Booking Flights At The Airport: The Reasons To Avoid

Booking a flight at the airport might seem like a convenient option, especially if you’re pressed for time, but it’s not always the best idea. Besides not knowing if there’s a seat available for you or not, you also might have to pay more per ticket. 

You shouldn’t book flights at the airport because the booking fees are often much higher than online. Finding the desired seat can also be challenging when you’re limited to the options at the airport. The process can also confuse and stress you, triggering secondary security checks.

Many people don’t realize that booking flights at the airport can be a huge mistake. There are many reasons why you shouldn’t book flights at the airport, and in this article, we’ll explore a few of them.

Why You Shouldn’t Book Flights at the Airport

If you’ve ever been to the airport, you know how hectic it can be. You’ll need to worry about security, finding your gate, and dealing with your luggage, and the last thing you want to do is try to book a flight. 

But did you know that booking flights at the airport can actually be a bad idea? Here are five reasons why you shouldn’t book flights at the airport. 

Plane Tickets Are More Expensive

If you want to save money on your next flight, booking at the airport may not be the best option. Although it’s convenient, you’ll likely end up paying more, as it’s often more expensive than booking in advance. Since airlines know that people looking for last-minute deals are willing to pay more, they charge accordingly.

When airlines have unsold inventory, they often offer discounts to airports to get rid of it. The airports then sell these discounted tickets at a markup, meaning you could pay significantly more than you need to.

It’s best to book your flights online in advance to avoid these headaches. Not only will you get a better deal, but you’ll also have a more incredible selection of flights and times to choose from. 

Always check baggage fees, even when flying economy. 

Booking Flights at the Airport Is More Time Consuming

From check-in to security and, finally, to your gate, a lot can take up your time at an airport, and if you’re trying to catch a flight, the last thing you want to do is waste time.

Booking flights at the airport can take up to twice as long as booking online, which is due to several factors, including waiting in line, check-in procedures, and security screening. 

You might spend 30-45 minutes booking a flight at the airport, compared to just 15 minutes booking through OTAs. So if you’re short on time, it’s best to avoid the airport and book your flights online, as you’ll save yourself both time and hassle in the long run. 

Manchester International Airport 2022 Virgin Check-In Desk
Manchester International Airport 2022 Virgin Check-In Desk

The Booking Process Is More Difficult and Less Convenient

You should never book flights at the airport because it is more difficult and less convenient than other options. Here’s why:

  • You must find your way to the ticket counter. This can be time-consuming and frustrating, especially if you’re not familiar with the layout of the airport. 
  • You may have to wait in line. Once you finally make it to the ticket counter, you’ll likely find yourself in a long line. 
  • You’ll end up paying more. You’re also more likely to be subject to fees and surcharges when booking at the airport. 
  • It can be a hassle to rebook. If your flight is delayed or canceled, you may have to rebook on the spot, which can be another headache.

The next time you plan a trip, consider skipping the airport to book tickets. 

The Chances Of Missing Your Flight Become Higher

It’s no secret that the chances of missing your flight are higher when you book at the airport. Studies show that nearly 2 in 10 flights are delayed or canceled due to last-minute bookings

There are a few reasons for this:

  • Airlines often overbook flights to account for no-shows, which means that there are usually more people trying to get on the plane than seats available. 
  • When you book at the airport, you’re more likely to fly during peak times when delays and cancellations are more common. 
  • If your flight is delayed or canceled, you’re less likely to be able to get on another flight because all the other passengers will have been booked first.

Be sure to check the flight schedule for changes. If you make it to the airport early, try to relax. 

Booking Flights at the Airport Can Increase Your Stress Level

When booking your flight at the airport, your options are limited. Here’s what this might look like:

  • You might be unable to find a flight that fits your schedule. 
  • You’re more likely to overpay and might not get the seat you want.
  • You may have to face long lines, crowds, and security checkpoints, adding even more stress to an already stressful situation. 

You Might Face the Dreaded SSSS

You may even have to face SSSS if you book last minute at the airport. “SSSS” stands for Secondary Security Screening Selection, which no one wants to go through. If selected for SSSS, you can expect a more thorough pat-down and a search of your carry-on and checked baggage.

There’s no sure way to avoid SSSS, but some things may increase your chances of being selected. For example, booking a one-way ticket or paying for your flight in cash at the airport can trigger additional screening. 

You can also increase your chances of being selected for SSSS if you book a connecting flight. 

After the TSA finds something suspicious, they will often select people for SSSS. If you get this tag on your ticket, it’ll remain with you for an extended period of time

So make sure to follow all the guidelines at the airport, such as paying with a credit or debit card for flight tickets and carrying any metal objects bigger than your smartphone, like a game console, in your carry-on luggage.

Why You’re Better Off Booking Online

You’re at the airport, trying to book a flight, and the prices are through the roof. However, if you booked your ticket online, you might be able to afford a nice dinner out once you get to your destination. 

Online booking websites are more convenient and often cheaper. There are a few reasons for this: 

  • You can compare prices more easily. When you’re at the airport, you’re limited to the airlines that fly in and out of that particular airport. But when searching online, you can compare prices across various airlines.
  • You have more time to think about your decision. When booking a flight at the airport, you must decide on the spot. But if you book online, you can take your time to find a good deal on flight options.
  • You can avoid crowds and long lines. Because of the ease and convenience of booking online, you can avoid crowds and long lines at airports, which allows you to get in and out of the airport quickly. 
  • You don’t pay any extra fees. This is because many airlines offer free booking on their websites. Also, when you book a flight with a travel agent, you may have to pay extra fees and commissions. 

Here’s a 10-min video that will help you save money when booking flights through some simple tricks:


When booking flights, the airport is one of the last places you should be doing it. 

Tickets purchased at the airport are typically more expensive than those bought online in advance. In addition, you’ll likely be charged a booking fee if you book at the airport, and if you need to cancel or change your flight, it will be more difficult and expensive. 

Whether you’re looking to save some money or avoid crowds, booking your flight online is almost always the way to go.