No matter what mood you’re in, be kind to the people at the check in counter and at the gate. If you need help rescheduling, a good impression will get you a long way. If you aren’t getting what you need, be firm but remain polite. At the end of the day it’s a customer service job, and no one will go out of their way to help an asshole.
When going through security, assume they are going to ask to see every remotely suspicious thing in your bag. Pack accordingly. The backpack I use as my “personal item” contains all my electronics, toiletries, and food. That way, if they need inspect anything, I only have to unpack one bag instead of both.
If you can manage it, ravel “carry-on only”. It cuts down on travel time and stress, especially if you have tight connections. You’ll need to make some concessions (no pocket knife and limited toiletries) but it’s worth it.
If there is plenty of room on the flight, don’t reserve your seat before arriving at the gate, you’ll be more likely to get an exit row seat free of charge. Regardless, always ask if there are upgrades or exit row seats available. It never hurts, and you might end up with a more comfortable seat.
If you have a short connection, study the airport terminal maps in the airline magazine. The flight staff should be able to tell you which gate you’ll be departing from, or at the very least, which at terminal. Knowing the fastest way to your next gate can make the difference between making a flight and spending the night on the airport floor.
Ask to jump ahead in line (only if you’re really in a rush). Don’t be shy, people get it. If someone is in a rush while you aren’t, let them jump in front of you. TRAVEL KARMA IS REAL and it’s a precious thing. Don’t squander it.
Beat Jet Lag Before it Starts
First, get a pair of noise cancelling headphones (not just earplugs). The ambient noise on a plane is deafening, and noise cancelling headphones give your brain the chance to relax. Second, If you’re like me and can’t sleep well on planes, getting on a sleep schedule when you get where you’re going can be hellish. Whenever you arrive at your destination, stay up until at least 9pm local time and then pop some melatonin to help you sleep through the night. It’s my tried-and-true way to beat jet lag on the first day of travel.
Long flights + airplane food = major blockages. Drink more water than you think you need, and if you are particularly susceptible to getting stopped up, take some GENTLE laxatives at the beginning of your travel. On that note, if you’ve never used them before, TEST THEM AT HOME FIRST.. Don’t use laxatives for the first time right before a long travel day.
Use the Lounges
If you travel often enough, investing in Lounge access is worth it, especially during long layovers. The cost of getting in (if you don’t have membership) is almost as much as a meal and a couple beers at an airport restaurant and a lounge is a much better place to pass the time.
Airline credit cards often have free passes and/or reduces the entry cost for their own lounges, and Priority Pass works for many different lounges around the world. It also includes access for your guest.
What special travel tips, tricks, or tactics do you use to get through the long slogs through the sky? We’d all love to hear.