Air travel has become one of the most stressful occasions of the year, if you have ever had a bad experience in the past. Think about it? Every single one of us has had a trying moment when it comes to either getting to the airport, being told you have missed the check in time, getting stuck behind a long queue at security, rude staff at the airport or not being served your first choice of meal among others and then vowing to never travel again or at least until your next holiday.
I myself love travelling and thats why I have been such an enthusiast for the past 20 years and why I have now been in the industry for nearly 8 years. To me its a get away from all my problems on the ground and its somewhere I can really be where my head is allowed to be up in the clouds. I see people everyday that get onboard and they are travelling for some heartfelt and sympathising reasons like a member of their family has passed or they are being deported from the country or you are on a business trip… the list goes on but then I see people who have saved up all year to go on a holiday that is supposed to be the one time of the year they are the happiest! Yet there not?
Its time to get to the bottom of these issues and remember the reason we travel abroad and a big reason is, lets be honest people! Deep down you all love getting on a plane! Its not just a big metal tube, its a portal to another life, one you can enter and change everything about yourself for just that amount of time you need to be able to go home and take a fresh look at whats ahead of you in your normal life back in blighty!
Airlines know this, take a look at there adverts! They all want to give you the best journey of your life and will fight to the death just to get the opportunity to do that but if your not in the right frame of mind from the start your making it even harder to do that in the first place. When you get on the plane you have most likely filled your capacity bucket with so much stress from things that have happened the night before or in the morning at home, that when you board the plane and the flight attendant says good morning (Most likely to get a feel to how you are going to be for the rest of the flight) they get all your emotions at once and take a time portal through your life or get absolutely none at all along with a shrug and a boarding pass in the face. This then sets the tone for what could be a very long flight and its most likely going to create more issues as its all downhill from there.
Now to resolve the issues at hand in 3 simple steps…
Step 1 – The night before!
•Take another look at the airline / airport website your flying with / from and see what they are up to and sharing with the public. Browse there Facebook page or twitter page and see what people are talking about, get an idea of things they are doing well on and things they are not doing so well on. This will help you prepare for any shortfall in expectations. Some things they may not be doing so well on may actually be out of there control like air traffic strikes or an increased wait time at security due an increased number of flights that day. Maybe they was having system issues at check-in which is maintained by another company. No airline or airport wants these issues and the employees certainly dont want more stress at work but due to the age we live in everything is technology based and its certainly not perfected. With the increase in passenger traffic due to the cost of flying decrease its going to be busier at airports which they are trying to deal with the best they can.
•If you dont know where to check in or the general layout of the airport head onto there website and print off a map that they provide or just screenshot it from your phone. It will make life so much easier. Most airports though will have a good clear sign structure.
•Have your bags packed with the only items being left out being your essentials for the next morning like your toothbrush (for you men) and straighteners, tweezers and the little clothes you have left in your wardrobe because you have pretty much packed everything else (for you ladies or gents), or whatever it is that you know your going to need to use before leaving the house.
•If your driving or getting public transport leave plenty of time to reach the airport if that means setting multiple alarms every 5 minute for a whole hour starting from the time you actually want to get up, then do it.
•Have a back up plan for your journey. No one can control the weather or the roads or the people on them so something may come out of nowhere and stop you on your intended route and if you haven’t left much time then your going to be in a pickle.
AND MOST OF ALL GET EXCITED!
Step 2 – At the airport
• When you arrive double check where your check-in desks are, if you have left plenty of time to check in then dont panic! Remember the story about the tortoise and the hare? The tortoise took there time, wasn’t stressed and still won! Its so possible for you to win too! Airlines like easyJet have an app where they will push you notifications as you make your way through the airport and tell you what to do and where to go.
•Treat the staff nicely and they will give you the best service they can! If they look like they are having a bad day ask them how they are – staff just want someone to care about them too. Its not about who has paid money gets the best smile – everyone is human and thats just being decent right? If they still dont perk up then kill them with kindness as it will make you feel good about yourself and that noone can change your mood cause your going on holiday! If the airline has hired the right staff they will notice what your doing and instantly remember why they are there.Just cause one member of staff isn’t the best doesn’t mean the whole airline is the same. If they are then its time to change airlines in the future.
• Head to security and have your liquid bag ready to be taken out and everything in it is on or under 100ml – thats standard across the whole of the UK and most places in the world. If you dont have one then most airports will have staff handing them out. Laptops and tablets will need to be taken out too so have that next to your liqqy bag.
Once through security, your free to roam around for a little while if you have planned your time well, just remember to keep an eye on the screen to see what gate you need to go to. When it appears dont dawdle but dont run as there is plenty of time and the airport has worked out how long it takes to get from that screen to the plane, so they know your coming.
Step 3 – The flight
• Its time to board and this is the part I am the most experienced at – relaxing! Its more than likely that you have assigned seating so dont jump up as soon as they call the flight for boarding. The airline can clearly see your there waiting and want it to be a smooth but quick process just as much as you.
Wait to be called! Jetblue did a spot on example of what not to do in there series of Flight Etiquette videos. Take a look by clicking here.
Just dont get too comfortable…Click here.
So thats it follow them 3 steps and you should be all set to have a comfortable flight because your in a more relaxed and stress free mood. Once on remember these 10 simple rules for a comfortable flight…
- If your in a window seat you get the armrest and a wall, if your in the middle seats you get the middle armrests and if your on the aisle you get an armrest with the freedom of no one sitting on both sides of you.
- When ordering a drink be clear and ask for 2 to keep you going until the crew come round again. *Please drink responsibly
- Keep your blankets under your seatbelt if your sleeping so the crew dont have to wake you.
- If your having trouble with your In Flight Entertainment please let the crew know and dont sit in silence for 9 hours. Do remember though they may already be busy with another customer and will get to you as soon as they can.
- Please get up and have a walk about for a few minutes as its good for your well being but do remember that the crew need the space to work 🙂
- Try and keep the area around you clear so you feel clear in your mind
- If your first meal option isn’t available dont panic! Pick another option or politely ask the crew if they may be able to find something else.
- If you are delayed remember that the airline is being charge thousands of pounds with the aircraft being on the ground and the crew have lives too so your not the only one who wants to fix that plane and leave.
- If you want to recline in your seat, go ahead! You deserve it! Just remember to sit up right for the meal service and for taxi, takeoff and landing.
- Enjoy yourself! You have worked hard to be on that plane and the airline wants you to fly with them again and to be a loyal happy customer.
I hope this helps and you remember this when your next flying.
Thanks for reading!
Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are of the author’s only, not those of any airlines, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.