Airline travel was a lot different 15 years ago. With changes such as à la carte pricing models, “slimline” economy seats and the implementation of baggage fees, traveling by plane can sometimes be more of a hassle than a luxury. While airlines such as Southwest remain more consumer friendly, most of these changes are negative for the traveler. Below are some tips that will hopefully help make your travel more pleasant.
Before the Airport
Bring your alcohol – For some, a drink or two is the only thing that’ll make that international flight bearable. A commonly mistaken fact is that you cannot drink your own alcohol on the plane, technically you just have to have the flight attendant pour it for you. It is against FAA regulations to pour yourself as flight attendants can’t monitor your consumption.
Get a pair of noise canceling headphones – If you’re a frequent traveler and value your sanity, you need a good pair of noise canceling headphones. I have recently upgraded from the Bose QC25’s to the Bose QC35’s as they are wireless and Bose updated their noise canceling capabilities.
Raid the travel section at Target or CVS – Target and CVS both have dedicated travel size sections. Here you’ll find everything from empty travel size containers to 3-ounce cans of shaving cream. Before my recent trip to St. Lucia, I stocked up on travel size cans of bug spray as the cans are smaller and more convenient for hikes and guided tours.
Get an ExpertFlyer membership – ExpertFlyer should be your best friend when looking to book award travel. You can set alerts for when award seats open up (including upgrades), inform you about aircraft changes, and as Jamie from The Forward Cabin taught me, learn the real reason behind your flight delay!
Buy a sleeping mask – Nothing’s worse than your seat neighbor reading a book when you’re trying to sleep. You can pick up a sleeping mask at many large retailers or on Amazon. Some airlines will give you a sleeping mask for free on red-eye flights.
At the Airport
Monitor your flight status – Utilize either the airport monitors, your airline’s app, or the Google function to stay up-to-date on your flights status. I know many who have missed their flights due to not monitoring their flights.
Grab a bottle of water – If you didn’t bring an empty water bottle through security, pick up a water bottle at an airport shop. You pay a pretty penny, but you never know when on flight beverage service might be canceled or delayed.
If you’re running late and don’t have time to wait in line, ask for a glass of water when boarding
Charm the gate agent – Sometimes you can get lucky and score an upgrade when being polite to gate agents. Mentioning that I have a hard time in basic economy seats to my height (6’5) has enabled me many moves to premium economy, exit row, and even first class.
Have your ride pick you up at departures – To avoid the cluster of being picked up at arrivals, have your ride meet you at departures. Most airports have the departure and arrival terminals stacked, so this shouldn’t be a problem.
Wait until clearing departure area to use the restroom – Those who forget to use the restroom before starting descent love using the restroom closest to their arrival gate. If you wait until you’re closer to baggage claim or the arrival area (see above) before using the bathroom you’ll skip the long lines.
When returning from an international flight, you’ll also minimize the chances of getting stuck in the back of a long line at customs.
The Bald Thoughts
Most of the tips above are part of my airline travel checklist, I’m not one to always bring alcohol on the plane for consumption. While this list is not exhaustive, these tips along with Part 1 can help you save time & money and allow you to relax. I hope these tips help make your travel experiences more enjoyable!
Are any of these tips new to you? What tips will you utilize on your next trip?