1. Get to the Airport Early
Arriving at the airport early is a no-brainer, especially when the airlines tell passengers to arrive at least two hours prior to a flight's departure time. However, there are many people who refuse to heed this request, and arrive at the airport just several minutes before a flight is scheduled to leave. If there is a line at the check-in counter or at security, this can create a very stressful situation. Not only may the flight be missed, but a new flight must be booked, and the passengers will probably have to travel stand-by on a later flight with no guarantee of a seat until the very last minute.
2. Take a Morning Flight.
Leaving on an early flight does not necessarily mean a 4 a.m. flight must be chosen. However, flights that leave first thing in the morning are less likely to be running late, and they are less likely to be affected by weather problems across the country and/or other planes that may be delayed at other airports. Also, if for some reason the first flight of the day is canceled or delayed, there will probably be several other flights throughout the day that, if necessary, can be taken instead.
3. Try Not to Fly During "Rush Hour"
Airports, like highways, have rush hours. Typically, rush hour in the morning is from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., and in the afternoon from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. These are the hours when airports are the most crowded with people waiting for flights. Crowds mean longer lines at the security check points, more people in the restrooms, more people waiting in restaurant lines, and more people taking up seats in the waiting areas. Flying at a NON-rush hour time of day can alleviate the need to stand in lines and sit with crowds.
4. Try to Take Non-Stop Flights
Obviously, when a non-stop flight is taken, there is less risk of being delayed. Taking off and landing both take quite a bit of time, so avoiding having to do this twice is recommended. There will always be destinations when a non-stop flight is not available, but there are plenty of cities where non-stop flights are just as common as those that stop. It may even be worth a few extra dollars to book a non-stop flight to avoid an unneeded hassle and the possibility of being delayed.
5. Book Connections with Enough Time
If a non-stop flight is not available to a desired destination, make sure to schedule enough time in between flights. When airlines book flights, they often have a layover requirement of 30 or 45 minutes between connections. However, this is often not enough time if the original flight arrives late. In order to avoid this stress, try to schedule connecting flights with at least an hour to spare between the arrival time of the first flight and the departure time of the connecting flight.