40 Little-Known Facts That Might Be Extremely Useful When You’re at the Airport

4 years ago

Airport employees and people who travel a lot are the best ones to ask about how things happen in airports. Have you ever wondered why passengers in sneakers don’t need to take their footwear off at the security checkpoints in some airports or why power banks have to stay in your carry-on baggage? We’re sure you’d like to know how to cancel non-refundable tickets and get your money back or how to significantly reduce the costs for transfers, hotels, and food even if it’s your first trip and you don’t have any discount cards.

We at Bright Side recommend carefully reading this list of advice before your next trip, and if you’re already a seasoned travel pro, pay it forward and add your personal ideas and recommendations in the comments.

  • Airports use scanners that don’t harm human health. That’s the reason that employees are able to sit near them in ordinary clothes instead of having to stay in a separate room. Even if you pass by a luggage scanner, the harm to your body will be minimal.
  • The radiation you get during a flight is less than the dose of radiation that a person receives in their daily life. But if an aircraft happens to be in a thunder cloud, then people onboard get a dose of radiation that is equal to the one gotten during certain types of x-rays.
  • If you are going to take a flight without onboard catering, take ramen with you and ask the crew to pour some boiling water over it. You can also take some snacks like nuts, chips, chocolate, granola, and even instant oatmeal onboard. A bag of tea can also be useful when at the airport — since many cafes will provide you with free boiling water.
  • Things from carry-on luggage, that are seized during the pre-flight inspection, can be stored at the airport for a period of up to 3 months. Also, you can mail them to any address inside the country. But, in most cases, all you need to do is to shift these things to your checked baggage beforehand.
  • Items confiscated by security are often sold at special auctions that offer worldwide delivery.
  • In some airports (like Dublin, for example) drinking water can be bought after the security check at affordable prices. In Canada and the US, passengers are allowed to carry a bottle with ice or an empty bottle in order to fill it with drinking water from special water fountains after passing through security.
  • The universal solution is an empty bottle with a filter — take it with you, pass through security, and then fill it with tap water either in the airport or on the plane.
  • Any powder, whether it’s flour, baby formula, body powder, or an instant drink is better carried sealed in its original package. Otherwise, security can confiscate it as a suspicious object.
  • If you have a connecting flight and you are going to buy some alcohol in Duty-Free, keep in mind that the airport employees of some countries can confiscate all purchased items while transferring you to the next flight. These details are guided by local customs or airline regulations.
  • Pay for your Duty-Free purchases in foreign currency (mostly USD or Euro) because the cost of goods in local currency is always higher.
  • If you carry a spray deodorant with you, your baggage will likely be opened because these items are considered explosive. It’s better to carry stick deodorants — they are allowed in carry-on baggage. Shaving cream is something that explodes in baggage pretty often, so it’s better to not pack this item.
  • Sometimes an item doesn’t seem dangerous, but you won’t be allowed to have it onboard anyway if you are going to Australia or any other islands. Seeds, plants, and some food cannot be checked, even in your luggage. Many airlines, regardless of where you fly, recommend choosing land or water transportation so you don’t run into any problems at the airport.
  • Power banks are not allowed in checked baggage. Additionally, only those having the capacity of less than 20,000 mAh can be taken onboard (you will need special permission for any others). It’s recommended to not use them onboard because they can catch fire.
  • If you are taking a flight and you have a cold, take a painkiller before landing because you might experience strong pain in your ears due to the pressure drops in the cabin.
  • When there are 2 of you flying, shuffle your belongings so that you have access to necessities for both of you in case of the loss of one of your suitcases. Always carry a set of underwear and a clean pair of socks in your carry-on luggage.
  • You can place a bottle of nail polish in your carry-on baggage as long as it hasn’t been opened before—if it has, it’ll need to go in your checked baggage. And you don’t need to check a soft nail file either. But as for the metal ones, they’ll also need to be checked.
  • Opt for perfume testers instead of the whole perfume bottle — one small tester will be enough for a 2-3 week trip. So next time when buying your favorite perfume in a shop, ask for its tester as a free gift.
  • You can buy useful things like disposable underwear, baby food, diapers, phone chargers, hygiene products, or prepaid SIM cards at affordable prices at vending machines in big international airports.
  • If you see a vending machine that gives change, place a bill into it and then press the ’Refund’ button — it’s likely that the machine will give back your money in small change that you might need to pay for services like storage, a cart, or some small expenses in the city.
  • You have a better chance of finding unoccupied toilets in the baggage claim area, near customs, in the waiting lounge, next to big cafeterias, and in other zones that are located far from the main corridors and passageways.
  • Carefully study the airport map for the presence of waiting zones to hang out in before your flight. Some airports have cinemas, swimming pools, and even video games zones.
  • There is almost always free Wi-Fi in the arrivals area, unlike the baggage claim area where they sometimes charge money for it.
  • If an airport has a lot of terminals, it’s possible that they are joined by an underground passageway that most people don’t know about, for quick access. For example, Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow has a train that commutes between terminals B and D. Frankfurt Airport also has a walking tunnel between the first and the second terminals that is most often used by the employees.
  • Every airport has specific features that are often written about on various websites in the reviews section. For example, the McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas provides the option of renting a room for $5 per hour. This price includes access to a gym and a shower. The Munich International Airport has a big, open terrace for passengers in the 2nd terminal. They can watch the planes on the runway from there.
  • Many airports and airlines sell 24-hour-access to their VIP lounge zones where you can have free drinks and light snacks, free shower cabins, and individual rooms for rest. Sometimes it might be cheaper and more comfortable than going to the nearest hotel.
  • In order to prevent the person sitting in front of you from reclining the seat backward, use special clips. They are located on the lunch tray and won’t let the passenger sitting in front of you recline their seat.
  • Make sure to carry a couple of tennis balls if you are going to have a long flight. Rolling your feet on them while onboard can prevent them from swelling.
  • Business class passengers are seated in the front part of the aircraft because they are closer to the exits. However, according to statistics, the safest seats are located in the tail part of the aircraft.
  • Space blanket, which is inexpensive, light, and thin, can be useful in emergency situations. It can be used as a warming blanket, you can also use a part of the material as an insole for your shoes if your feet feel cold, or you can use it as a wrap for baby bottles so that they stay warm.
  • Increase your load while performing physical activities one day prior to your flight in order to adjust faster to a new climate and time zone. Natural tiredness will help the body fall asleep and adjust to the time zone in a new place quickly.
  • If you want to check-in online, but the airline’s site suddenly stops working, try again by opening the site in a private window.
  • Passengers wearing sneakers or other footwear with a thin, soft sole are not asked to take their shoes off at the security checkpoint in some airports. Any shoes with a solid sole or with high heels will need to be removed in any country.

