Flying can be hazardous to your health – and by that, we don’t mean anything to do with a 70-ton metal beast with wings being able to stay up in the air! Of course, flying is the safest way to travel, but it’s getting on the plane that might send you totally insane. In today’s modern airports, there have been many changes over the years regarding the logistics of boarding planes, usually to do with passenger safety and security; but there’s also some other tips and tricks you can utilise to ensure you get from your front door to your holiday destination without tearing your hair out along the way.
We do our best to keep our carbon footprint down, but if you want to travel, flying is inevitable, so here’s some advice to keep you sane in an airport!
Preparation is key!
Packing the night before a trip might seem like it’s a good idea and it’s certainly better than packing on the day of a trip, but we like to be prepared well in advance. Pack a few days before, so if something was to go wrong in a worst case scenario you’ve got plenty of time to sort it all out. This includes not being able to find your passport at the last minute. Has this ever happened to you? You know where your passport is. It’s in the bedside drawer. You don’t need to check for it. Because you KNOW it’s there. That’s where it was the last time you saw it, so it stands to reason that that is where it still is. Except it isn’t there, and your flight is in a couple of hours! ARRRGGGHHHH! Believe us – this happens!
sure you’re fully packed, re-check and re-read everything, keep your documents safe and to hand. This will save you a real head and heart ache when you finally come to depart.
Pack like a pro!
Since we’re on the subject of packing and preparation, let’s also take a minute to mention how important it is to ensure your stuff is well packed up, and you’re not carrying anything you shouldn’t. You’ll be surprised how many times people are held up in airports because they’ve failed even the most basic of checks – so make sure that your luggage meets the requirements. Remember to check the limits for liquids you can carry on to the plane – because you don’t want security staff emptying out an expensive bottle of shampoo because you thought you could take a vat of it! Try to carry on only what you’re actually going to need for the flight, and check everything else in.
Make sure your luggage is secure too and not busting out all over the place – you’ll keep baggage handlers happy. Consider a unique and easily identifiable tag too – for when you’re searching for it at the other end and to prevent anyone making off with luggage that looks like theirs!
Arrive in time!
It’s all very well and good rocking up to a train station with 5 minutes to board and bundling yourself into your seat – but it’s just not that simple in airports is it? You can’t just waltz onto a plane and go! Security is super tight when flying, so you’ve got a whole host of hoops to jump through before you can relax, so ensure you arrive in plenty of time. This is especially true if you’re travelling with a lot of luggage and/or children! A general rule of thumb is to arrive at least two hours before departure, but nonetheless, you’ll still see people tearing through the airport with a look of horror on their faces as they wonder if they’re going to make the gate before it closes. Don’t be like those people – and you can smugly shop at leisure in the duty-free.
Go through Security like a boss!
Now here’s something long term and frequent flyers/travellers will know all too well. You can always pick them out when they’re waiting to go through customs and security – because they’re have taken their shoes, belts and jackets off WELL in advance! If you know what’s coming up in the security line, you can prepare for it and sail through with relative ease – but this process of negotiating an airport stresses out an alarming amount of people! Get ready to empty your pockets of everything and put it all in that little grey box that goes through the x-ray machine. Don’t forget that includes your phone! Follow the instructions on the signs as you approach your turn to go through, but generally speaking, you put everything but yourself through on that conveyor belt!
When in doubt – look well ahead of you in the line and see what other people are doing and figure it out. With a bit of common sense, you can boss it – and not hold up the line or cause yourself immense panic!
Once you’ve finished the rigmarole of security, you should – if you’ve followed our earlier advice – have arrived in plenty of time in the departure lounge. Now you can finally relax as you wait to board your flight. For many, this is their favourite part of the process, as you can read a good book, listen to tunes on your smartphone, or browse through the ridiculously expensive items in duty-free – even though they’re still duty-free! Many airports, of course, have departure lounge bars too – so holiday makers like to sit and chill with a drink before boarding. Don’t make the mistake of having too many and forgetting you’re actually flying though!
Whatever happens, try to do it with a smile on your face. You might come across many situations where tensions can rise, and if you’re going at it like a bull in a china shop you’re only going to make matters worse. Stay calm, keep smiling and be as pleasant as you can. You never know – you might even be upgraded to first class! The same applies when touching down at your new destination, as a smile can go a long way. Immigration and customs can pose problems and rising stress levels on both sides, but with a bit of thought and attention, you can sail through. Dress accordingly, be ready with travel documents, don’t make stupid jokes, and be respectful.
With a little bit of forethought, you can breeze through airports with minimal stress and get down to really enjoying your trip away. Watch out for those potential banana skins though, as it’s very easy to lose the plot when negotiating air travel, get in a screaming match with your loved ones, annoy everyone else on the plane, and generally cause a nuisance of yourself. We’ve all had experience of those people at the check in desk! We don’t want you to fall into that trap, so to recap and in a nutshell – be prepared, arrive in time, stay calm, smile and have fun! Let us know in the comments below if you’ve got any awesome tips for getting through an airport without raising your blood pressure, and remember – you’re going on your travels so turn that frown upside down!