Last week I was on a plane every day Tuesday-Friday. First was a business trip to Kalamazoo and back. Then it was off to Chicago for a blogger event.
I’ve never spent more time in airports my entire life and I have to admit, I kind of liked it.
Since launching this blog at the end of 2012, I’ve taken more than 30 flights. I can easily remember when I first started to travel more, I felt awkward, out of place and unsure of myself.
What can I bring through security? Do I have to take off my shoes? What about my sweatshirt? How long will it take me to get the gate? Should I check a bag? Does it cost money?
Now, I’m cool, calm and collected. And the past 4 days have even given me more insight.
1.) ALWAYS check in online and ALWAYS check how much it is to upgrade!
I didn’t make my flight arrangements for either of these trips so I didn’t get the “check in now” emails. However, I purposefully used my confirmation number to check in the day before anyway. This makes arriving at the airport a breeze as you can go directly to security.
While online I also always check to see how much it is to upgrade to business or first class. Sometimes you can get a great deal! For example, I was able to upgrade to business class on my flight to Detroit for $19! I would have just assumed it was filled or an outrageous amount of money. In my opinion, 19 bucks is a small price to pay for a bit of extra leg room.
2.) Toiletries don’t need to be removed in security.
I was still pulling out my toiletries from my carry-ons through security until a nice agent in Baltimore told me it was unnecessary. She said, as long as everything is under 3 ounces you are good to go. That being said, I still pack all my toiletries in a clear bag and keep them toward the top of my carry on so I can easily pull them out if requested.
3.) Just say no to rollaways.
Seriously people, do you really think some of these humongous rollaways are going to fit in the overhead compartments? Just say no! Bring a back pack or a messenger bag instead. You will never get asked to check it and if there is truly no room in the overhead you can always put it under the seat in front of you. My favorite way to travel for short trips in an over-the-shoulder bag and my laptop in a sleeve. I can easily carry the laptop OR stuff it in my bag if I happen to go shopping or want to buy something at the airport.
Note: On some flights purses are now considered one of the two items you can bring on the plane, so skip the purse and just store your wallet in your carry-on.
4.) CHILL OUT!
My last tip is for all those people who stand at the gate the moment the attendant announces they will be boarding “soon” even though they are in zone 85.
I’m kidding of course, there is no zone 85, but seriously, what’s the rush? You are either going to wait at the terminal or ON the plane or even worse, in line waiting to get on the plane while people futz around with their oversized rollaways!
Listen, if you aren’t flying first class or zone 1, there is no point in rushing things. Chill out, people watch and then leisurely walk on the plane once everyone else is seated. If you follow my other tips you can then simply stuff your small carry-on under the seat, pull out your book and chill. That’s how I like to do it.
Any other seasoned travelers want to chime in? What’s your best airport/flight tip?