Air Travel Tips To Make Your Flight More Enjoyable
Over the past decade, air travel has certainly changed. Long gone are the days when your ‘Hold’ luggage was included in your flight price, an inflight meal was offered to you as part of your flight and you were given drink and snacks throughout your flight. Sadly, even the small luxuries such as being offered a blanket, an inflight movie or music channels on the arm rest of your seat are slowly disappearing. Even if these are still available, some airlines that offer low cost air travel have now made the decision to start charging for them! I guess this is just a sign of the times when airlines are trying to make as much money from their customers as possible!
Booking Your Flight And Air Travel Arrangements
Passport: Most air travel requires you to hold a valid passport, ensure your passport is still valid and has not expired or is due to expire within the next 6 months. If you have a valid passport, make sure you know where it is!
ATOL: When you book your flight, always ensure that the company you book your flight with is ATOL registered.
Your Name: Ensure you have the exact same spelling of your name on your tickets as is on your Passport!
Pay For Any Additional Extras Before You Travel: Cheap air travel is much easier to find these days but airlines have now started to charge you for every little extra they possibly can charge you for and booking these extras before you turn up at the airport will save you a fortune. If you turn up at the airport and are charged for any extras such as ‘Hold’ luggage or excess weight, it will cost you much more than if you had pre-booked it prior to arriving at the airport.
Allow Plenty Of Time For Any Connecting Flights
If you are travelling and your journey requires you to change flights, ensure you allow yourself plenty of time between connections. The more time you allow yourself, the more stress free your journey will be. Although 45 minutes might sound like a long time and enough time to catch your next flight, it soon goes if you are running late or your first flight is delayed. Allow yourself a couple of hours between flights so that if you do encounter any delays or hold ups, you will not need to stress to much or run through the airport wondering if you will catch the flight.
Book The First Flight Of the Day
Ok, it may not suit everyone because you need to get up early but the first flight of the day generally has one huge advantage as it means that the aircraft is already at the airport which means you will not encounter any delays.
Pre-Booked Your Inflight Meal
If your flight has and inflight meal included and you have any specific dietary requirement such as Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten Free Kosher or Halal, you should preorder your inflight meal in advance. This is simply because the airline will need to specially prepare your mea and they will not have one available if you just ask them on the day.
Before You Leave For The Airport
Ensure You Have All The Correct Documents
Sounds obvious but in many countries you will need a visa to gain entry and if you do not have one, you will not be allowed in!
Check-In Online And Print Boarding Pass
Charge Batteries: Don’t forget to charge the batteries on your electrical items you will be taking on board the aircraft. All those items you will be using during the flight such as Gameboys, Play Stations, Kindles, Mobile Phones etc use power and if they are not fully charged beforehand, you will be twiddling your thumbs for the rest of the flight once they run out!
Note: If you are taking a Laptop or iPad on board the aircraft, you will need to ensure that they all have charge in them. New Security regulations now require all Laptops and iPads to have charge in them, if they are to be taken on board the aircraft!
Wear The Right Clothes And Fabrics: Sounds daft but believe me, if you have the wrong type of clothes on during a long flight, it can make your flight very uncomfortable especially if you are flying long haul! All flights vary but the temperature can drop on an aircraft and if you are sat there in shorts, Tshirt and flip flops, you are going to be pretty cold. Yes, you may well get on the plane in a country where the temperature is very hot but that does not mean it will be the same temperature at 35000ft! It’s always best to have warm clothing handy such as a scarf, fleece and socks. If you need them during your flight you can wear them to keep warm and if you don’t, they always come in handy as a pillow or blanket.
Tip: Clothing such as lightweight, warm, Lycra jeans and wrinkle free clothes are all good for travelling.
Most airlines will place a luggage label on your ‘Checked-In luggage at the check-in desk and this usually has the flight details on it and barcode. However, many travellers still attach their own luggage labels to their luggage and if you intend doing so, ensure that you list the flight number and airport IATA Airport Codes on your luggage as well as your name, address and phone number.
Print Your Boarding Pass: If you are required to check-in online and need to print out your own Boarding Pass, make sure you do so. If you arrive at the airport without your Boarding Pass and the airline has to re-issue you with one, it will be a very costly experience!
