Top 10 Tips for flying
Welcome to my top 10 tips for flying
These days most people will have been on a plane and most of you will have discovered some great tips for flying yourselves.
As crazy as it sounds, there are still people I know who have never been on a plane in their lives and have no intention to. One of my best friends and my Australian cousins are just a couple of examples.
While I continue to try and tempt them all to get out there and fly somewhere new I thought I would send out a few
tips for flying that I learned first hand just in case you are thinking about your first trip.
Top 10 tips for flying – What seat should I sit in?
What seat is best to to pick to sit in on a plane is a well debated topic and everyone will have their own opinion.
For me there are a few things to consider if you are able to.
1) How long is the flight
Once you have picked your seat you are stuck with it. Consider some of my points below and then think about how long you have to live with your decision.
2) Window, middle or aisle seat?
Right away I would discount the middle seat as you have people either side and don’t have any of the benefits of the other 2 seats.
Advantages – Firstly, this is great of you want to see out the window for some astonishing views. You also get to decide if the blind is open and have a little more head room between your seat and the wall.
Disadvantages – You have to get past 2 other people if you need to get to your bag or the toilet. This if not so bad if you are taking a short flight but not so great in a long flight.
Advantages – you have extra leg room as you have the aisle to stretch into. Along with this you have easy access to the toilet, the overhead storage and you can just get up and stretch you legs whenever you want to without too much hassle.
Disadvantages – Particularly on short flights you have constant aisle traffic, people shoving past for the toilet, people pushing trolleys past, people passing trays back past you to the hostess.
If you are lucky you may be a solid sleeper but if you want a good sleep this may not be the best seat despite the additional benefits.
3) Where on the plane should you sit?
So you have decided what seat you want to sit in but where on the plane should you sit once you have picked?!?
On shorter flights you will be a little more limited on where you can sit as the plane is smaller and there aren’t as many decent seats.
If you are heading on a flight to a family destination and it is in school holiday times you really want to avoid the back half of the plane.
Why is that you say? well some airlines have designated seats for family travel parties and you guessed it they are at the back of the plane. If you end up there it can be noisy, there can be a lot of fidgeting, moving about and seat banging.
There are some decent seats on most planes but you will need to be lucky or pay a bit more to get them.
These can be great as you get lots more leg room and in some cases have no seats in front of you.
For that added smugness you will be asked if you are able to help out in the unlikely event that something was to happen to the plane and people needed to get out. Check out the new super responsible you!
The only real disadvantage I have noticed here is that because you have the extra space and in some cases no seat in front of you, other passengers think it is the perfect spot to stop and wait or use your space as a passing point which can become really tiresome!
The best seat
I discovered this seat on a long flight from the UK to China, it was just lucky I guess.
If you take the seats in the very last row (it may even be the last 2 rows) the airline puts 2 seats in the same space of the usual 3. This means…you guessed it way more room for you.
Not only do you have that extra room and therefore comfort but you have awesome access to the hostess team for anything you may need and the toilet not far behind.
For me this is the best seat for the longer haul flights.
The ultimate seat
You know what, you get what you pay for…if you can afford it, you could always upgrade…some lucky people are able to blag an upgrade before they even get on the plane and for free.
Sometimes if you ask about the price for the upgrade at check in even if you decide not to pay it, that can be enough for them to offer it to you for free.
Also sometimes if you have a special reason for your trip the check in people could lean towards an upgrade..I have heard all the stories but sadly I have never managed myself it so far! meh!
Get your best charmer impression out the bag and try to tempt the flight attendant, who knows, you could get lucky!
Top 10 tips for flying – How to get your seat
I am sure you already have an idea of where you want to sit but how do you make sure you get to sit where you want to sit once you know?
This can be far more tricky than you think but you can just leave it to luck or chance.
Generally if you use the automatic seat allocation your party will be sat together but you wont get to pick the best spot.
