Congratulations!! You managed to get past security in a somewhat dignified manner so now you are officially on vacation–almost! Now comes the waiting game! Don’t worry though, there is plenty to do past security (depending on the size of your airport); almost all of them have a food court of some sort and different stores to wander in and out of. You can always count on them to have chargers for your laptop and an ever-present TV playing CNN.
First things first, before you start spending all your souvenir money in the Airport stores, we strongly recommend you first find your gate and verify that both your flight time or gate number has not been changed. It is not unusual for one or both to change, and it is up to you to keep up with this information. It will always be listed on the big flight information screens located throughout the airport, as well as at the customer service desks in front of your original gate number that has been printed on your ticket.
Once you verify your flight time or gate number has not changed, you are free to roam about the airport. If your gate has changed, you will want to immediately go to your new gate so that you know where it is. It is important to pay close attention to the time because they begin loading 20-30 minutes prior to your scheduled departure time. It would be such a bummer to have come this far just to wave farewell to the passengers on your plane as it leaves the runway!!!
Water, most soda products, juice, tea and coffee are complimentary on the plane so there is no need to stock up on these things unless you really want to lug them around. Starbucks is not served aboard so best get your fix before boarding. Food will not be given on domestic flights unless you can consider salty peanuts or Cheez-It’s to be sustenance. Some Airlines have sandwiches and candy for a credit card transaction (they won’t take cash), but that fee could easily buy you two Big Mac Combo Meals for the price of one stale pre-packaged sandwich. Southwest does not offer sandwiches, but they do offer free snacks.
You may bring your own food and snacks from home (unless it is liquid) and it should pass through security with no problems. Something that has to be kept hot or cold is most definitely not a good idea because it will not stay that way and ice packs will not be allowed through security.
Fruit and vegetables are allowed on all domestic flights, but will be confiscated for international flights once in customs. This is a touchy subject, and you could face an enormous fine for produce, so best not to bring any on international flights.