Traveling by air gets a bad rap these days, with extensive security measures, long lines and stacks of new fees. Though this can seem daunting, there is still a mystique and excitement about boarding an airplane and soaring through the open skies. Don’t let the hassles of planning your trip and navigating through the airport take away from an otherwise enjoyable journey. Read on for some tips on how to have a relaxing, stress-free trip.
When looking at the options for which flight to book, don’t let price be the only consideration. Choosing a nonstop flight can make all the difference in how successful the entire travel experience will be. You will only have to board one flight, reducing the chances of missed connections at connecting airports. It can also often cut your traveling time in half. If you are traveling with young children, or older people with disabilities, having a nonstop flight is even more crucial. Book early in order to ensure available seats on nonstop flights. You will often pay the same rates as for flights with connections if you plan ahead.
When you purchase your airline ticket, make sure that you book the reservation in the exact name that appears on your identification, which will generally be your driver’s license or passport. Even the name is not identical, you will very likely experience delays at airport security checks, which could cause you to miss your flight. You can even be denied boarding altogether. Do not use nicknames or shortened versions of your actual legal name.
If you decide to bring carry-on bags on board the aircraft, check to ensure that they meet all regulations. This will include size restrictions and limits on the number of items you may bring into the passenger cabin. Typically, you are allowed one small carry-on bag, which must adhere to specific sizes dictated by your airline, as well as a purse, laptop or other small bag. If you do not meet the specified allowances, the bag will be taken from you and tagged for checked baggage. Board as early as you can, so that overhead bins will not fill up; if they do, you will also be required to check your bag.
Arrive at the airport earlier than recommended. This will give you plenty of time for a trouble-free experience with parking, checking in, navigating security lines and finding your gate. Most importantly, it will put you ahead of the crowds who will be arriving for your same flight. Go through security as soon as you check in and get your boarding pass. There will be plenty of time for coffee and shopping, or whatever else you want to do with the extra time, once you get to your terminal.
If you do have a connecting flight which lands in another city on the way to your final destination, ask before you deplane which terminal you are landing in and which one your next flight departs from. Flight attendants will often have this information before landing. Look at the inflight magazine for airport terminal maps, generally found in the back pages of the magazine. This can help you to plan how to get to your next plane, which will be particularly helpful if the flight is landing later than planned.
Keep these things in mind as you prepare for air travel, so that you can relax and enjoy the trip. Traveling by air can still be fun for everyone, with a little planning and insight into how the system works.