A bad flight experience is something everyone wants to avoid. And yet, we’ve all been there. Let’s face it we are all familiar with endless flight delays, overbooking, long lineups, turbulence, cranky fliers arguing over checked luggage and people who forgot, or lost, their documents. And don’t forget the person who actually boarded the wrong flight. WHO is that guy and why is he always on my plane?
I could go on, but I won’t. You get the idea.
With all the requirements for security checks, carry-ons, and more, you need to have your ducks in a row when you’re taking a plane. All the previous incidents I just mentioned can ruin your good time and make for lots of frustration, so don’t be that person! Nobody wants a bad flight experience, so here’s how to avoid one.
This is basically a lesson about what not to do.
DO NOT Make These Mistakes!
Avoid a Bad Flight Experience
Remember all those ducks you need to have in a row? Start wrangling them before you get to the airport. I’ve found that the better prepared I am before a trip, the smoother the trip. So let’s get into what not to do when planning a flight and how you can avoid a flight that feels like the Ninth Circle of Travel Hell.
Arriving Too Late
Give yourself plenty of time to clear security, check bags, navigate the masses, and, of course, give yourself a buffer against passengers who aren’t prepared. I know, I know, waiting at the airport isn’t fun on any level, but it’s far better than being rushed or in the worst case scenario, missing your flight.
True Story. One time I was heading to a business event in Calgary and I arrived after they had closed the doors to the plane. Nightmare. I had to be there and had booked the flight on my expenses to further a relationship with a large consulting client. No other flights that day would get me there on time. However, I was able to switch fast and fly from Hamilton instead. My late arrival at the airport meant that I had to foot the cost to get to Hamilton instead. $150 for transportation. Bad move, but I made it. Do not do that!
Mistakes that cost me money are ones I learn from every time. When I get hit in the wallet I get angry, so I won’t ever make that faux pas again.
Forgetting Important Documents
Bring all the important documents you need for your flight. Check, recheck, then check again. You’ll want to ensure you have all your passes, passports if applicable, and any other paperwork you need handy and ready to go when you arrive at the airport.
In fact, I also have my companions run through the checks with me before we go. Our checks go like this: Passports, boarding passes, medicine and any other medical needs or materials. Suitcases, doors locked and other domestic details are all taken care of by both adults on my home as well.
Not Preparing Beforehand
One of the best ways to have a bad flight experience is lack of preparation. If you can do it before you get to the airport, do it. Print out passes from home, weigh your luggage to ensure it is at, or below, the weight limit for checked baggage, and of course, keep those documents handy. Preparedness also includes checking in as early as possible and ensuring that you have little to no objects on your body that you’ll have to take off for security checks.
Typically I double check everyone’s carry ons because kids and teens don’t always understand or do a thorough job of checking their own luggage. One time we got held up briefly at Porter’s Billy Bishop Airport in Toronto because a child had scissors in her backpack and didn’t realize they would be removed. Another time one cried over a water bottle that was confiscated. It should have been emptied but it was full of water and we were in a rush.
I’d like to say that we now have a better system, because the kids know what to expect, and most times that is true.
Being Split Up on the Plane
This falls into the Be Prepared category, as well. While planning your family trip, always check seat assignments to ensure that you and your family are seated next to each other or at least as close as possible.
If you’re prone to hangriness or traveling with kids, always remember to pack snacks. Many airlines have moved away from providing in-flight snacks, and those that do charge you an arm, a leg, and your first-born to get them. It’s far better to bring snacks that are allowed with you. Packages of Goldfish, pretzels, water bottles – all make the cut with me. If I am caught I buy something in the airport and carry it onto the plane or train. Food options are dismal on trains and planes.
Booking Close Connections
While non-stop flights are always preferred, sometimes it just isn’t feasible or you can’t pass up those big savings for not going non-stop. Whatever the reason, if you book a trip with connecting flights, give yourself a nice, healthy window of time between flights. It allows you to stretch your legs a bit, and it also takes away the stress of sprinting across the airport to make your next flight. (Especially when traveling with kids or seniors. Not going to work)
Not Drinking Enough Water
If you let yourself get dehydrated, you’re asking for a bad flight experience. Staying properly hydrated ensures that you avoid nasal and pharynx irritation on your flight, have less ear-popping, and helps ward off colds. A properly hydrated body just works better, so keep your body working in top form on your flight.
Load the water bottle for your flight, after you pass through security of course.
Avoid These Missteps to Avoid a Bad Flight Experience
Flying is incredibly convenient for long trips, and it’s necessary for business travel often. But it can also be a headache if you aren’t prepared. To ensure you have a great flight, avoid the mistakes listed above. If you get yourself and keep yourself organized and remember to push that water, you should have no trouble avoiding a bad flight experience. In fact, if you avoid these, you’ll probably have a smooth flight.
If you liked this post, then you might enjoy Cruise Wreckers too.