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3 Mistakes Travelers Make

June 30, 2022

From our littlest travelers to seasoned pros, there are common mistakes that are easy for any traveler to make. Between packing everything you think you’ll need for your trip and closing up your house (did you remember to close the garage door?), here are the 3 most common mistakes we see from travelers.

Forgetting to check-in

When you arrive at the airport, you might be tempted to head straight to the TSA checkpoint. There, the transportation security officer scans your ID and waves you on. But the ID scanner only checks that you have a valid ID and ticket, not if you have completed the check-in process. Airlines are great about sending email and text reminders about your flight, and you may have even chosen your seat when you booked your ticket. But that doesn’t mean you’re ready to board quite yet. Twenty-four hours before your scheduled departure time, you can start the check-in process by visiting your airline’s website or by downloading and using their app on your smart phone. If you plan on checking a bag, you can even pre-pay online. You can also wait until you arrive at the airport and use a kiosk or check in with a ticket counter agent.

The bottom line is – until you have a boarding pass, whether electronic or paper, you’re not checked in. But make sure you don’t wait too long – which leads to mistake #2 travelers make.

Arriving too late

One of the best reasons to fly out of MLI is how quick and easy it is to get from your car to your flight. But that doesn’t mean you should (or can) wait until the last minute. The airlines’ computer systems require all passengers to be checked in no later than 45 minutes before a flight. You’ll need to factor in waiting for other passengers ahead of you in line and any potential hiccups you may encounter. Regardless of the size of the airport, airlines still recommend arriving 90 minutes – 2 hours ahead of a scheduled departure time, and longer for international flights.

Packing the wrong items

From the size of your bags to what you pack inside of them, there are a lot of rules to keep track of. One of the most frequent questions we receive is what size carry-on is allowed. The answer isn’t so simple. It varies by airline and even then, you may still be asked to check your bag based on how crowded the flight is or what type of plane you’ll be on. The best thing to do is check your airline’s requirements and be prepared to gate check your carry-on if needed. Gate check means an airline may ask you to check your carry-on rather than store it in an overhead bin prior to boarding your flight. This happens when airline staff anticipates that the overhead bins may fill up before all passengers are on board. In most cases you won’t be charged a checked bag fee.

Once you know what size bags to pack, you’ll need to think about what you can put in them. Liquids, batteries, tools, medical items and devices all have certain size requirements or other rules to be aware of for the safety of the plane and other passengers. What you think may seem harmless may still need to be inspected by TSA. Don’t get stuck having to leave an item behind or repack at the airport. TSA has a great online tool called “What Can I Bring” that has an alphabetical index, or you can search by item as well. TSA is also active on social media and posts educational info (with a major dose of humor) so check them out on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

If we could add a fourth mistake it would be flying out of anywhere besides MLI! Flying can be stressful but with MLI, you’re a short drive from home and our staff members are here to make your experience as easy and comfortable as possible. Save the gas money, the stress and your time and fly MLI.

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