Flying is stressful. Flying is very trying on your patience and sanity. Flying is harder when you’re tall. I’m 6’5″ and do not fit well into standard airline seats. The joys of having the seat in front of me smashed into my knees. The inability to move or reach to the floor and the lack of armrest space makes for a miserable travel experience. I’ve had the good fortune to be able to attend a couple of family functions requiring air travel this summer and as a result I’ve compiled my thoughts on flying.
Be Flexible if you can.
Sometimes taking a later flight in the day will result in upgrades (to first class) or a voucher for a free flight later. I was once given a first class upgrade just for volunteering to take a flight leaving an hour later. I got on my original flight but was bumped to First Class as a thank you for my flexibility and offer to move back.
Sometimes you’ll get an empty seat next to you. Sometimes a person in a more desirable seat will offer to switch with you due to their poor planning. ((Usually being separated from a family member.))
If you have the opportunity to choose your seat, do so as soon as possible. On a recent flight US Airways emailed me the moment we could choose seats. As a result Annie and I snagged Exit Row seats on both legs of our flight to and from Las Vegas. It was an infinitely better experience flying without the seat in front of me smashed into my legs.
TSA is just doing their job. If you relax and let them do their jobs and be polite and agreeable everything will go smoother. I had the pleasure of having my bag searched three times on a recent flight because the TSA checker couldn’t find a small fold-up screw driver that could have been a knife. I was patient. I was polite. I made my flight. It was annoying but not the end of the world and stressing out wouldn’t have helped the situation.
Sign up for clubs or rewards with an airline you fly often or use a credit card with airline perks to book your travel. That being said, do **not* sign up for the credit card they offer you on the plane. The interest is sky-high and there’s always a catch to those thousands of miles they offer at sign up.
Find the terminal maps and gate locations before landing or even leaving. Knowing where you need to get to after you land can save you some frantic minutes searching for a map.
Travel is unpredictable. Take it all in stride.
Refreshments are limited. Buy something on the ground once you’re through security to take with you. Though be aware of the liquid rules and buy something after you get through security.
WiFi on the plane? Find out if there’s a free promo going on.
Track your flights with apps like Trip-It to assure they’re on time.
Find gates and connections before you land.