1. Firstly, take advantage of early check-in. nowadays most airlines will let you check in to your flight online 24hrs before you fly. This can get you a better seat and will speed up your process at the airport.
2. Check in everything that you can unless you really need the item during the flight – I have seen so many people carrying large bags all around airport, what for? Airports are big places which typically require a lot of walking- you will often have to carry you bag for a while, so make it as light as possible. Ideally in many cases I don’t have any carry-on bags at all. Whenever you are passing through an airport, try to wear a coat with pockets, you can carry small things in it (I usually have a book), and it will also make your life a lot easier passing through the security check.
3. When you pass through the security screening, you then only have to take your items from your pants pockets and put them into your coat. Do not forget to take your watch off as that may also set off the metal detector. I constantly see people waiting in line for 10 minutes in order to start emptying their pockets when they arrive at the front and they are surprised when they have to pass back through the detector three or four times because they forget to take everything out.
4. Another tip about the security screening- try to wear the right type of shoes- this usually means shoes with soles that have been glued- not nailed, or shoes that do not have large metal lace hooks- both of which can set off the metal detector. Many airports now ask everybody to remove their shoes.
5. If you have lounge access- use it. As a minimum you can use the lounge to get free bottles of water. If you do not have lounge access try to find a comfortable corner of the airport to relax. I have a Priority Pass, which gives me lounge access in almost any airport. As a frequent traveler it has been very worthwhile.
6. Lastly, remember that you do not need to be the first one on the plane… as long are in the waiting area at the right time, the plane is not going to leave without you – if the airline cannot find you they actually have to unpack your luggage from the plane. They do not want to do this so they give people a good chance to arrive before they would not let you on. It never ceases to amaze me that many people will wait in line eagerly to get to their seat as soon as possible- then have to wait for everybody else.
I hope these few ideas help your next airport visit.