Five Terrible Decisions You Can Avoid at the Airport

Poorly packed luggage and bad behavior can get travelers in trouble

Baggage claim at airport terminal
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In preparing for a trip, travelers can make a lot of poor decisions without thinking twice. Many of these decisions revolve around the stress of navigating the airport. In the rush to make the flight, travelers can find trouble in the most unsuspecting of places.

For those travelers who want a safe and smooth trip, proper planning begins before arriving at the airport and continues prior to boarding.

In addition to purchasing travel insurance, travelers can help their cause by not making these five terrible decisions in airports.

Packing Keys in Checked Luggage

For some travelers, checked luggage is not an optional add-on. Instead, it is a requirement for road warriors to get to their next destination. As a result, travelers often pack a number of items they should not in the bags that go in the cargo hold - including home and car keys.

As many travelers know, there is no guarantee that checked luggage will end up at the final destination. What’s more, travelers have reported having items stolen from checked luggage. If a traveler will immediately need an item out of their checked bag immediately upon arrival, it probably belongs in a carry-on.

Not Putting Luggage Tags on Checked Luggage

Just as unwise as putting valuable items in checked luggage is not putting a luggage tag on those items.

As suitcases go down miles of conveyor belts at high speeds, it is very easy for luggage to get rerouted to a different destination. Without a luggage tag, airlines have a very difficult time connecting lost luggage with their rightful owners.

Travel insurance may not cover everything inside a lost bag, nor can it guarantee reunion between a traveler and their lost bag.

Keeping a luggage tag with a name and phone number on any checked bags can help a lost bag find its way back to a traveler faster.

Turning Your Back on Luggage

It is a quick mistake any traveler can make while at an airport. After turning away from carry-on luggage for what seems like a second, those bags can seemingly walk away. As a result, valuable items – like passports, computers, and tablets – are gone in the blink of an eye.

No matter what demands a traveler’s attention, one should never turn their back to carry-on luggage. Instead, keep an eye (or a hand) on luggage while walking or sitting. By doing this, crafty pickpockets and would-be baggage thieves have a harder time getting away with another flyer’s luggage.  

Arguing With Transportation Security Agents

Let’s face it: going through the transportation security checkpoint is not fun. From dealing with security agents to choosing between the body scanner or a full-body pat-down, going through security may be the most stressful part of flying. As a result, some travelers end up getting in trouble for making an offhand comment at security agents doing their job.

No matter how tempting it may be to make a comment about a weapon – either sarcastically or joking – every comment is taken very seriously.

A traveler who gets caught with a threatening item or making false statements is subject to detainment or arrest by law enforcement officers. Instead of making that comment, it’s better to hold one’s tongue – and file a complaint with the Ombudsman at a later time.

Being Belligerent Towards Anyone at the Airport

If transportation security wasn’t bad enough, other flyers can be enough to make travelers immediately regret their decisions. However, this does not give travelers license to repay rudeness with more rudeness.

When travelers act belligerent or threatening to other passengers or gate agents, a number of authorities are allowed to get involved. A belligerent passenger can be denied boarding by gate agents, or forcefully removed from a flight. Furthermore, threatening behavior can lead to arrest, and ultimately formal charges.

In situations like this, it behooves travelers to keep their best behavior.

For those who enjoy traveling, preparation and awareness are key to surviving the trip. These five key behaviors can keep travelers moving forward safely and securely.