You found a great bargain of a flight at a really great price, but if you didn’t pay attention to the things to check about your arrival airport before you clicked the pay now button, you might be in for a few surprises. Not all airports are equal and some are definitely more equal than others. Please make sure that you put things to check about your arrival airport on your to do list when booking flights/vacations.
This might sound odd, but airport naming conventions might actually mislead you as to where they are actually located. For example, London has five airports and other than City Airport which only offers European and internal flights is within 15 miles of Central London. With the traffic etc, this means that the airports are more than an hour outside the city. Other airports can be a hell of a long distance from your intended destination so where it actually located is definitely one of the things to check about your arrival airport.
2. Transport Links
Following on from the last point, and also important, regardless of distance, is the transport links. Distance can be relevant as long as there are plenty of options for onward travel from the airport. When it becomes relevant is with the time – sometimes, it’s just not great to think about a transfer time of 2-3 hours, which is not unheard of! Make sure your arrival airport has plenty of options for the next leg of your journey. Know what these options are and plan accordingly. This planning might involve downloading subway maps or bus timetables. It should also include checking on how you will pay for these things. It’s no good expecting to hop on a bus if you don’t have some of the local currency to pay.
3. Luggage Areas
You might not imagine that knowing where the luggage areas is one of the important things to check about your arrival airport, but if time is of the essence and you haven’t been restricted to carry on, knowing the location of the baggage hall will help. Download an airport map. This will also show you the location of lost luggage if – heaven forbid – you should need it. Also applicable to this advice is to know where to go if you are on a transfer/connecting flight and your luggage is only checked for each leg and not all the way.
4. Airport Layout
Some international airports are like small cities, and the distance from the entrance to your check in and then your departure gate can be way longer than you ever imagine. Again, consult an online map of the airport if there is one available. This will help you work out how long you need to allow for all the walking between points you’re expected to do, or what other options there are besides walking. This is of particular import if you have connections and have to switch terminals. Intra terminal travel can actually be one of the longest lasting legs of your journey!
Although there are global standards for air travel, each country also has its own regulations. Customs is something you definitely one of the things to know for your arrival airport. Know what your allowances are and what the main allowables and disallowables are to avoid hold ups and customs fees.
6. Arrival Taxes
If you don’t want to be caught out cashless when you are expected to pay an entry fee before they let you leave airport, check before you travel if the fee requirement exists. This is not the same as airport taxes which are usually paid when booking your flight. Your government travel site will usually have this info as will your destination country.
7. Car Rental Services
There are two things to consider here. If you have pre-booked with an agency that has an on-site desk at the airport, know where it is – if you haven’t pre-booked, at least you’ll know where to go! Or, secondly, if you have booked with a service that operates off site, you will need to factor in any journey distance and time from the arrivals terminal to the car park your vehicle is to be picked up from. At major airports, this could be a significant distance and a shuttle ride away.
Did you think there would be so many things to consider about your arrival airport? You might also want to check out Wi-Fi availability and where meeting points are too.
Have you ever been surprised by what you find out on landing at your arrival airport?