When air travel was first available to the general public, it was luxurious. People dressed up, meals were served on ceramic dishes with real flatware and everyone was happy and courteous. It was exciting and a real privilege to fly. NOW? Well, let’s just say that it’s quite commonplace and therefore has lost a lot of its charm, to say the least. However, it’s the only way to get where we want to go expediently, so what can we do? Well, here are five simple tips to help make it a bit less stressful.
1. Check in online BEFORE you get to the airport! Even if you have to check in at the airport to check luggage, this speeds up the process. You can pay for checked bags if necessary, choose your seat assignment if they haven’t been chosen already and print out your boarding passes.
2. Download the airline’s APP on your smartphone! This makes it easy to check-in for your flight, download your boarding pass, track your flight, get schedule change alerts and buy upgrades or perks like onboard Wifi.
3. Enroll in TSA PreCheck! This can help you get into those shortened security lines where you don’t have to take your shoes off, take your laptop out or even take your carry-on liquids out separately. Although not guaranteed (because you can randomly be pulled out and sometimes smaller airports aren’t operating the TSA Precheck lines), if you do get the service, it cuts security line time in half.
4. Dress for EASE! We’re not suggesting you wear pajamas or sweatpants on your flight, but loose comfortable clothing makes long flights much more comfortable. Not wearing belts, large jewelry, lace up shoes (in case you DON’T have TSA Precheck) or lots of layers makes getting through security much less challenging. Comfortable shoes are a MUST! Some of the larger airports have you walking what seems like miles between gates.
5. Bring a bottle of WATER onboard the plane! No, you can’t carry liquids through security, but you can carry a bottle of frozen water. You can also carry an empty bottle and fill it in a restroom. OR, you can buy a bottle of water from an airport store between security and your gate. However you do it, if you have a bottle of water and your plane gets stuck on the tarmac for a while due to weather or mechanical issues or WHATEVER….you’ll be happy to have that water with you at your seat.
And as a bonus, our last tip to simplify your air travel is to SMILE! Patience and kindness go a long way in stressful situations and air travel can certainly be stressful. We’re all stressed and tired and unhappy about SOMETHING. But a smile helps to make everyone more comfortable and in the end, life is too short to be miserable!