Travel Tip: How to Beat the System at the Airport

Posted by Phil Weber on June 22, 2009

If you’re flying Northwest Airlines out of Portland, OR, you can take advantage of short lines for passengers who have only carry-on luggage, or for those who have bags to check and have printed their boarding passes at home. Unfortunately, this morning I was in the much larger third group: passengers without a boarding pass who have bags to check. The line for those kiosks looked like the line for Space Mountain.

In case you ever find yourself in that situation, here’s a tip: First, use the kiosk for passengers with only carry-on luggage. When the machine asks if you have bags to check, lie and answer, “No.” The kiosk will happily print your boarding pass. Next, get in the line for passengers who have bags to check and who already have a boarding pass (which you now do). After you check your bag, smile and wave at the people who are obediently waiting in the Space Mountain line.

I don’t know why Northwest makes its customers do this little dance, but this tip can save you about 20 minutes the next time you’re on the dance floor.

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