I was 10 years old when I flew in a plane for the first time. Ever since then, I have lost track of how many times I’ve flown.
Flying is one of my favourite things, and since I have flown so much, I have picked up some things that have made my life easier. I’m sure many frequent flyers would agree that there are subtleties you pick up that first time flyers don’t have the time to notice. As a passenger you wonder “what can I do, its the plane that’s flying, not me”, but flying isn’t just about sitting on the plane. There’s a whole lot of stuff before and after the flight. The way you handle it can determine whether or not your trip is a good one.
Here’s my personal list of do’s and don’ts when flying:
- When checking in, ask to be seated near the front of the aircraft. Other than getting a better view, you won’t feel the bump as much as the passengers further back when the plane lands. You also feel less of the plane’s weight on you upon takeoff.
- Specifically for those who have bulky hand luggage that needs to go in the overhead compartment: get to the boarding gate early so that you’re one of the first people to board the plane. It will save you having to fight with fellow passengers for space or having to ask the steward(ess) to pack your stuff in some other part of the plane.
- For women with big handbags (like mine) that become bottomless at the best of times: keep your essential items like your ID, passport, wallet, and boarding pass in the same compartment at all times. This will save you from having to dig through the pit of doom when you need to whip out things in a hurry. It will help in keeping track of your belongings later, too.
- Guys, don’t carry everything in your pockets. Unless you know exactly which item is in which pocket, you’re going to be standing fumbling in all of them until you find the document that you want. Its just a time-waster. Either have it in your coat, or keep it in a secure place in your backpack.
- Take your laptop out of its case before you even join the line to get your hand luggage (and yourself) scanned. Stopping right at the scanner to fumble in the laptop case frustrates other travelers behind you who have their things in order. Taking it out early not only makes the line go quicker, but it eliminates the need for people to curse you under their breath.
- If you have issues with your ears “opening” because of the change in pressure, chew gum. I suppose the same concept (i.e. chewing something) can be used for kids who have trouble with the pain.
- Don’t put your hands in your pockets when going through the metal detector. There was more than one occasion where I saw a passenger being reprimanded by a security official for doing so.
- Be cooperative and don’t do anything that would make people suspicious of you. I don’t think I need to state how paranoid people are at airports post 9/11.
- Take something to keep yourself occupied, especially if you have trouble sleeping on flights. I have both my iPod and Kindle with me. Its there if I don’t want to sleep, and its also not there when I do want to.
- Be polite to the flight attendants. They’re not working for you. They work for the airline and are also trying to earn a living. Show them respect.
At the end of the day, these not only help you, but keep you invisible to other passengers. You don’t want to be known as “the one who holds up queues”. Neither do you want to be the only one standing in the aircraft looking for a place to keep your bag. People DO look at you.
Save yourself the embarrassment. And don’t purposely make yourself a target for swearing.