On the first flight the flight attendant’s name was Princess. That was in the third grade and ever since then flying has made me feel like royalty. Over the years, however, I have come to realize that not everyone has a lot of experience flying. I have been with several friends on their first flight, and let’s just say it is not as thrilling for them as it is for me. If you are new to flying or are looking for ways to make your flight go smoothly, here are some of my airport travel tips.
Check in 24-hours before
Be sure to check into your flight around twenty-fours hours before departure. Checking in allows the airline to take you into consideration when assigning seats. Many flights are fully booked. If you arrive to the airport too late, without checking in, your seat may be reassigned to someone else.
Don’t wear flip flops
Avoiding flip flops is a must on my airport travel tips list. Most airports will ask you to take off your shoes while going through security, so you won’t want to be walking barefoot. My mom brings her own socks when wearing sandals at the airport, but I usually just make sure to wear shoes I have to pair with sock so I won’t forget. You also never know how cold they will keep the temperature on the flight. Wearing closed toed shoes will keep your feet nice and warm.
Ask to check your carry on
I do this every time I fly. There is nothing worse than trying to shove my suitcase in the tiny overhead compartment; I almost smack my neighbor trying to sling my suitcase up there, and then I can’t get it to fit. The easiest way to avoid this is to always ask to check it at the gate. This is almost always complimentary, unless you are flying RyanAir or other cheap European airlines. This saves you the cash from having to check a bag and the hassle of overhead bins!
Click here to see Southwest Airline’s baggage policy
Charge devices ahead of time
You might be surprised to know that not all airports have charging stations. In the United States I have never had a problem with this. In Germany, however, I did. The charging area in my hostel was all the way across the room from my bed. Sharing the room with ten other travelers I didn’t feel comfortable leaving it charging overnight. In the morning I assumed I could charge my phone at the airport. After scouring the entire airport I concluded there were no outlets and suffered with little entertainment from a dead phone.
Pack light if you can
Understandably, it won’t be possible for you to only pack a small backpack on all trips. However, carrying everything you need on your back makes traveling much easier. You won’t even have to worry about checking a bag. On a ten day trip through Rome-Pompeii-Barcelona I only brought a backpack and it made the expedition feel so much smoother than lugging my luggage around the whole time. The downside is that I didn’t pack for the unexpected drop in temperature and purchased a coat in Barcelona.
Arrive two hours before departure
Arriving two hours before is always a good rule of thumb for flying. Typically I am early and end up waiting a little while for my flight! However, this is much better than the alternative of missing my flight entirely. Even small airports might have complications that cause security to be lined up outside the door.
Record Locator? What is that?
While it has a weird name, the record locator is simply the six letter code you need to check in. This information should have been given to you while checking in. Look back on your email confirmation for this code.
Don’t forget your photo ID
I have had too many close calls with this one. Since I never drive myself to the airport, forgetting my license is easy. Before I leave I double check a million times to ensure I have it with me and it’s easy to access.
Download Netflix Shows
Netflix has stepped up its game. Now you can download movies and tv shows to watch whenever and wherever without WiFi. Watching tv helps pass the time and keep me occupied. Download your movies the night before your flight day.
Have what you need close at hand
This airport travel tip will keep you from fumbling around in your suitcase while a security guard rolls his eyes at you. Keeping my flight ticket, photo ID, and phone at hand is essential in keeping the security line going smoothly. The last thing you want to do is be searching in your purse for your ID, holding up the people behind you. An easy way to avoid this is to have everything ready at hand.
Bring a sleep mask for early departures
Often times airlines will dim the lights to help you sleep, but I always find having a sleep mask gets my body ready to snooze.
They will give you coffee on the flight
The first thing I do when I get to an airport is make a b-line for Starbucks. Nearly every time I forget the airline offers complimentary in-flight beverages. I end up spending more money than necessary. Not all flights offer this service. Although, if your flight is over an hour long the airline will likely provide an in-flight free beverage and snack combo.
Please don’t recline your seat all the way
This airport travel tip is also a public service announcement because this act is just rude. I have no idea why the airline even allows the seats to recline. You will basically be laying in a stranger’s lap. There is little leg room to begin with, so reclining your seat back will make the person behind you extremely uncomfortable. Can you tell this one strikes home for me? It’s been done too many time to me for me not to share.
Only talk to your neighbor if they seem interested
I get it I am chatty too, but sometimes people just aren’t interested in talking. Trust me I am from the Deep South and I like to strike up conversation with strangers and just about everyone I come in contact with. However, I have learned that this can be highly annoying to people not wanting to chat. If your neighbor has headphones in, they aren’t wanting to talk to you.
Flying is one of the safest ways to travel, much safer than driving.
Hope you find these airport travel tips helpful.
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What Catching A Red-Eye Flight Is Really Like
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