Life Hacks for School Leaders: #5 - Stop Waiting in Line at the Airport

Leave policies at schools can be tough for people who live far from family and friends. Principal Ron Gubitz said that another time it’s tough to be a school leader is when “your friend is getting married and you want to travel on a Friday.” While you may not be able to change your district’s vacation leave policy, there are lots of ways to be more efficient in airports, which translates to more time for you to do literally anything you want.

Step 1: Get TSA Pre-Check. You can save yourself 30-45 minutes (or more) spent in line at the airport by signing up for TSA Pre-Check, putting you on an earlier flight out that may not have been possible otherwise. It costs $85 and is good for 5 years. If you fly 5 times a year, you’ve just given yourself 750 more minutes to play with your kids, plan professional development, talk with students’ parents, or just take a little time to do some reading for pleasure.

Step 2: Check in for your flight online. If you’re not checking a bag, there is absolutely no reason to stand in line to check in at the airline counter. Almost every airline has an app where you can not only check in for your flight, but also get a digital ticket that doesn’t require you to print a paper copy.

Step 3: Gate-check your bags. This other airport hack may sound strange, but it has made the difference in whether or not I’ve caught a plane in time. If you are checking a bag for your flight, you don’t necessarily have to check it before you go through the TSA line. As long as nothing in your bag is prohibited in carry-ons, you can take that big bag through security and then check it at the gate. The gate agent might look at you funny, but you’re far less likely to miss your flight this way, and you’ve successfully avoided standing in a 100-person check-in line.