After two years of the corona pandemic, the aviation industry is groaning as air traffic restarts. Above all, the lack of staff is causing problems for airlines and airports. Flights are cancelled, passengers are backed up in the terminals and a lot of luggage is left behind.
For example at the weekend in North Rhine-Westphalia: At the start of the holiday season there were problems at several airports, in Düsseldorf even the airport fire brigade had to help, as several media reported. Politicians and representatives of the industry fear similar scenarios at the beginning of the holidays in other federal states. In the short term, the situation will “hardly improve,” says Lufthansa boss Carsten Spohr. What can vacationers and travelers do to prepare?
Travel planning: It starts with booking a flight
If it is financially affordable, we recommend booking a slightly more expensive non-stop flight rather than a cheaper connecting flight. So you don’t have to worry about being stranded at a distant airport on the day of travel if your first flight is delayed. In some cases it is worth booking flights and accommodation together as a package. If the flight is cancelled, the organizer can only cancel the entire trip. Some airlines also offer priority tickets for faster check-in and boarding.
Entry documents and corona proof: Check documents in advance
During planning, it is advisable to check the entry regulations and corona rules in the transit and destination countries. Within the EU, German citizens can travel with their identity card. Outside of Europe, citizens usually need a passport, possibly also a travel permit or a visa.
Therefore, make sure that you have enough time before departure to apply for the necessary documents. Pandemic regulations differ from country to country. Some airlines provide information on whether there is a test or proof of vaccination requirement in their transit or destination countries. However, the government websites of the responsible ministries in the respective countries provide the best information.
You should check the regulations again a few days before departure. These can change at short notice. Don’t forget to also read the Corona conditions for the return journey to Germany. Within the EU, for example, the vaccination status for people who have been vaccinated twice is only valid for 270 days. There is no time limit on the vaccination status for those who have been boosted
Check flight status: Where can I see if my flight has been cancelled?
Current information about your flight is usually available on the website of the respective airline. If you would like to receive updates on your flight status via SMS or email, you can indicate this during the booking process or later in the airline’s customer portal.
On the day before departure and on the day of travel itself, it is advisable to also check the website of the departure airport. This online information is usually structured like the boards in the airport: departure time, destination, terminal and gate number as well as information on the flight status are listed in tabular form.
Check-in: Checking in online is the fastest
For most flights, online check-in is available 24 hours before departure, in some cases even 48 hours before departure. If you prefer to get your boarding pass at the airport, you should find out about check-in counters and machines in the terminal in advance. Some airlines also offer check-in the night before to drop off luggage the day before travel.
But be careful: Even if you check in online, you should be at the airport at least two and a half to three hours before departure.
Prepare luggage: Good organization is the be-all and end-all
Every air traveler is familiar with this situation: At the check-in counter or at the security check, someone is rummaging through all of their luggage to fish out their boarding pass or laptop. Good organization is essential to prevent this from happening to you.
Tip one: At most airports it is now a requirement to stow liquids transported in hand luggage in a clear plastic bag. This must be presented at the security checkpoint. It is therefore best to pack your liquids in advance and place the bag in an easily accessible place. Attention: The liquids must not exceed a certain maximum volume (usually up to 100 milliliters).
Tip two: Make sure you have easy access to electronic devices such as laptops or tablets. These must also be removed from the luggage at the security check.
Tip three: Put your travel documents and boarding pass in your luggage in a safe but easily accessible place. If you have these documents on your cell phone, keep them handy.
Security check: The biggest delays occur at the security check
Due to the lack of staff and the rush of vacationers, large queues primarily form at the security check. You can shorten your own waiting time by emptying your trouser, shirt and jacket pockets. Because when you go through the body scanner, your pockets have to be empty. Jackets and belts must also be removed in advance.
It is best not to waste any time after the security check. Depending on how big the airport is, it can take 15 to 30 minutes to get to the right gate. So even if the duty-free zone and the numerous restaurants are tempting – it’s better to check the flight board for the current terminal and gate information and get on your way. (with agencies)