December isn’t always merry at the Edmonton International Airport (EIA). According to EIA, the airport handles 24,000 passengers a day during the Christmas season. But there’s even more congestion caused by the fact that there are twice as many more people as passengers who come to the airport for send-offs and pick-ups. You can’t afford to miss your plane at this time of year, as according to an EIA tipsheet, “Most flights are full this time of year, so if you miss a flight you may not be able to book another flight.” So, you fume when people hold up the security line because they have $100 in change to empty out of their pockets. You cringe when people go into the bag-drop line – and then try to change seats. You can’t fight them because, if you did, they won’t let you get on the plane. And that would suck.
illustration by Andrew Benson
Seat Changers in the Wrong Line
If you have luggage to check, you have one of two choices. You can go in the customer assistance line or the bag drop line. What is the purpose of the bag drop line? Well, to drop your bags. Funny how the name works. The staff member checks your boarding pass, your bag goes on the scale, then you drop it onto the belt. Done. Next customer. If you’ve got something else to do, go in the other line. Nothing should get a person on the no-fly list any faster than going to the bag drop attendant and then asking to change seats. That’s not what the bag drop line is for, and don’t pretend like you didn’t know.
Where’s the Pass?
The airport and the airlines and pretty well everyone will advise you to get your boarding passes all set up before you leave. There isn’t an airline left that doesn’t offer online check-ins. But keep your boarding pass at the ready; you need to show it at security and at the gate. How many times have we all been slowed down by someone rummaging through his or her bags to find that blasted boarding pass?
Snails carry their homes on their backs. So do some travellers. The airport advises that you should always travel light. Try not to drag a large metal case and claim it’s carry-on baggage. Remember that airlines charge per checked bag now. So, don’t pack six changes of clothes for a weekend trip.
Don’t Keep it Under Wraps
The airport advises us: “Do not bring wrapped packages. Wrap your gifts after security or once you arrive at your destination.” Why waste all the time to wrap stuff when it’s all going to get wrecked in your luggage? Wrapped items aren’t welcome in security. And, imagine the joy on a security screener’s face when he or she gets to unwrap that ugly sweater you meant for your Aunt Emily who you don’t actually like all that much!
The airport advises us to “avoid wearing shoes with metal arches, buckles, steel-toes or shanks” and to “avoid wearing belts with metal buckles.” That studded jacket that makes you look like you’re in a Sex Pistols reunion band looks cool, but pack that away. The more metal you bring into security, the longer it takes to unload all of it so it can go through the screening process.
This article appears in the December 2017 issue of Avenue Edmonton. Subscribe here.