Tips For Flying
I’ve done a fair bit of flying in my time over the years. And I think that I’ve learnt a few things about making that process a much more pleasant process for myself and others. Thus, I’d like to share a few tips about how to go about that. You don’t have to agree with all or, indeed, with any of these; but they have worked well enough for me.
Always be nice to airline and airport staff, including, especially, security personnel. Don’t act like you’re bloody entitled. Be courteous. Say “please” and “thank you”. If you treat service personnel nicely, you will increase your chance of getting good service. Once, on a flight to the UK, a flight attendant actually slipped a very nice bottle of red in my carry-on. No joke!
As importantly, be considerate also to your fellow passengers. Some may be complete assholes, but you don’t have to be like them. You will never know, that fellow passenger you connect with could turn out to be an important business contact or even perhaps a lover. Although, admittedly, I have not been lucky in the latter department.
Keep your passport, a pen and your boarding passes handy on your person. This way you don’t have to get up now and then looking for your shit. And besides, if the plane goes down, investigators can quickly identify your body.
If you need to exchange currencies, spend some time walking around the airport (if you’ve left it this late) looking for a better rate. There is always a better rate.
The next tip is often repeated, but I will include it anyway. Buy a neck pillow! You cannot believe how much this little thing actually increases your comfort levels, especially if you’re in coach. Yet the vast majority of passengers either forget about it or still have not realised the benefits of a neck pillow.
Exit row is that part of the cabin where there is some extra leg room. Naturally, airlines will charge for this. Unless you really, really need the extra leg room, don’t bother. The problem is, I’ve noticed, exit row is also where airlines seat passengers who are travelling with babies! And, you know, babies cry and yap all night. By all means, go ahead and pay for that extra leg room in exit row; but you’re taking a risk as you could end up seated very near to a monster!
This next tip may pose a challenge to some people’s ethical sensibilities. You might not think it, but getting on board the plane early has one big upside. That is, you’ll be among the first to grab overhead cabin space that now often quickly run out. To board quickly, I suggest not always following what you’re told. For example, AA boards their passengers in groups; if you’re in “group 4”, simply insert yourself onto the end of “group 2” or just jump in with “group 3”. With so many passengers, either the check in staff will lose concentration and not pay attention or just won’t care. I’ve done this trick every time and it works all the time!
Get your shit together while onboard the plane. Pay attention. When serving food/drinks, the attendants are working to schedule and the rest of us passengers want to eat. When the attendants ask if you’d like teriyaki chicken or beef stroganoff, don’t sit there for ages ruminating over your bloody response as if you’re in friggin’ Les Deux Magot. I’ve seen passengers do exactly this and even ask detailed questions about the bloody ingredients. It’s airline food for crying out loud.
Next, again a common tip but still worth repeating: get up every couple of hours and exercise. I am totally shameless in this regard. I’ll do stretches, sit ups and even a bit of static jogging. Your body will feel better for it.
Lastly: join a frequent flyer programme. There are people who fly 2 or three times a year and just don’t even bother. You’re missing out!