Whether business or pleasure, these days flying has almost become a necessity. Not all passengers are responsible travelers; some seem unaware of common travel etiquette – leading one to contemplate ‘mid-air’ departures.
The news outlets are full of stories of air rage and passengers being thrown off a flight for minor violations. Remember the story of the doctor who is forcibly removed from a United Airlines flight? He lost two teeth and gained a concussion as he’s pulled down the aisle for the whole world to see. Also, a family with young children dragged off a Delta flight when they refused to give up their infants “paid” seat. Air rage is alive and well in the 21st century.
On an overnight 10-hour flight a screaming youngster cried for 8 hours straight, by the time we landed most of the passengers were about to lose their minds from exhaustion. Can you relate to this? As a frequent flyer, I’m always trying to come up with pre-planning tips on how to make my flights as comfortable as possible, not everything is within my control. Most travelers, including myself, can’t afford the upgrade fees to business and first class seats. So what do you do?
Here are some of my tips for stress-free flying. Hopefully, they will make your next flight a little more comfortable.
- Avoid annoying hassles at check-in – buy your ticket under the exact name that appears on your ID.
- Select your seat as soon as the 24-hour window opens up for checking into your flight. This avoids paying a fee for early seat selection. Use site SeatGuru to check seat map and space on a plane.
- Check your carry-on before you leave, i.e. nix the nail files, nail clippers and mini scissors and pack emery boards.
- Use a recognizable suitcase – a bright colour or strap will help with quick recovery.
- Avoid ribbons and bows; they can be torn off in the transporting process.
- Pack sample sizes of cosmetics and prescription cream especially if your traveling with carry-on.
- If they’re forecasting bad weather, spring for an afternoon in the lounge (usually about $50 a day) where you can take advantage of snacks, uncrowded bathrooms, comfy chairs plus help from the club’s dedicated ticket agents.
- A missed connection – use your cell to call the airline’s customer-service number. You’ll get someone faster, and have a shot at a seat on the next flight.
- Don’t pack valuables or ‘must-haves’ in your checked baggage (medicine, important papers, jewelry, laptops). Carry it with you; bags can go missing; although airlines are much faster at recovery these days, you don’t need any added stress.
- When traveling with infants consider investing in a car-seat/stroller combination. They’re safer and the child is used to it, so it helps keep them calm and cozy. The seat slides right out of the stroller part, which you can check at the gate.
Now here are few tips for you to follow to be a considerate flyer and decent human being:
- Don’t be selfish – think before fully reclining your seat and pinning someone to their tray table. (Unless they are kicking your seat or chewing loudly than by all means!)
- Don’t hog overhead bins – put suitcases in the overhead and small bags underneath the seat, there’s nothing worse than having to put your back ten rows away because all the bins are full.
- Don’t put your feet on the walls or other passengers’ seats – believe me, it does happen.
- Don’t overdo the alcoholic beverages – alcohol has fueled many air rage incidents; it can also be more dehydrating then the flight.
- Don’t hog the (if there is one) empty middle seat – share it with your neighbor, it’s not your personal space.
- Don’t have the sound on during movies and games – constant bleeping games and loud movies/music annoy, use your headphones.
The bottom line is – relax and enjoy your flight and remember your flying you to where you need to go. Stay hydrated and bring lots of healthy snacks.