I’ve learned several lessons about airline travel in the past few years. My job requires me to travel, not extensively, but enough that I have gotten quite good at the process. In no particular order:
- If the cost to upgrade to first class is $50 or less, and the flight is over 90 minutes (and you can afford it), DO IT! The extra leg and butt room make it a small price to pay.
- Check your main bag if you are travelling for more than one day. There’s nothing worse than trying to navigate through a crowded airport with a bag in tow. I tried it both ways and I prefer not to deal with keeping up with it. Plus, you can bring gallons and gallons of hair care projects instead of 3 oz.
- Make sure you ID has not expired!!!! It’s not impossible to get through security with an expired license, but it’s much easier when it’s still valid.
- Unless you are going directly to a meeting, dress comfortably. I’m all about wearing flip-flops, shorts, and a T-shirt. I look more like an overweight homeless beach bum than a business person.
- Before you go through security, empty your pockets. I put all my change and keys in my backpack as soon as I get out of my vehicle. I also wear slip on/off shoes and keep my belt in my backpack until I get past security. I’m all about the hassle we are put through by TSA, to keep our flights safe. Be extra nice to these folks.
- Bring a backpack or other SMALL carry-on that will fit underneath the seat in front of you. Requirement – an actual book made of paper (instead of glass, plastic, and electronic components). It takes 10-15 minutes to get in the air and the same to get down, when use of portable electronic devices, including cell phones, pagers (pagers?), laptops, iPads, iPods, portable televisions, electronic readers, blenders, remote control helicopters, is prohibited. That’s too much time to sit idle. I also suggest you bring a notebook and a writing tool. Great ideas strike in high altitude. Wet wipes, tissue, magazines, pain relievers, are some other items you might consider.
- Don’t recline your seat. It only feels like 1/8th of an inch to you, but like 2 feet to the person behind you.
- EARPLUGS are a must. If there’s a crying baby on the plane, he WILL be sitting behind you. Nothing against crying babies. I am one from time to time.
- Use the bathroom every chance you get in the airport. The john on the plane is only large enough for children under 5.
- If you’re staying in a hotel, don’t pack shampoo, conditioner, or soap. I have my preferred brands, but even the cheaper hotels include those in the rooms, and I can survive a few days using Breck.
- Granola is my friend. Airport food is not as expensive as theme park food, but it’s not the best value. I keep a few granola bars in my backpack.
- Keep and frequently use hand sanitizer. You can’t help but brush against surfaces that 1,000’s of hands have touched within the last hour. I’m don’t suffer from mysophobia, but I am a proponent of good hygiene.
- Pack light. Often you can wear the same pair of pants or socks twice. Extra under garments are fine.
- Don’t get an airport massage. That’s all I’ve got to say about that.
- Be extra courteous to EVERYONE you meet. The person standing at the gate isn’t responsible for a flight cancellation. I’ve watched people get U-G-L-Y with these people. At the check-in desk in Phoenix, a customer service person was apologizing for the long lines. I told her it was no problem at all. She looked up and smiled at my wife and I. She then told us of a man earlier in the day, that yelled at her because he was going to miss his flight. He said he was a surgeon and if she were on his table, he’d let her die. WHAT? I was dumbfounded. She said it’s like that every day. WOW. What’s the deal with that? Since she told me, there’s a special place in my heart for people that work in the airline industry. I can understand why some seem a little callous, but that doesn’t stop me from showing my appreciation.
I’ve love to hear YOUR flying tips!