Reserve Your Seat: If you have any disability and require a certain seat on the aircraft, it is recommended to pre-book your seats sooner rather than later. If you simply prefer to sit in an aisle or window seat or require extra leg room, try to pre-book them in advance.
Pre-Book Assistance: If you require assistance getting on or off the aircraft or need assistance getting to and from the airport terminal, you should ensure you let the airline or the airport know in advance so that they can arrange assistance upon your arrival.
Packing For Your Flight
Obviously, what you pack in your hand luggage for your flight is determined by the length of the flight and your own personal requirements and circumstances. However, you should always ensure you pack the items you NEED in your hand luggage. Items such as prescription medication and babies care products are items you need to have and you should have them with you onboard in your hand luggage, not in your hold luggage.
If you are flying with children or a baby then you will need to ensure you have all the essential item that you will need during your flight at hand in your hand luggage.
Flying with children can be stressful especially on longhaul flights when you need to keep them entertained. A good idea is to have an activity bag and let your children pack their own activity bag. The activity bag will contain several items to keep them occupied throughout the flight. Toys that are small, quiet, non-messy, odourless and durable are recommended.
Pack Wisely: If you are travelling with ‘Hand’ luggage only, you will need to ensure that you are not overweight and your ‘Carry-On’ luggage does not exceed the ‘Hand’ luggage allowance. If your ‘hand’ luggage exceeds the allowance then you could be faced with paying a baggage excess fee or even being made to pay for your ‘hand’ luggage to travel as ‘Hold’ luggage. You should also ensure that you have not packed any illegal items in your luggage or that do not comply with Security regulations.
Packing Electrics In Hand Luggage
Try to pack your electrical equipment neatly and in a single layer. This might sound odd but when your hand luggage is put through the Xray machine at the airport, it will be much easier to distinguish what the electrical equipment is if it is packed neatly and in a single layer. If your electrical equipment is simply thrown in your bag and is tangled with other items, it will be much harder to make out what your items are and will probably result in the Security staff asking to check your bag.
What To Pack In Your Hand Luggage For Your Flight
Pack A Small Flight Bag
Pack a small separate bag that contains all the items you may need during your flight. This will save you having to stand in the aisle of the plane unpacking your bag when you board. It will also reduce the amount of times you need to get out of your seat and grab your bag from the overhead locker. This can be a nightmare if you are sat in a middle or window seat and the person next to you is asleep!
Wipes: Packing wipes in your hand luggage can be an absolute saviour, especially the antibacterial wipes that kill germs. They really do have so many uses!
The trays on the seats in front of you on the aircraft rarely get cleaned and when you think of what people do on them such as changing babies nappies, putting their dirty handkerchiefs on them, putting their feet on them to name but a few tings, it is always worth wiping them down, especially if you are placing food on them!
Pack A Sleep Kit: Late night and early morning flights are all part of air travel and if you have such flights, a sleeping kit could come in very useful! Your sleep kit could contain the following items:
Travel Pillow – Eye Mask – Earplugs (noise-cancelling headphones) – Travel Blanket – toothbrush and small travel size toothpaste.
Lotions and Lip Balm: Aircrafts can make your skin dry due the the dry air and it is a good idea to pack
drop of lotion and lip balm to help combat your skin drying out.
Liquids: If you have any liquids in your hand luggage, you should ensure that they do not exceed the hand luggage restrictions. Also, ensure that your liquids are placed inside a sealable transparent plastic bag for when you go through Airport Security.
Nothing Over 100ml: If you are travelling light and only with hand luggage, don’t forget that you cannot take any liquids in your hand luggage that exceed 100ml. Sample sachets are great for travelling and placing in your hand luggage.
Chewing Gum Or Sweets
Chewing gum or sucking sweets is a good way to relieve ear pressure on takeoff and landing. Having a packet of chewing gum or sweets in your hand luggage is always a good idea and also helps to keep your mouth fresh during the flight.
