For most travelers, having to spend time at the airport is one of the drawbacks of going on vacation. Long security lines and annoying flight delays that leave you trapped in the terminal for hours mean a trip to the airport can eat up precious minutes you could be spending doing something else. Fortunately, savvy flyers can minimize the time they spend waiting around the terminal by avoiding common travel mistakes. From booking flights at the wrong time to getting stuck in long security lines, here are six ways you may be wasting time at the airport.
1. Not flying in the morning
Airport delays pile up as the day goes on. To increase your chances of getting out on time, book a morning flight.
“The best time to fly is between 6 and 7 in the morning. Flights scheduled to depart in that window arrived just 8.6 minutes late on average. Flights leaving before 6, or between 7 and 8, are nearly as good,” said Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight, who analyzed flight delay data for the largest U.S. airlines. For every hour after that, flight delays increase by 1 minute, he found. If a crack-of-dawn departure doesn’t work for you, try to leave after 10 p.m., when delays drop. Airports are most crowded and delays more common in the late afternoon and early evening, so avoid heading to the airport after work if possible.