Being seated, with the care of cows going to slaughter, in a metal tube flying at an altitude of 11 300 metres (37 000 feet), can be stressful. But for most of us, it’s the activity that surrounds the actual flight – luggage, getting to the airport, registration, security and passport control, then getting to the destination – which causes the majority of the stress. So here’s some tips and tricks to make your next flight more enjoyable.
Baggage: Before Departure, Check the Rules of Your Airline – Survive a Long Flight
Before your departure, check the airline’s rules regarding luggage. Depending on the airline different rules apply. Perhaps they allow a different size than you’re used to; maybe carry-on luggage is limited to 7kg, which means that you will have to choose between your laptop and your camera; maybe your airline requires that you buy space in the overhead bin hold to your belongings; you may have to pay to check-in that luggage!
Survive a Long Flight – Travel Light!
No matter the rules about luggage – travel light! The smaller your luggage, the easier it is to travel. Minimize the amount of clothes you transport; two pairs of shoes is an absolute maximum; drop the hair dryer; avoid the pitfalls of unnecessary travel gadgets; prioritize essential items.
Another long haul flight essentials tip is to reduce the amount of things you carry to a bare minimum and look for regulatory carry-on luggage. Some suitcases were created to fit exactly the regulatory dimensions of carry-on luggage, which means that you will never need to wait at the carousel upon arrival and that airlines will never lose your luggage… unless you take off from Japan.
Survive a Long Flight – Wear Proper Clothing
Ladies, avoid heels, since you will have to walk a lot. Also, remember taking off your shoes on an airplane is considered rude.
Gentlemen, avoid wearing a suit, since it will inevitably be rumpled on arrival.
Please, don’t wear a hat!
The priority here is to be comfortable and warm. Since the temperature in an aircraft is almost always too cold, don’t forget your sweater! In addition, if you have the luxury of sitting at a window seat, you’ll probably want to roll your sweater and use it as a pillow.
Warning: when you buy a ticket that includes a layover, make sure you have enough time to move from one place to the other.
Do you need to cross borders even if you are in transit? Will you need to change terminals, and what is the distance between them? For example, the distance between terminals at Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle is immense, and transport to-and-fro is difficult. What if your flights are at two different airports in the same city? For example, London has five airports, and they’re all very far from each other!
The majority of airlines allow you to check-in online 48 hours prior to departure. If you only have a carry-on, once you have arrived at the airport, you can go directly to security!
Security: Step Out Of the Line
Make sure you’re ready to face security.
When asked about prohibited items, make sure you have none in your carry-on… it’s simple.
The majority of airport security facilities ask you to take everything out of your pockets, take the liquids of less than 100ml out of your bag, put your laptop in a separate plastic bin and, in the United States, that you take off your shoes.
Here’s how to reduce the stress of this step: take a few plastic bins and step out of the line. Then, take the time it takes to empty your pockets, take off your belt, open your bag and remove the contentious objects, then return to the queue with your well-organized bins.
A large bottle of water
In an airplane, the air is drier than the Sahara desert. Our body dehydrates at an unparalleled rate. In addition, airlines don’t give water to passengers on flights of less than six hours and will try to sell you a bottle of water at a ridiculous price once you’re in the air. It is therefore essential to carry a big bottle of water with you on the flight.
Tip: Before you get to the airport buy two bottles of 500 ml. Empty them – drink the water or throw it out – and take the empties with you through security. Then, fill the bottles with water from fountains past securtity doors.
Something to eat
It’s sad to say, but the majority of airlines no longer give you anything to eat. Check with the airline or on the website airlineratings.com if you are entitled to a meal. If not, don’t forget to get one, because the prices for food on a plane are up 924% more expensive than on the ground…
The first step on arrival is passport control. If it is necessary, make sure you have the right visa and have filled out the necessary documents correctly. And above all, be patient!
You might be out of the plane, but our long haul flight essentials are not over. The airport can be an important resource to make sure your trip goes well. For example, you can withdraw money in the local currency from an ATM, you can purchase a SIM card for your smartphone and you can use the tourist information desk if you need advice!
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