So there you are, ticket booked, bags packed, ready to escape the big city. Your body might be in Lagos but your mind, nay, your heart is already at your holiday destination. You’ve tied up the loose ends, you’ve set your office away message, you’re on your way to rest and relaxation. There’s just one thing: you have to go through MMIA. This is like Super Mario Bros., Murtala Muhammed International Airport, with all its unique obstacles, is your Bowser – the final challenge standing in the way of holiday bliss. Don’t fret! Just as it is with Super Mario, there are cheats and hacks and tips for getting through MMIA unscathed. So put these little bits to work and watch the experience go from pull-your-hair-out frustrating to… only slightly frustrating!
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: your flight is at 10 but your mother wants to leave at 4 to avoid any obstacles. She does have a point but perhaps there’s no need to be so dramatic. Leave home early. With construction going on around the airport and the unpredictability of Lagos traffic patterns, it is best to set off to the airport with plenty of time to spare. You know? Should in case…
WEIGH YOUR BAGS AT HOME
In the midst of chaos, the last thing you want to be told is that your bag is heavier than the permitted weight. Pack sensibly and weigh your bags before you embark on the journey to Mordor.
BREATHE DEEP, BREATHE LONG
Fighting fire with fire is the Lagos way. But what if I told you there was another way to get through frustrating situations without the threat of popping a vessel? Practice breathing exercises as a way to remain calm in the face of chaos and irrational airport staff. Do not engage. Present your facts and proof. Which leads us to our next point…
HAVE ALL YOUR DOCUMENTS WITHIN EASY REACH
Here’s a suggestion. Do not travel with a deep bucket bag that houses more than the travel essentials and the necessities for your journey. This way, you’re not struggling at check-in, security or immigration trying to retrieve or replace your passport, boarding pass, ticket, immigration card and other necessary documents. If you must carry a bucket bag, then have all these items in a wallet or similar and place them within easy reach. Have a pen so you can fill in your immigration and travel cards with ease.
PACK THE NECESSITIES NOT THE HYPOTHETICALS
You’re going for a week, you don’t need two suitcases filled with numerous shirts, underwear and shoes. Keep things light and down to the necessities. This makes the bag checks less stressful and makes the people checking less inclined to slow you down with talks of “anything for us” or “do you really need this?” Remember, do not deviate.
WEAR SENSIBLE CLOTHES
A great source of stress comes from going through security and fidgeting with layers and laces and jewellery that you have to remove to get through. Wear shoes that are easy to slip on and off. Ensure that your laptop is easy to retrieve, keep jewellery to a minimum. If you can help it, refrain from wearing a belt. And for the love of God, do not travel with liquids, lotionsand perfumes above the permitted sizes.
FIND A COMFORTABLE POSITION BESIDE A CHARGING PORT AND WAIT
The downside to going early is having to kill time while you wait to board. Park yourself in a comfortable position near a charging port or two. Put your headphones on and zone out! But make sure you can hear when your plane is boarding. These are only a few tips but there are so many other ways to have a smooth journey through MMIA.
Now go! Have fun! Be safe!