In this way you avoid queues at the baggage check at the airport

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    When traveling by air during vacation, there is usually no shortage of lines. Factor in the impact of COVID-19 – including more travelers hoping to make up for lost trips in recent years – as well as the ongoing staff shortage, and you can expect the queues to be high. In fact, about 3 in 10 Americans who say they did not travel during the 2020 vacation season (29%) plan to spend money on flights / hotel stays during the 2021 vacation season, according to a September 2021 NerdWallet survey. This travel season is busy.

    There are two ways to bypass the queue at the airport baggage counter: either adapt your packing behavior so that you do not have to check in baggage at all, or find a way to cut through the baggage control line. Both are feasible and this is how it works.

    How to cut the pocket control line

    If you have to check in baggage, you can at least skip the line. Either pay for the privilege or earn it through the airline’s elite status.

    Buy a skip the line upgrade

    Some airlines sell ticket upgrades that take you to various fast-track lines for airport security, boarding, or the airport check-in desk.

    For example, United is selling an upgrade called Premier Access that allows you to use a dedicated check-in line at the airport. United Premier Access tickets, which start at $ 15 depending on the route, also include the option of exclusive security lanes and priority boarding.

    If you are flying to the Southwest, consider buying one Business Select tariffwhich is essentially the southwest version of the first class. While Southwest doesn’t offer posh front seats at these rates, they do offer perks like Fly By Lane access, which gets you in front of the ticket booth and security checkpoints at selected airports.

    Maintain airline elite status

    Some airlines offer access to faster lines as a benefit for theirs Elite members. For example, if you preferred either A-List or A-List Southwest elite status, you will automatically have access to these Fly By Lanes. American Airlines offers its AAdvantage members Gold elite status or higher has access to priority check-in areas, and Alaska offers priority check-in and boarding to MVP or higher status members.

    How to pack to avoid the check-in counter completely

    Sure, you can lower the limits by paying extra or by keeping elite status (which probably wasn’t cheap either). But maybe it’s better to avoid the check-in desk altogether.

    Avoiding baggage screening is a smart move as it gives you the flexibility to rebook flights even after you’ve cleared security. This can be useful when a weather delay is forcing you to make a last minute change. It also reduces the risk of your luggage being lost or of having to wait at baggage claim upon arrival.

    Even the most avid overpackers can only get away with hand luggage, and here’s how:

    Buy what you can on arrival (or have it shipped)

    Instead of stuffing a giant toiletry bag in your suitcase that inevitably turns into a sticky mess due to the low air pressure, consider purchasing items like toothpaste upon arrival. Especially when it comes to “just in case” items like an umbrella, avoid packing one and only buy one if a storm does indeed break out. Think of it as a bonus souvenir from your rainy trip.

    If you are visiting family over the holidays, consider having gifts sent straight to your home. Most discounted shipping programs like Amazon Prime don’t necessarily require you to ship items to your own address – so send them straight to their final destination.

    Have the right suitcase or backpack

    Familiarize yourself with your airline’s carry-on baggage rules and know what qualifies. An airline might add the belt pouch around your waist to their carry-on baggage limit. A roller bag accepted by one airline may not fly on another. Check your airline’s baggage policy (and size restrictions) ahead of time so you don’t have to pay for expensive checked baggage at the last minute.

    It can be worthwhile to buy more expensive travel accessories at times that will help you pack more efficiently. Packing cubes can help compress clothing into a smaller fit. Collapsible water bottles keep you hydrated without taking up valuable backpack space.

    Simply pack easier

    Sometimes it’s so easy not to bring that much stuff with you. Do you need stilettos for the family Christmas party, or will your everyday flats work well? Bring pieces that are easier to combine so that you can wear a unique outfit every day but only have to pack a sweater or jeans.

    And carry your bulky items on the plane. Even if you set off for the snow from sunny Southern California, you should carry your snow jacket on your back so that it does not take up precious space in hand luggage.

    The bottom line

    Vacation travel can be stressful and crowded enough. There is a security clearance queue. There is a line for the cafe. Sometimes there is even a queue for the chic airport lounge. Some queues are inevitable, but the baggage control line is not.

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