Rules, Regulations And Air Travel Restrictions
Familiarise Yourself With The Rule And Regulations: Yes, it is very boring to have to sit and read the ‘Rules and Regulations’, especially when you are excited about going on your travels but believe me, it can save you a lot of time, money and stress if you take the time to read them! All airlines have their own rules and regulations and if you have any doubt about anything, you should ensure you take time to find out about it. All airports have Rules and Regulations that are in place for your own safety and you should also ensure that you are familiar with the Security regulations that are in place at the airports you will be visiting. Becoming familiar with regulations for liquids and hand luggage is very important and will save you a lot of time and stress at Security and also save having any items confiscated!
At The Airport
Arrive At The Airport Well In Advance: If you are departing from an airport, it is advisable to arrive at the airport at least 2 hours prior to your departure time. Even if you have already checked-in online, you should allow yourself plenty of time to clear Security, especially at peak times.
The majority of people think that just because a product is being sold in a ‘Duty Free’ shop, it must be cheap. However, this is not always the case and if you are looking to purchase a certain item or product, is it advisable to do a little research beforehand to see how much it is elsewhere.
Take Some Change
Sadly, most airports now charge you for using their trolleys and the charge is usually a £1 or £2 coin.
Many people think that Airport Lounges are only there for Business and First Class passenegers and don’t realise that they too can use the airport lounges for a small fee and as a result, they miss out. Airport Lounges are a really great way to start their journey and if you have never used one, it is worth while taking a look. Airport lounges offer a relaxed and comfortable environment with many great advantages which are listed on the following page: Airport Lounges
Onboard The Aircraft
Keeping hydrated throughout your flight is essential as it helps to reduce the possibility of suffering from a number of medical conditions. Drink plenty of water if possible before your flight but make sure you do not drink too much before take-off which results in you needing the toilet. Remember, you will not be allowed to get out of your seat until the ‘Seatbelt’ sign has been switched off and this can sometimes be a lengthy period of time.
Keep Your Legs Moving And Exercise
During the flight, try to keep move you legs at regular intervals. This will keep the blood circulating and reduce the risk of blood clots and DVT (deep vein thrombosis). Foot pumps, ankle circles and leg raises are all easy exercises to do whilst you are sat in your seat on the aircraft. If you can get out of your seat easily, it is advisable to stand up and stretch your legs when possible or take a walk down the aisle at regular intervals.
Flights are not the most entertaining of places but the majority of longhaul flights now offer a variety of inflight entertainment in the form of films and music. However, the low cost airlines certainly do not offer any entertainment and if your flight is over 2 hours, you will probably be scratching your head wondering what to do after the first hour! A little preplanning will help you relieve the boredom and can also turn those long flights into great ways to catch up with work, study or simply with that book you have never got round to reading.
Here are just a few things you can do to pass the time on your flight:
Catch up with work
Learn useful phrases in the language of the country you are visiting
Read the instruction manual of a new product you have purchased for your holiday such as camera, phone, dive computer or GoPro.
Read travel guides about the place you are visiting
Listen To Music
Watch A Film
Listen to an audio book
Wear Your Shoes When You Go To The Toilet
It’s amazing how many people go to the toilet on the aircraft in their socks or bare feet. I see it so many times when I am flying and it makes me cringe knowing what the toilet floor is like and what those people are standing in! The frightening thing is that these people then sit back down in their seats and put their feet up on the seats, arm rests, against the seat in front and on the pull down tables, all of which are places that you the next passenger touches! This is why I always suggest packing antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer in your hand luggage!
The best policy is simple, wear your shoes to the toilet as most males are not good with their aim, especially at 35000ft when the aircraft is experiencing a little turbulence!
Don’t Be Squashed Move Seats
Ok, not all flights have empty seats but many do. Once all the passengers have boarded the aircraft, have a look around to see if there are any empty seats available. If there are, move to one of them! It is often a good idea to ask one of the Cabin Crew before doing so just to be polite but it is usually ok to move. So many people remain in their allocated seats jammed in when they could have more space and leg room if they just moved.
Remember: You need to be quick as there will probably be other passengers wishing to move as well.
Hopefully, this page will help you plan your journey and ensure you everything in place for you air travel.