Just over a decade ago, picking up a friend or family member at the airport was a breeze. One could pull up to the curb at the arrivals terminal and simply wait until the passenger appeared. Obviously, these days are long gone. Airports have tightened up restrictions—for good reasons—and there are now all kinds of security issues to consider when you’re headed to the airport. However, with a bit of planning, you can remove any potential headaches from the equation.
Give Yourself Extra Time
Many airports, such as LAX, will do a brief visual inspection of each vehicle as it enters the airport. This usually just involves an officer nodding to the vehicle to proceed, but prepare for the fact that you may be pulled over so that the officer can take a closer look at you and/or your vehicle. You may be asked for your license, so treat it like a regular traffic stop. Make sure that you have your registration, insurance and other necessary paperwork in the car with you.
Also, if you have any outstanding issues like a broken taillight, try to get it fixed before you head to the airport. Your good deed could turn into a ticket if your vehicle isn’t up to snuff. Remember that airport security can turn on a dime, in accordance with whatever is happening in the world. To stay posted on any specific delays or security issues, check out the TSA website.
Keep Tabs on the Flight
Get your friend’s flight number and check on it periodically. Most airlines allow you to do this through their websites. This way, you won’t be surprised if the flight is delayed—or even if it lands a half-hour early.
Find Out if the Airport Has a Cell Phone Parking Lot
The best thing to do is to wait for your friend in the airport’s cell phone waiting area. Once their plane has landed, have them give you a call or text you. Find out if they’ll be heading to baggage claim; if they are, then don’t leave the parking lot until they’ve picked up their bags. Many of the airport police officers will have no qualms about giving you a traffic ticket for waiting too long—it’s best to err on the side of caution. Stay in communication with your friend as much as possible, but make sure that you’re not using your phone unless it’s hands-free.
While airport pickups are often a necessity, there’s no need to make them more of a hassle than they already are. By planning and staying in communication, you should be able to complete an airport pickup without any difficulty.