The Non-Negotiable Etiquette For Ordering Starbucks At The Airport

No matter the location or the size of the store, you should assume every Starbucks has an unspoken set of rules. Following this etiquette not only helps you and your fellow customers have the most pleasurable experience possible, but also makes the baristas' lives a whole lot easier.

For one, when you're rushing through an airport, you should try to order simpler drinks -– like a brewed coffee -– or at the very least something straight off the menu. As you can imagine, an airport Starbucks sees countless customers each day, all of them in a hurry to get to their gate. Your fellow customers don't have time to wait for you to order a drink with 15 customizations, nor does your barista.

Of course, keeping your order simple also directly benefits you. You'll have a shorter wait time than if you ordered a drink with a slew of customizations, and you'll also save yourself some money. The average Starbucks drink already costs at least $1 more at an airport, and most customizations tack on additional charges.

Don't stop at Starbucks if you don't have time for the line

This should be a no-brainer, but seriously: If you're running behind at the airport, don't stop for Starbucks on the way to your gate. Your fellow customers are also limited on time, and they have every right to deny your request to cut to the front of the line. They've already been waiting for who-knows-how-long, and you can wait your turn, too. By the same token, baristas cannot and will not prioritize your drink over anyone else's -– the order in which requests are taken is the order in which they will be fulfilled.

If you want to get Starbucks at the airport, give yourself at least half an hour to stand in line, order, and wait for your drink. Alternatively, you may be able to mobile order ahead, depending on your airport. You shouldn't mobile order cold foam drinks or shaken espressos, as their quality could decline before you arrive to pick them up, but mobile-ordering other drinks can decrease the amount of time you're standing in line.

Be strategic with where and when you get Starbucks at the airport

We get it; you might want to hit up one of your favorite cold coffee types before dealing with the stress of TSA, but we recommend you reconsider. Airport security cannot let any beverages through their checkpoints — even if you've just purchased that cup of coffee at a Starbucks within sight. Rules are rules; a TSA agent will ask you to dump your drink.

So, unless you're willing to hang around at Starbucks or chug your coffee before heading on to security, your best bet is to wait until you're on the other side. Food and beverages purchased on the other side of security are generally acceptable to take onboard your flight, so long as your drink has a lid. That being said, certain airlines may require your drink to be fully sealed, whether that's in a bottle, thermos, or tumbler. After all, your flight attendants and fellow passengers don't want to deal with a coffee spill in mid-air.