If you are going on short hall flights (for example you go from the UK to Europe on a Ryan air flight) you can pay a bit extra and select your seat.
On a long hall flight you may well have the option to pre-book your seat. If so, think about the tips above and select your seat, some are better for shorter and some better for longer flights.
If you can not book the seat before you get to the airport or do not wish to pay extra for the privilege then make sure you get to the front of the check in queue as soon as you can. While this may seem a little obvious, if you are there first you will have the pick of available seats.
Sometimes auto allocated seats may be able to be moved by the check in attendant if the passengers have yet to check in so again your chances of scoring that great seat go up.
Some of the check in people can be really helpful, just be polite and ask them how they are etc before you start negotiating…
Top 10 tips for flying – frequent flyer
Most of you will have heard of frequent flyer or airline alliance schemes.
These schemes are basically a loyalty scheme for customers who fly frequently with a regular airline or one of their partners.
Airlines partner together to help each other fill up their flights, cut costs and offer more frequent or varied routes to their client base.
The advantage to the consumer (you) is that you are rewarded for your loyalty over time.
Some alliances offer trinkets, discounts, upgrades, access to airport lounges and the ultimate… free flights.
There are lots of ways to gain alliance points easily these days, you can book flights with the same provider, sign up to associated credit cards that give you miles when used (the more you spend the more you get) and some times you can even buy extra points on ebay!
As there are loads of different schemes out there you may need to do a bit of research to see which scheme is most relevant to you. There is no point joining a scheme with an airline you are never likely to fly with!
We have loads of info about this and some other great tips in another post “How do I get cheap flights” check it out.
Top 10 tips for flying – Comfort
Ok so this picture is probably a little extreme but lets face it, when you are flying comfort is hugely important to the overall enjoyment of your flight.
I don’t know about you but I never seem to be able to get comfy on a plane.
It is really important to try an make the journey as comfortable as possible for you so take what ever you need within reason.
Just a few things to think about..
- Get the seat you want with the room you want and with the least amount of bother.
- Take a travel cushion it can help if you have room
- Take your shoes of!! your feet can swell up on a plane and may not be as comfy in your shoes.
- Take you tunes, a book, a word-search, a hand held game
- I take ear plugs for longer flights, that way you don’t have to hear the engine, the baby crying, the stupid and annoying announcements or a snoring person next to you when you jut want to relax
- Some flights can be too warm, some too cold so you may need a hoodie, blanket or hand held fan.
Top 10 tips for flying – Entertainment
Entertainment is also really important, unless you plan to sleep for the whole flight then you really need something to occupy your time. Being entertained closely into overall comfort for me.
While not a physical comfort, having something to keep you entertained helps to distract you from your discomfort, it can stop you feeling anxious and reduce the stresses of flight or of everyday life.
If you are entertained you will feel more comfortable, if you feel more comfortable time seems to pass by quicker and when that happens you feel like you arrived at your destination a whole lot faster. PERFECT!
So it is time to think… what entertains you the most? what is lightweight, compact, able to get through customs without hassle and easy to travel with?
There will be loads of things on the list but I am sure you already have a good idea of what is suitable for you..
Top 10 tips for flying – check in
Check in is quite a simple one to cover in our top 10 tips for flying.
First off, check the weight of your bags before you leave the house.
I hate it when you get to the airport and a fussy representative tells you you are 1/2kg over weight and then makes you stand there and take stuff out of your bag just to get the weight down slightly.
Checking before hand not only saves a hassle but if you are in a rush to catch your flight this can save cash as well. (Paying overweight charges are extortionate!!)
Secondly, get there early! this will mean less queuing and more time to relax before your flight.
There is nothing worse than getting there in a rush only to find a really busy airport and that soul destroying lengthy queue.
Once you are in the queue get your documents etc ready as this not only makes life easier for you (especially if it is a self serve check in) but also easier for the staff working if the airport is a bit more old school..
Top 10 tips for flying – avoiding fees
Another quick fire round here in our top 10 tips for flying.
