Arriving at any new international airport is both exciting and intimidating. Once you’ve successfully navigated a few of them, you can handle them, all right? Maybe, there are definitely some common characteristics you can expect and some best practices for safe and relatively hassle-free arrival.
Because you’ve already planned your international trip checklist to include all the necessary documents for a proper landing you’re good to go. Once your plane touches down in your vacation paradise (hopefully not a work trip) here are some arrival tips and common procedures.
Rush or Relax? Arriving at an International Airport Destination
There seem to be two main types of people when the plane lands: those in a rush and those relaxed. You can certainly be both and there are blends of each. There are some who rush to pack up and advance as far to the front of the queue as possible, the majority pack up as best they can and are happy with their place in line.
And the silent minority sits or stands comfortably, as the plane doors have yet to open and everyone will end up at the same place.
International Airport Arrival Procedure
It’s a pleasant feeling knowing what to expect when you land someplace new. Here are some of the most common protocols upon arrival at an international airport from abroad.
Exit Plane – If you plan to be through everything as fast as possible, pack up your carry-ons and empty your bladder for you to land. Once you land the rest is a matter of brisk walking and queueing in the right lines.
Security Check – Many countries will put you through their standard security check, usually an X-Ray type of situation.
Customs/Passport Check – Local authorities check your credentials before allowing you in.
Baggage Pick Up – Sometimes this is outside of the secured area, and sometimes it’s still within. If it’s before you exit security, such as in Geneva International Airport, you may be required to send additional packages through screening manually, or just pass through to the public access area. Sometimes they can flag someone here. Denver International Airport sends you through to the public access area outside security for their baggage terminal.
Transportation – With all your luggage in hand or tote cart, you just need to board your preferred method of transportation, whether train or auto or something cooler I don’t even know about. This one is important so it will be discussed further later in this article.
International Airport Arrival Tips
Since the end goal is stress-free travel, it’s always best to prepare. Here are some arrival tips to ease your transition into your new home and enjoy the journey!
Plane – If you absolutely need to be somewhere quickly upon landing, do your best to get a seat closest to the front by: booking your ticket well in advance or arriving at the airport earlier to have a personal talk at check-in. Then when you land, wherever your seat may be, quickly pick up your carry-on luggage, stored properly above YOUR seat, then politely do what you must to advance in line.
Security – Put your shoes, belt, and personal items thru first, so you can begin to dress while you wait for your other items. Ask if you have questions about what needs to come out/off: Each country is different. It’s a pleasure keeping your shoes on at some places : )
Customs – There are times when it makes sense to hurry along in a queue so you won’t be last in a long sea of customs declarations. Decide in advance if you will care or not. Choose not. Often you will fill out the form (1 per family usually) on the plane so it’s good to go. Some countries, like the United States, now offer electric custom declarations upon arrival so the paper forms are a waste of time, ask your stewardess.
Baggage – There’s no rocket science here. Pick up your bags and hurry on. Spot your fellow passengers if you can’t spot your baggage claim #. Some airports deploy oversized bags elsewhere.
Currency – Bring some of your home currency with you for emergency situations. You can exchange it at the airport for reasonable rates by shopping around tellers. Then you’ll have local currency for taxis. If you visit the right bank in your home country, you may be able to exchange at a fair rate before you even depart.
Transportation – With local currency in your well-protected wallet, this is probably the most daunting task. EVERYONE at most airports will spot you as a tourist and offer you a ride for XX amount. It’s best if you research the expected rates ahead of time where you are going. If not, head inside, use the wifi, and check the local ride-sharing app, like Uber/Lyft/Grab, for rates. Then see what the taxis are paying. There are usually 1 or 2 reputable taxi brands. Always have your driver RUN THE METER.
Paradise – Live it up!