Ask any frequent traveler for tips, and you'll get the same answer. Research is key. Frequent air travelers all have favorite websites, ranging from FlightAware to SeatGuru, but there are few better sources for local air travel information than your destination airport's website.
Before you travel, check your airport's website for up-to-date information about the following:
Check your airport's website to find out how much it will cost to park at the airport. Many airports now offer you the ability to reserve and pay for parking online. Some have created apps that allow you to use a QR code on your smartphone to enter and exit the parking lot.
Remember to research off-airport parking options and airport shuttles before making a final choice.
Check your airport's website for information on taxicabs, airport shuttle services, public transportation links and maps and rental car companies. (Tip: Most airport websites will not mention carsharing options or ride-hailing services such as Lyft or Uber.)
Your airport's website has detailed information about the security screening process, including prohibited items, screening procedures and tips for getting through airport security quickly.
Customs and Immigration
If you are flying to another country, you should review your airport's customs and immigration processes, particularly if you have a connecting flight. Understanding how to go through customs and immigration will help you minimize delays.
Airports around the world are upgrading their pre-flight shopping areas. In addition to newsstands and souvenir/convenience stores, you can find upscale clothing stores, shops selling local products, jewelry stores, bookstores and more. Your airport's website will include a list of shops and a map of their locations.
Remember that any duty-free liquids, such as wine or liquor, are subject to TSA regulations if you are carrying them into the US. Ask about placing these items into tamper-proof, sealed, clear plastic bags, or plan to place them in your checked baggage before you board a connecting flight in the US.
Airports are also upgrading their sit-down and fast food restaurants. As fewer airlines offer meals to economy class passengers, airport managers have realized that they can make money by giving travelers more dining choices. Check your airport's website for a list of restaurants and their operating hours. (Tip: If you are flying early in the morning or late at night, consider bringing your own food with you in case none of the airport restaurants are open.)
Many airports have a customer service representative or volunteer information specialist from Traveler's Aid or another organization in each terminal. If you have a question or concern, you can ask for help at the information desk. You can find a map of your airport that shows information desk locations on the airport website.
If you need the help of a law enforcement officer, contact the airport police. Any airport employee should be able to help you do this, although you may wish to write down the airport police department's emergency telephone number before you leave home.
Lost items may be collected either by your airline, if you left the item on the airplane, by airport employees or police officers or by baggage security screeners. Depending on where you lost the item, you may need to contact your airline, the airport's lost and found office and/or airport police. You'll find all of these telephone numbers on your airport's website.