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6 practical tips to avoid missing your plane

Whether you're about to leave on a business trip or head off to your vacation destination, there's one thing that can easily generate stress, whether it's your first experience of flying or you're a seasoned traveler: the idea of missing your flight or connection. To alleviate this worry, here are 6 practical tips on how to avoid missing your plane.
Published on August 30th, 2023

1. Check the validity of your identity papers

Depending on your destination, age and nationality, administrative formalities may vary. So be sure to find out what identity documents you'll need to travel by plane.

In some cases, a national identity card is sufficient, while in others a passport is required.

Good to know: it is sometimes required that the validity of your passport exceeds the date of your return flight by at least 6 months.

It's a good idea to take a close look at your identity documents before you go to booking for your flight ticket, as renewal times can be several months. Last but not least, don't forget to pack them in your hand luggage.

2. Check your flight documents before D-day

If you don't want to miss your flight, it's best to avoid making last-minute preparations. Have you booked your plane ticket far enough in advance? Check the details well in advance of D-day.

Check that you've taken your booking the right way round. Misunderstandings can happen... Also check your departure day and time, flight number and boarding gate, so you can plan your arrival at the airport with peace of mind.

Beware of tourist destinations that require a return ticket or up-to-date vaccination booklet. In such cases, you may be denied boarding.

3. Be vigilant when packing

In order to board a plane, you need to pass through the security checkpoint without a hitch. Air transport regulations are very strict on baggage, in particular to ensure the safety of passengers and crew members.

Some items are simply forbidden, while others are authorized under certain conditions, but only in the cabin or only in the hold. To avoid delays that could cause you to miss your flight, refer to the information on restrictions imposed by your airline.

You should also be aware that checks on the weight and dimensions of your baggage are also carried out at check-in. It's best to plan ahead to avoid unnecessary delays and extra charges.

4. Check-in online whenever possible

This saves time and avoids long queues, as well as the risk of arriving at the check-in counter after it has closed. This electronic procedure allows you to check in for your flight 1 to 2 days before departure on the airline's website.

Once your online check-in has been validated, you 'll receive your boarding pass by e-mail, which you can print out or download to your smartphone. You can then proceed directly to the baggage drop-off area and security checkpoint.

5. Get dropped off at the airport well in advance

For long-haul flights, we recommend arriving at the airport at least 3 hours before departure. For domestic flights, this time is reduced to 1 to 2 hours before take-off on average.

Depending on the airport and the location of the terminal, you'll need to think ahead about your route and travel time. Take into account the time of day, the day of the week and the fact that some major roads are prone to traffic jams.

To avoid the added stress of finding a parking space for your car, use public transport or ask a friend or relative to drop you off directly in front of the airport.

6. Stay close to your boarding gate

Have you followed all the steps and finally found your gate? Then don't stray too far!

The temptation is great if you still have time before boarding opens: duty-free stores and cafeterias are waiting for you. But be careful not to lose your sense of time and space.

Stay tuned to airport announcements. Important information about your flight may be transmitted over the loudspeakers, such as a change of time or boarding gate.