one advice must be ‘just re-check the website before you fly’, because security rules do continue to change.

Whilst the number of people that are turning up at security correctly prepared is now higher than it’s ever been, it’s still those people that turn up thinking they know the rules - but having got themselves wrong in terms of preparation - that feel inconvenienced.

Q2: In terms of customers coming through the facility, I’m sure there must be lots of people who try to either break the rules or try to do things maybe that the airport or security people would take a dim view of! What kinds of things have we seen customers try to do through security?

MF: I think since the new liquids rules were introduced in 2006, one of the more common ones we’ve come across is people strapping items to their person –

BA: Why would they do that?!

MF: Well, some people don’t like to be parted from their lipstick or their perfume or whatever, and we have had quite a number of cases now of people strapping them to the inside of their thigh or whatever, but we do find it!

Q3: And have you got any other amusing anecdotes or facts or figures what the security process throws up?

MF: Well, probably the most relevant fact is when the rules changed in 2006, for a while we were taking 56 tonnes of belongings off our customers every month! Now that is substantially reduced, but we’d like to get to the place where it’s nothing, where everyone arrives properly prepared.

Q4: So customers sometimes, actually potentially unintentionally bring items through, they didn’t even realise, have you kind of got any examples of those kinds of things – the things that maybe customer should try to think about a little bit more so they don’t get parted from them?

MF: We have had! I think quite unintentionally people just don’t understand the rules and we’ve had people turning up with expensive champagne, expensive brandy and not realising that that is a liquid! Taking that off them can be quite heartbreaking on occasions, so we do get that.

We’ve also had some quiet amusing intentional situations where people have turned up with their bottles of water deliberately frozen, so as to claim ‘it’s not liquid, it’s solid’! So you do get a lot of unintentional mishaps but also some quite intentional ones.

BA: So freezing your liquids is not going to work, it’s not something any of us should try?!

MF: No we will pick up on that one!

Q5: And I guess if you do have anything that is going to be over the limit – and it’s a 100ml limit specifically on liquids – the only real option you have is to go back to check in and check that in as part of baggage or to leave it behind unfortunately?

MF: Yes, you can check it in at left luggage and pick it up when you come back, or you can go back to check-in and try and put it in your suitcase.

Tip - Travel Money

Our tip when talking about travel money is to really plan ahead as much as you can. On moneysupermarket.com you can access all the currency providers, you can find out the best way to take your travel money; whether it be cash, whether it be currency card or whether it’ll be travellers cheques.

The best actual deals are available online, and it’s here where you’re going to find the best exchange rates, often 0% commission AND free delivery to your home address as well as picking up at the airport with many companies. Now by taking some time out and by trying to ensure that best deal, you can save considerable amounts of money.

If you buy online today, on 500 euro you will only pay around £436, however if you choose to do it at the airport and leave it right until the last minute you’re going to pay something like £472 - so that’s saving you well over £30 just by planning ahead! And then you can use that £30 to treat yourself to something in the duty-free shop – now that’s a tip worth remembering.

Beth Brewster interview

Q1: Duty free is obviously a big part of everybody’s experience when they come through an airport. Is duty free really that good value? Are the prices really that much better then what you would get on the high street here in the UK or maybe at the overseas destinations?

BB: I think that there is still a lot of confusion about duty free and tax free. I think duty free, you can buy if you where going to a non EU country so for example, Turkey. And it is really, really good value, but of course you can only pick it up if you are flying to one of those countries.

Tax free, however, and Available-to-all, which is something that we have got on most of our liquor offers, there are some really, really good bargains there to be had and you can pick that up if you are flying anywhere.

So, for example we are currently running 40% off fragrance, and that’s 40% off high street prices and it is really good fragrance lines, and it’s available to everybody.

Q2: And I understand as well Beth that in order for people to try and save money, the airport has worked with a lot of the retailers to come up with these kinds of voucher booklets that you now have, where you can use these against all sorts of different retailers once you’re through security? Can you tell me a little about that?

BB: Yes, the summer campaign we’re running at the moment is called ‘Value Added Travel’ and you can either pick up the booklet in the airport or you can download it online before you get here – there’s over 50 vouchers there, all of which either give you money off or a great deal in the shops we’ve got in the airport.

One of my top tips would be to do a bit of pre-planning, have a look on the website, download your vouchers, and then come armed to hunt the bargains out.

Q3: In terms of items that you maybe get asked for here at the airport, or items that you’re not allowed to sell, what kinds of things are included in that category?

BB: That’s a really good question, because there are things that we can’t sell airside, and it tends to be obvious things like you couldn’t buy a camping knife airside, for obvious reasons. But what people don’t realise is can’t buy a manicure set for example, because scissors are one of the prohibited items, so there’s some quite strange things that you can’t get that you need to pack into your hold luggage and make sure you take it on holiday with you that way.

Tip – Baggage Reclaim

Okay, so now you’re at baggage reclaim. The important thing to do is check the screens to see the carousel that your bags will be on, and then wait for your bags. Many bags can look alike so always check the bag is yours by matching the name on the tag if you are unsure. And check the bag is not damaged anyway and that it has not been tampered with.

My second tip is always to check that your bag has not been damaged or has not been tampered with in any way. If you believe it has, go straight to the baggage desk here in the hall before you leave the airport. You won’t be able to report damage afterwards. By reporting it at the airport you’ll get a special form which entitles you to then to either potentially get replacement bags, or if your bag has gone missing, the baggage service desk will help you to reunite you with your bags and they’ll explain the full process.

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