I have stories, overnight layovers, cancelled flights, security snafus… but we all know flying is now closer to bus transport than boat, so here are some random ideas to make your trip easier…
Have a “uniform” when you fly. You’re going to have to remove your shoes, wear slide offs & socks. Not sandals. Wear pants with pockets (guys) or past knee skirts (gals). Wear a fabric belt with a plastic cinch. Cover your arms – the shared armrest is uncomfortable enough without skin on skin contact. Don’t wear a hat unless it’s a religious thing and for everyone’s comfort check some of your luggage. If you’re traveling for business they should cover it, if you’re traveling for pleasure you should have brought less stuff. Getting away with carrying on more screws up the overhead luggage compartment and usually requires the flight attendant’s time. If they have to touch a bag because you used too much space overhead or are running late – if I wrote the rules they’d “check them” by tossing them onto the runway. You’re not winning – you’re being selfish.
Remember it’s not personal. Plane cancellations, delays, lost luggage… It may very well have been accidental neglagence, but odds are, it’s nothing personal. They aren’t trying to ruin your day specifically – they probably are as irritated as you are – but while you tangent about your importance, they have to stay professional. You may be very important in your office 5 miles from the airport, but they are not your employees, or your spouse, or your aging mom or dad, or your kids. Screaming about an engine that doesn’t work won’t get you to your destination faster (it may even work the other way because you made it personal).
Expect to be treated poorly. Yep, expect long lines, line cutters, to sit next to the baby or the fat guy in a muscle shirt that reads bathing suit inspector sweating vodka through his sunburned arms (in cargo shorts & sandals). That way when someone who took a little time to look good offers you some Sprite you can thank them sincerely. My 10 year old has taught me that flying isn’t about transport, it’s an adventure. That’s code for ‘accept less, enjoy the basics more.’
Be nice. The Flight Attendants have heard every joke possible. Don’t try to be funny. Sarcasm takes time, so don’t use it. And y’all I know there are some beautiful women and men on the plane (and uniforms add to the allure), but let’s make this the one flight the one that DC & his friend Lucy can get through without having to feel creeped on. Say please and thank you, and unless it involves near death, fire or a biohazard don’t ping the little button. It is not there for refills. They have a pattern, don’t interupt the flow.
Fly, then buy. Two of my favorite frequent travelers have this figured out. They both pack 2 days of clothes, a swimsuit and a towel (I’ll get to that) in their carry on. One arrives at the hotel with packages delivered (clothes, toiletries, etc.). The other flies a day in advance and shops for what she needs. Both ship stuff home. It sounds “extreme” but it’s a lot cheaper than paying for a checked bag.
Don’t panic (pack a towel). You’d be surprised how often you will use a towel packed in gallon zip-tight bag.
Don’t share your pain. Nothing good comes from complaining to the people around you. Even if they agree it starts to build anxiety. Otherwise it makes people uncomfortable.
Be attentive, don’t draw attention. Listen to the overhead announcements, don’t keep going up to the gate and asking, “now?”
Airplane mode. You know how your electronics don’t work like you expect? Be the same way. Unless you fly almost daily, you’re not going to get that report done. Don’t get me wrong, I once finished a PowerPoint presentation in the back of a king-cab pickup, but not on a plane it is neither comfortable enough nor uncomfortable enough – that’s the point
Now, here is my last bit of advice, on the last leg, figure out a way to move up into first class. Get bumped, pay the fee, or just ask, whatever (don’t pass the barrier w/out permission). If you’ve done the above, you should be in good shape. The reason is, even if it’s a 45 min. flight, it is so much better. I mean redeem your trip better. The service is better, the seats are an introverts distance apart, and when you get out earlier it’s just all good. I flew through 15 hours of hell, and 45 minutes of free frosted beverages later, I had the world on a string.