1. Dare to dine (your own way)
It's a surprisingly common misconception that you're not allowed to bring food through airport security. But you can! TSA's website clearly states that food is permitted - other than those that qualify as liquids. Within the EU bringing “foodstuffs” is not a problem, and on other international flights you can generally bring snacks as well – just be sure to eat your sandwich before landing; getting meat, dairy, or plant products through customs can be more complicated.
Creamy spreads, jams, jellies, dressings and the like are generally prohibited, so don't try bringing that jar of Nutella or a tube of Kalles kaviar. But if you've spread some butter or cream cheese on your basically-dry sandwich, you'll be fine. A premade pasta salad from home can be a lot tastier than cookie-cutter airplane food anyway.
If you'd rather eat onboard but you don't want to wait while they serve rows 1-30 ahead of you, order a special meal such as the vegetarian option - this typically means you'll get your food first.
2. BYOB (beverage, that is)
You know all those water bottles abandoned right before the security line? They don't have to be there. True, you can't bring liquids through security, but rather than tossing your bottle and constantly nagging flight attendants out of thirst, just chug the water before security and fill the bottle at a drinking fountain on the other side. Staying hydrated makes flying much more pleasant!
Speaking of bring your own, why not make your own drinks onboard? Take full advantage of the 100ml rule and bring mini bottles of your favourite liquor – since juice and soft drinks are served on the flight you can mix your own cocktail to relax before landing.
3. Pack some Savvy Socialite Superpower
Once again, this is about something you should bring: A power strip. Sometimes all the outlets are taken by other weary travellers charging their phones, but this trick will get you a spot. Plus, you very well may attract other travellers who want to share your power supply – and it's a great excuse to get chatting on a layover. Even aloof but tech-addicted Swedes can't resist this one.
As a backup (or away to extent your ‘power'), you can always toss a rechargeable powerpack or two in your bag to make sure your tablet doesn't die just before the end of your favourite film or as you are about to reach the next level of your favourite game.
4. Keep the world in your pocket
There are countless downloadable apps for travellers visiting just about any major city you can think of, and many include maps. But do you actually remember to use them? Or maybe you don't even have the memory for such apps on your phone, which can go upwards to 800mb.
But Google Maps has a neat trick that allows you to save any map so you can view it offline – avoiding pricy roaming charges or poor phone service. Find any location and then type “ok maps” into the search bar. This will let you save the location and so you can access it again when you're there – blue dot and all. After all, who wants to look like an obvious tourist pulling out a big foldable map? Just check your phone – you'll look like a local.
5. Live it up in the lounge
Don't have a business flight with lounge access? You can still get in. It's easy to use SAS EuroBonus points to upgrade to business class or just pay for lounge access. With a SAS EuroBonus American Express Card you'll collect EuroBonus Extrapoints on all your spending – which you can use to kick back and relax before your flight. Many credit cards also offer access to specific lounges, even if you're flying economy.
For instance, travellers on the Gold tier of SAS EuroBonus membership get free access to SAS and Star Alliance lounges across the world . Silver members travelling with SAS have access to SAS Business lounges during special seasons like summer and Christmas. If your travel habits don't quite reach that tier, then an SAS EuroBonus American Express Elite Card can be useful: It gives you 20,000 non-redeemable points that boost you automatically to at least the silver tier.
6. Go Global (entry)
You know that majestic smooth-entry line, to the side at the airport, which remains remarkably empty while you stand in line with hundreds of other travellers? You don't have to be rich or famous to use it. If you travel a lot to and from the US, signing up for TSA PreCheck can make your life easier. You even get to keep your shoes and belt on during security - imagine that!
TSA PreCheck costs $85 - but guess what? You get it for free when you pay the $100 fee for Global Entry, which is even better. No more filling out customs forms (and realizing you don't have a pen) and no more hour-long queues at major international airports. Note that GlobalEntry is not yet available to everyone - but US citizens and permanent residents as well as citizens of the UK, Germany, and the Netherlands should hop onboard!
All photos: Pixabay
This article was produced by The Local and sponsored by American Express.