Air Travel Made Easy: 10 Ways to Avoid Disaster and Plan the Perfect Trip

10 Ways to Avoid Disaster and Plan the Perfect Trip

Travel can expose us to different cultures, diverse styles of dress, beautiful sights, new and cherished relationships, and tantalizing foods! But for many, the mere thought of pulling out luggage, braving the airport, and surviving hours flying at 30,000 feet in a cattle car leaves them panicked.

Whether you are preparing for a family vacation, a bucket list adventure, a search for warmer climate, or a business trip—air travel can be daunting. What makes the difference? Preparation. Here are 10 tips for making your journey a smooth and smart experience.

Before you leave home

  1. Pack smart. Plan your trip wardrobe in advance and pack only the items you need. Select clothing and shoes that you layer and wear interchangeably. Opt for wrinkle-resistant fabrics. Invest in travel size items for personal grooming and an extra phone charger that lives in your luggage. Consider making a checklist to facilitate fast and stress-free packing. Prior to leaving home, place creams and liquids that you are carrying on the plane in an appropriate plastic bag. Print or download your boarding pass at home.
  2. Dress smart. Wear accessories, shoes, and outerwear that can be easily removed at the security check-point. Plane temperatures vary, so be prepared with light layers that you can adjust as needed. Respect your fellow travelers by being well groomed, including freshly showered and fragrance free. Casual, comfortable dress is appropriate—sloppy is not. You never know who you will encounter when traveling!

At the airport

  1. Arrive with sufficient time to check luggage, if needed, and survive security. Items that must be removed at security should be easily accessible in your carry-on. Have your ticket and identification ready to present to TSA. And be nice to the TSA!
  2. Travel delays? Be patient and kind. You are not the only one caught in the delay.
  3. In the boarding area, place personal items on the floor or in your lap; chairs are reserved for passengers if the boarding area is crowded.
  4. Avoid blocking the boarding area. Wait for your group to be called before you line-up to board the plane.

On the plane

  1. Disinfect your tray table, seat back pocket, and armrests. (I use Wet Ones.) I have seen people use the tray table as a pillow, a place to change a baby, and a place to store their used tissues! Proceed with caution.
  2. Be prepared with bottled water and a snack in case your flight is delayed or out of food. But please refrain from bringing food on the plane that has an odor.
  3. Stuck in the middle seat? Good news! You have the right to both armrests, but be kind and share that space as much as possible.
  4. Avoid pushing, pulling, and putting your feet—bare or not—on the seat in front of you. If you choose to recline your seat, make sure the person behind you isn’t eating or drinking; lower your seat slowly and only as far as needed. It is best to check with the person behind you before you lower your seat, but that is not always possible.

Above all, remember that we share a confined space when flying. Pack plenty of patience. Be thoughtful and remember that every action of yours impacts those around you. Follow these basic etiquette and civility guidelines and your next journey is guaranteed to be a smooth one.

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