Want to travel like a pro? Here are a few things that will make your trip more pleasant, and both you and your fellow travelers more comfortable:
IN THE AIRPORT
1. If you’re traveling with a lap-top, pack it in a way that makes getting it out and back into your bag easy. Don’t slow down the security line – and your own trip – by fussing with lots of packing and unpacking. I can almost get my computer in and out of my bag without coming to a complete stop. The goal should be to comply with all requirements while keeping the line moving at a steady pace.
2. Choose what you wear on the plane for comfort, style — AND how quickly it will get you through the security line. Wear shoes that slip off and on easily – not lace up boots, for instance. If you don’t need a belt, don’t wear one – you’ll have to take it off for TSA. Empty your pockets of anything you don’t need. Plan ahead to make your departure less stressful.
2. The line for security is definitely one of the hassles of travel. Start preparing for the TSA inspection BEFORE you get to the conveyor belt. Take off your shoes and coat as you’re moving through the line. If you have glasses on your head, put then in your bag. Keep moving – make sure your bags and trays are moving on the belt as you move toward the scanner.
3. If you have to use escalators at the airport, DON’T stop at the top or bottom! Remember there are people behind you! If you need to check for directions, etc., move away from the escalator before you do it. This also applies if you’re walking in a crowd — don’t suddenly stop to check your ticket. Move to one side and merge, just as you would on a highway.
4. Get to your gate BEFORE you stop to buy snacks or magazines. Sometimes the gate numbering systems are not what they seem. Sometimes getting to your gate takes a lot longer than expected. Don’t miss a flight or lose your seat because you thought you were close, when you weren’t!
ON THE PLANE
5. If your carry-on is a back pack, PLEASE remove it before you get on the plane! For aisle-sitters, there’s nothing worse than getting a surprise head slam from an unsuspecting traveler’s backpack while he turns to check the seat numbers or talk to his friend.
6. Put your carry-on bag in the overhead bin, wheels first. Not only will it save your flight attendant from having to reposition it later, it creates room for other traveler’s bags and makes it easier for you to remove it later.
7. Once you’re in flight, and you decide to move about the cabin, be considerate of those around you. Don’t grab the seat back in front of you with overt force – you’re shaking the seat of the person in front of you. Don’t slam your tray table up, for the same reason. And it doesn’t seem it would need to be said, but it has actually happened to me – don’t use the head of the person in front of you for leverage!
8. Be pleasant, but don’t start telling your life’s story to the person sitting next to you before you’re sure he or she actually wants to talk. Signs that say he may prefer a quiet flight? He’s opened a book, magazine or laptop. Her eyes are closed. Etc., etc., etc. Seriously – I’m amazed by how many people don’t get that!
9. Invest in luggage with “all-wheel-drive”. In other words, get the suitcase and/or carry-on that can roll in any direction, not just forward and backward. If you haven’t done this yet, you’ll be surprised by how much more convenient this makes things. You can find inexpensive versions at discounts stores like TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, etc.
The main thing to remember is this; have fun on your trip – but be serious while you’re getting on and off the plane. Be aware of your surroundings and considerate of your fellow passengers.