Below are some time-tested tips for surviving long, grueling flights.
1. Know your airports well.
It is always wise to have some familiarity with the airport you’ll be flying out of and into during your vacation. Most people are familiar with their local airport, but it can be more challenging to get an idea of the airport that is your final destination or those you’ll be passing through on your voyage. If you get a chance, look up the websites of the airports you are unfamiliar with. It will help you gauge where to go to find ground transportation or assistance if you need it. You may even wish to print out maps of the airports you’ll be using on your trip.
2. Plan a whole day for air travel, no matter how short the flight time.
It is easy to plan meetings or events in the late afternoon or early evening when you plan to travel in the early morning; however, more often than not, you’ll come up against unexpected delays and spend the whole day traveling when the flight should have only taken two or three hours. Planning a whole day for air travel, especially when on vacation, will give you time to collect your thoughts, get settled in, and be prepared for whatever is in store at your final destination.
3. Pack your carry-on well.
This tip is much more important than ever before. Before packing, be sure to check your airline’s website for what can be carried onto the plan. After events this past summer, there is much that can’t be carried onto an airplane, including some very common personal items. If possible, try to pack your carry-on in such a way that you’ll be comfortable spending a night or two in a hotel with just your carry-on. Sadly, this will become a more common occurrence as more baggage is being lost every day. Unfortunately, the days of avoiding checking luggage are over, unless you plan to purchase items upon arrival.
4. If you can, always use E-Tickets.
If you have an E-Ticket, the stress of checking in at the airport becomes much less. Many airlines have set up self-service kiosks for E-Ticket holders. Once you go through the process, which I believe is only available for domestic flights, all you have to do is check in your luggage and go through security. That can be stressful enough, what add to it?
5. Be prepared to check luggage.
As I stated above, the days of packing everything you need in a carry-on are over. Upon arrival, you are invariably going to need to check in luggage. Be prepared. There are weight restrictions and locks are prohibited. Your luggage will be tagged and x-rayed once it has been checked in. Also, be sure to keep your baggage claim receipts. You’ll need them if your luggage is lost.
6. Be prepared for unexpected delays and last-minute flight changes.
Airlines such as Northwest are increasingly changing people’s flight plans at the last minute. Always check on your flight the night before and be prepared for flight delays once you get to the airport. If you are prepared for changes and are flexible in your plans, unforeseen delays and flight changes will be easier to deal with and less stressful.
If you take the following tips into consideration, your air travel experience will be much more pleasant. Have a nice flight!