Buying plane tickets, planning a holiday or business trip, packing…all of these can be extremely exciting for anyone who enjoys travelling. They are also part of what needs to be done to go on that long-awaited adventure. So, even if you don’t like planning or packing, you do it anyway without any complaint. What I find myself always forgetting about, amidst this excitement, is the longest and the most annoying bit of this process. Annoying bit, you ask? Let me explain!
Suitcase packed, passport and boarding passes in place, off we go to the airport and as soon as those sliding doors open it hits you. What if the flight is cancelled or delayed? What if I overpacked? What if I get stopped at security? Who will be sitting next to me on the plane? Will I find a place for my hand luggage in the overhead compartment?...and the list goes on and on and on! While I cannot answer all these questions, I am going to try and help you make your time (and other people’s time) at the airport and on flights slightly calmer and more enjoyable.
Check the airline and airport rules and regulations. You do not want to get to the check in desk and be told that the size of your suitcase is too big or that you are only allowed one carry-on bag.
Don’t fill your hand luggage too much. The lighter it is, the easier it is to carry and lift. Plus, if you overpacked your main luggage, you have your mind at rest that you still have some space and weight left.
Do make sure that you have the essentials with you: book, headphones, laptop, phone, power bank, music, tablets for headaches, lip balm, neck pillow, sweets and if possible, some snacks. All of these will be necessary later while you wait or during the flight.
Wear something comfortable and shower. The latter is extremely important…more important than comfort, in fact. You do not want to be the person everyone dreads sitting next to. Also, wear comfortable shoes and do not wear too much or not enough clothing.
Leave home/your accommodation early: anything can happen on the way, trust me! I’ve experienced sudden snow storms, Uber drivers who had their first flat tyre ever and traffic accidents, to mention a few.
Once you check in and go through security, buy a bottle of water. It is very important to remain hydrated and you never know when or if you will get one on your flight.
If your gate number is not out yet, find a place close to a screen which has the information you need, especially if you’re travelling alone.
Use the bathroom before boarding. You may be stuck between the boarding gate and your seat on the plane for much longer than you think.
Learn how to count and understand the importance of Tetris! I have seen too many people think that row 16 comes after row 20, and I have also seen too many people trying to fit a 30cm suitcase in a 10cm space.
Last but not least…no matter how high the plane is flying, it is scientifically proven that lower air pressure does not affect people’s good manners and etiquette. Remember that everyone else is flying with you and you are not the centre of the universe!
There you have it. Just a little bit of planning and some consideration and you can become a more efficient and pleasant traveller.