No one escapes stress. All people can do is to manage it. There are a multitude of causes, but airports rank among the worst of them.
A neuropsychologist remarked while passing through London Heathrow, the sixth busiest airport in the world, that it was a similar experience to being in a riot, according to the Telegraph newspaper in the UK.
Experts have narrowed the reasons down to 20, but still, that is a long list. These include hidden charges, long queues, and even something as worse as the fear of terrorist attacks.
How to minimize airport stress
Pick an airport and your flight times carefully.
Before booking a seat, consider checking which airports your chosen carrier are using. Choose your departure and return flight times wisely as well. If you can, avoid flights that are within rush hour timeframes. In case there’s little choice of carriers and airports, just be sure to prepare thoroughly for your flight.
Do a bit of research
For USA airports, check out a Huffington Post story that lists the most stressful airports and tips on how to avoid them. Reduce potential hassles during your trip planning.
Find ways to expedite your time in the airport. This includes beating long lines and finding parking spaces. Check in online before arriving at the airport. Print your boarding pass or have it on your mobile phone.
Avoid check-in luggage if you can and just stick to carry-on baggage. If that’s not an option, be sure to head to the airport early.
If you’re not commuting, stay away from parking issues by having a relative or friend drop you off at the airport. If you’re on your own and you need to drive to the airport, book a parking slot early.
Airport parking options
Airport parking lots can fill days before a holiday, so be aware of alternative options. For example, parking at an airport hotel, according to Parking4Less, is good for travelers who have very early or late night flights. This will allow you to rest in a hotel nearby before the trip, avoiding the highly stressful combination of driving through busy roads plus trying to navigate through a busy airport and find parking.
Hug a dog.
Take advantage of anti-stress airport programs whenever available. Last year over the holidays United Airlines set up areas in airport hubs (Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Newark and Washington/Dulles), to allow flyers to pat or cuddle selected ‘comfort dogs’. Given that petting a dog is scientifically proven to reduce stress, it is worth your while to check out the program.
Fighting airport stress boils down to preparedness and being informed.
What other methods have you found effective for managing airport stress? Do share them through your comments!