  • If there is no internet connection onboard the plane, the money from your card you used to pay for onboard purchases will be withdrawn after landing. If there are insufficient funds your balance will be negative.
  • If the plane you are flying on is half empty and you happen to have an ordinary bonus card for the airline with you (sometimes it can be gotten right before the flight in the airport), you can ask the crew to move you to the business class section. Members of bonus programs have priority over other passengers. Very often, you won’t even have to pay extra money for it.
  • Tickets for public transportation that you can use for commuting between the city and the airport can be bought at family tariff prices. Cashiers don’t check the degree of relationships and you can easily join with some strangers in order to save money. For example, a single ticket for the Aeroexpress train in Moscow costs $9, but if you get together with 3 people and buy a Family & Friends ticket, your trip will only cost you $4.
  • If you have a connecting flight, but your first flight has been delayed, call the airline’s hotline and get moved to the next flight immediately. Often, you just need to tell them your current flight number to get a seat on the next flight reserved for you.
  • Sometimes you can get the full cost of a non-refundable ticket back if you cancel it in advance or at least before boarding.
  • If you’ve arrived at an airport at night, it will be more profitable for you to sleep for several hours in a special capsule for rest that is located in the airport and go to a hotel the next day. If you go to a hotel right away, you’ll overpay for a night taxi as well as for just a few hours in the hotel instead of a whole day.
  • If you’re taking another flight from the same airport, make sure and wait to check-in to the second ticket during your layover, otherwise there will be issues in the booking system. All because the plane that you bought your first ticket for should depart first and then you can check-in for your second flight.
  • Sometimes it’s better to book tickets with a long transfer, for example, in Singapore. For the citizens of CIS countries, this country provides a 4-day visa-free transfer as long as they have a ticket to their next destination. So, you can come to one of the most amazing airports in the world, and even take your time exploring this beautiful country—without having to go through the hassle of getting a visa. And then continue on with your journey.

What would you add to this list? We would love to hear your travel secrets in the comments!

Preview photo credit igor19101990 / pikabu


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Finally I know what they do with confiscated items! :D I have been always interested to know what they know with them, I thought they might even use them for themselves (is there is something new and untouched).


I have never seen such capsules in any airport where I have been. Most of the people just slept on the seats at nights! :D


Usually things like disposable underwear, diapers, phone chargers and any other products cost more at the airports. At least, from my personal experience


I have never had problems with my power bank on the plane, though
It's 25000 mAh, but no one from the airport's staff ever cared


Very interesting article!
I heard that pressure drops while taking off and landing is bad for the skin ?
Does someone know, if it's true?


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