11 Helpful Flight Tips
Avoid the frustration, avoid the boredom and plan ahead for your next flight! At some point, I think many of us have thought about doing some things differently on our next flight out of town. I know I have. This bout of flight inspiration and ideas may strike us at different times. Sometimes it occurs while sitting for hours before you board your flight, other times it occurs when you are racing from one flight to the next to make your connection and you think to yourself that you never want to go through this again! Listed below are a few of those inspirational ideas and helpful flight tips to make things that much better next time you fly…
1. Be smart and selective about what you bring along in your carry on bag
It is always best to keep all your expensive items in your carry on bag for the main reason of your checked luggage or bag being lost forever, or in the slim chance that something is stolen from your bag. Here, I’m referring to jewelry, laptops, camera equipment, etc. Although it happens rarely, it does happen. Also, in the case of your luggage not making it to your destination on time (when you did), it is always smart to bring at least one outfit in your carry on if you can fit it. Usually it can take anywhere from a couple days to more than a week for your delayed baggage to arrive and this one extra outfit could be your saving grace to get you by for a while especially when strapped for cash.
2. Pack that toothbrush in your carry on…
Yeah, you might think I’m crazy but nothing can be finer on a long flight than getting in a good brushing of the teeth and washing your face. Sure, you can’t take a shower (yet) but you can do your best to freshen up and many times, this can be more than sufficient and make you feel five times better.
3. Think about the clothes you’ll be wearing.
Often times, the interior cabin temperature of a flight can be ridiculously cold and unlike traveling in your car, you can’t do much to change things other than put on some additional clothes or grab a blanket or scarf. And nothing can be more miserable than sitting on a flight and freezing for hours on end. So bring along a jacket, an extra pair of socks, and/or a scarf if needed. I wouldn’t recommend flip flops and shorts either. You can pack them in your carry on but its always been better to wear shoes and pants in my opinion as you can easily change once you land if needed.
4. Don’t drink loads of coffee (or alcohol) before you board
Yes I’ve done this (not so much on the booze but the coffee). I can’t tell you how frustrating it is when you’ve done this and your flight ends up getting delayed on the runway or tarmac for what could be an hour or more. And then of course, once you’re airborne, you still have to wait until the seat belt sign goes off before they open up the bathroom. What can add even more icing to this cake is when you finally do make it to the bathroom and there is a nice long line in front of you! Avoiding this scenario takes a little foresight on your part but is well worth the escape from this aggravation!
5. Bring something to read or do!
Don’t be that guy sitting there bored out of his mind because there is nothing else to do other than read the ‘In Flight’ magazine in the seat pocket in front of you. Nothing passes the time better than a great book or two (in case the first one doesn’t keep you plugged in the duration of the flight). Of course, for international flights, they’ll usually have movies to choose from but if not, be prepared, especially since you’re likely to have plenty of time in the airport before you board as well as any layover/connections with even more dead time.
6. Plan your connections the Smart Way!
Don’t be unrealistic and choose the cheapest flight possible which may only have 30-45 minutes between connecting flights. There are also those folks out there that want to spend the very least amount of time possible in the airport for their connections and choose those flights that have almost no extra time from one flight to the next. Don’t be that person! You’re very likely to either miss your connecting flight or not have your bags not get transferred in time to your next plane. Now that 30 minutes you were hoping to save has now delayed you and/or your bags! It happens all the time, trust me:) And this happens even more frequently in larger, international airports as there is much more distance required for you to make your connection (including your bags).
7. Do you need lots of room to spread out?
If space on the plane is important to you, book the emergency exit rows when choosing your seating. Just remember you’ll be told to play the safety role in case of an emergency. Of course, should these seats be taken, you will always want to opt out for the aisle seats if some are still available.
8. Plan accordingly for security checkpoints
Bring slip on shoes, don’t wear a lot of jewelry and try to remember what is and what isn’t allowed on the plane. If you haven’t flown in a long time, I would especially recommend getting acquainted with the ‘allowable’ items that the airlines will let you bring. This usually varies from country to country. I learned this the hard way. Nothing is more frustrating than having to throw something away last minute that isn’t allowed on the plane (or being given the expensive option of shipping it back home to yourself). And of course, keeping all these things in mind will help ensure smooth sailing through the security lines which your fellow travelers behind you in line will be sure to appreciate!
9. Plan on being comfortable
In addition to wearing proper clothes so you’ll stay warm, you’ll likely also want a pillow, especially for those longer flights. While some airlines will have these available, others may not carry them at all for their ‘coach’ passengers or it’s possible they only carry a finite number of them on the plane and they had already been given out to other passengers. Luckily, there are many inflatable pillows out there you can take along with you and the great thing is, they can double as a pillow for the rest of your trip whether on a train or bus and take up virtually no space in your bag.
10. Don’t sit idle in your seat forever
For any flights longer than a few hours, be sure to get up plenty of times during the flight to stretch and move around. Your body will thank you and it will also help to keep you from getting stir crazy in your seat, especially if you don’t have an aisle seat where you can stretch out easily.
11. And my last bit of advice
Please don’t be that crazed passenger trying to run off the plane as soon as you hit the ground! You know the one… as soon as the plane lands, they are already standing up, trying to get off the plane?!? You’ll enjoy things much better by just practicing a bit of patience here instead of trying to stand up uncomfortably, craning your next around the luggage bin above you for the next 10-15 minutes as soon as that seat belt sign went off. Oh, and if you’re in the back of the plane, just get settled in. No one is going to steal your bag, I promise. The plane is emptying out, just be patient. If you didn’t book that 45 minute connection, you wouldn’t need to worry so much about getting off so quickly right? Plus, if this is your last stop, you still have to wait for your bags to make it to the baggage claim area right? Remember that book I mentioned bringing? Well, it works wonders here too while waiting for everyone to unload from the plane!