Avoid fees simply by being organised
Try not to change your flight unless you are able to give plenty of notice as this can be costly.
Make sure your bags weigh less than the permitted weight.
Only take 1 hand luggage as you may be forced to pay more.
Leave on time, late exit fees may be applied if you overstay your Visa.
Top 10 tips for flying – food & Drink
Not only does food on the plane usually taste like cardboard mush, the airline can easily run out of options.
(especially if you are in the middle of the plane)
Air plane food is usually expensive, poor quality and comes in small portions.
Why would you want to eat this crap unless you have to or you are really bored!
If you have time before you leave home or if not before you get on the plane then prepare yourself with something edible.
Get into the shops (once you have gone through customs so that they don’t steal your drink), grab a meal deal, get some sweets, a tube of Pringles, a muffin or even some fruit.
This way you get better food for a better price which is so much more satisfying when you are sat on the plane looking at what the poor sod next to you having to eat their mush!
Top 10 tips for flying – when to arrive
This is another one of those debatable topics and why it has made our top 10 tips for flying.
Try to make sure you arrive at the airport 3 hours before take off for international flights or 2 hours for domestic flights.
These times may sound a little high but time soon goes when you are at an airport.
If you get held up getting to the airport due to a traffic jam, a cancelled train or bus etc that time can be a saviour and the difference between making and missing a flight.
Once I was in Vancouver leaving to fly to LA, the customs staff were american (for some reason they checked you in Canada not the USA) but the guy in customs was being a real pain in the arse.
He was fussy, only told me bits of the information he wanted completed in the declaration forms each time we spoke and continued to make me change what I filled in on the form about 4 times before he let me though.
This would have been ok if we weren’t in a rush but I had to queue 4 times and nearly missed my flight.
I was Lucky that the rest of the staff in the airport rushed me through the airport, jumping me through queues etc and I made my flight just in the nik of time!
Top 10 tips for flying – Customs
Ever since my experience in Canada I have been a bit more eager to get through customs as soon as I have checked in my bags.
Be prepared to save time, make sure you are not carrying stuff you shouldn’t be, dump any liquids that are greater than the allowed limit, take your belt off (or don’t ware one in the first place)
When you get closer to the bag scanners, get your laptop, phone and ipad out and ready then go for it… you should be fine.
Once you have arrived at your destination and are nearing immigration, get all your docs ready, passport, visa etc.
Many countries will ask why you are there and what you will be doing while you are there so be prepared.
You may be asked where you are staying and if you don’t have answers it can be quite awkward. To get over this I usually book my first night if I am not going to stay with friends that is…
If you do this you will have somewhere to go without the hassle of finding a place when you get there and as a bonus you have an automatic answer when those customs guys ask you that question making so cha-ching… your life just got so much easier!!
Top 10 tips for flying – Baggage reclaim
Another simple one for most of us but it has made the top 10 tips for flying.
If you were early to the check in the chances are your bag will take longer to come off the plane so if thats you then don’t rush to get through customs.
Instead why don’t you go for the wee you have been holding since you got off the plane, check the screen for your flight number and baggage collection point and then that way you already know where you are going.
It really is simple to most but make sure you go to the right baggage reclaim! Believe it or not there are some real muppets who turn up at the wrong reclaim and then wonder why their bag doesn’t come out! lmao!
Make your bag instantly obvious to you. Add a ribbon, buy something that is a brightly coloured or has something unique about it.
If you do this you should be able to spot it a mile off and wont have to be that annoying person shielding the baggage reclaim from your fellow passengers.
So you followed these tips and before you know it the queue has died down, your bag is ready for you to collect and the hassle is gone… DONE!
I really hope you enjoyed this post, please do leave any comments you may have at the bottom along with any tips you may have of your own!
Here are a few more posts you may be interested in reading…enjoy!
My top 10 bucket list destinations
Top 10 backpacking essentials
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