THE downside of going on holiday is flying is usually part of the deal.
So if airports and planes are not your favourite part of a trip, here are some tips and tricks for a much smoother journey.
1. CHECKED LUGGAGE
If you have checked luggage with you, label it “fragile” to have it not only handled with more care but also put on top of the pile, which means you should get it first when it comes out of the plane.
Make it stand out with decorations, colours, ribbons and whatever else you wish: it will be easier to spot in the luggage tray. (Or, you can try this man’s ingenious idea for making sure no one accidentally takes his suitcase.)
And in case it does get lost, take a photo of your bag before checking it in: staff will know exactly what they are looking for and will be able to help you much faster.
2. HAND LUGGAGE
We can only advise you to limit yourself to hand luggage when you leave for short or shortish trips (or if you have mastered the art of packing). You will gain a lot of time and not take any chance on seeing your bag sent to Tokyo while you are merely going to visit grandma.
Now, for the type of bag you should take, note that flight attendants and desk employees at the boarding gate are less likely to check if your bag fits the size limitation if it is a “soft” bag (for example a small sport-like travel bag) than if it is a rigid suitcase.
It is also more likely to look like a handbag, so they pay less attention to it and assume it will just fit under the seat in front of you.
Finally, if you notice the aeroplane is full and the airline employees are taking all passenger bags because there is no more space for them, but you really do not want to part with yours, here is a trick: board last, by then they will very likely not bother anymore and will just let you in.
3. ENJOY YOUR MEAL
If you are lucky enough to fly with an airline that provides free food and drinks, you might as well enjoy it to the maximum. One tip is to order a special meal, for example vegetarian or lactose free. Not only are they usually better in taste than the standard one, but you will also be served first.
What else? Take the wine! It sometimes comes in a small bottle so even if you don’t feel like drinking on the spot, you can take it for later.
4. KEEP BUSY DURING THE FLIGHT
If you are feeling a bit bored or underwhelmed by the view (not everyone can picture a three-headed dragon in a bunch of clouds), here are some suggestions on how to keep busy in the air.
• Prepare your emails or texts — they will be sent when you leave in-flight mode and you will not have to worry about it upon arrival
• Catch up on your learning by listening to audio books or language audio — this is your chance to learn how to say “A beer, please” and other essentials in the language of the country you are visiting — or to some podcasts
• Prepare for your trip by reading one a travel guide.
5. CREATE YOUR OWN IN-FLIGHT TV DEVICE
By simply putting your phone or tablet in a plastic bag and then hooking it on the back of the tray table, you can create a perfectly decent in-flight TV and watch any video or movies you have on your device. Not bad, right?