Tips for Stress Free Flying
So you’ve made it to the gate. Duty-Free in one hand, coffee in the other. People are already stood up queuing to board, your personal space is being invaded from every angle and the aircraft isn’t even here yet. Airports are a stressful place.
Here are my top tips to make getting on your flight MUCH less stressful.
In Flight Essentials
When I travel, there are the essentials I know I am going to need during the flight.
Water, snacks, iPad, noise cancelling headphones, book, iPhone, lip balm and a power pack. For a short-haul flight, that’s about it.
My top tip is put what you can in your coat pockets, and get the rest out of your bag at the gate while you're waiting to board. This enables everyone to get on, stow their bags quickly, and take their seats. That way you’re not the person stood blocking the aisle digging for your headphones whilst people huff and puff behind you.
Track your aeroplane
FlightRadar24 is a genius app. You can type in your flight number and it will tell you exactly where your aircraft is. This will save you standing up and joining the mile-long queue of people at the gate when the aircraft isn’t even on the ground yet. You can relax, enjoy your coffee and be the smart flyer, sitting cosily.
You get to the gate, they’re checking your boarding pass and they say your hand luggage is being tagged for the hold because there is no room in the cabin. NO! IT IS THE END OF THE WORLD. Stay calm, it is not. I have been told by so many ground staff that some passengers are often very rude and aggressive when told this. Yes, it is inconvenient, but what do you really need from your bag on a short flight? Only the essentials, which you already have in your pockets if you’ve followed my advice, so just embrace it. Look on the bright side you now don’t have to lug it into the overhead locker and it will be there waiting for you on the carousel at your destination, no biggy.
IMPORTANT - if this does happen to you and you have medication, for example, EpiPens or baby formula that you need for the flight, make sure you tell them and remove it so that you have it with you and it does not go in the hold where it is unreachable.
Get your in-flight food first
I usually take food with me, either make it at home or buy it in departures. However if your partial to buying food in the air, on some airlines you can preorder your inflight food. A must for those longer flights. Not only will you get your food FIRST onboard but it avoids the situation where they have run out of your favourite bacon roll and your life depends on it. Can’t recommend this enough if you are travelling with children, another way to reduce the stress of travelling.
Most airlines have a frequent flier programme, usually a yearly subscription which allows you priority boarding, allocated seating, extra hand luggage allowance etc. Well worth it if you’re flying a lot. easyJet have their easyJet plus membership which does just that. Hello laptop or handbag.
NOTE - if you are an easyJet plus customer and you don’t board first when asked, you might find that when you rock up last there is now no room for your extra bags. You must board first, when instructed, to guarantee that there is room for your bags.
Hand Luggage Policies
Find out what your airline allows, and stick to it. If like with easyJet, it says one bag, then it means one bag. Not one bag and a backpack, not one bag and a laptop, just one bag.
As for the size limit, your bag must not exceed these limits when packed. So no stuffing your holdall until it is bulging at the seams. This size includes handles and wheels. If it does not easily fit into the bag size checker by the gate, there is often an on the spot charge to check it into the hold (£50 with easyJet).
Reduce your hand-luggage by wearing your big jumper or clumpy shoes, pack the small stuff!
Cabin space is limited. On the A319/A320 there is room for up to 70 bags. These aircraft have between 156-186 seats so you can see why they have to stick to the policies in order to fit as many of your bags on as possible. So again, when ground staff say there is no room, don’t blame them they are just following procedures and doing their job!
Go hands-free if you’re with Three
Dragging a cabin bag through the airport, unpacking it at security and then rushing for locker space can take all the fun out of travelling. Most airlines will let you check it in for a small fee at the check in desk, leaving you free to peruse duty luggage free. easyJet has a Hands-Free option which is free for Three customers and £6 otherwise.
Simply drop your cabin bag off at easyJet Plus Bag Drop, walk past all those unpacking at security, board the aircraft early or at your leisure and your bag will be delivered amongst the first on the carousel. You will also get a free tote bag from our partners at Three, perfect for your onboard essentials.
Getting off the aircraft
This is my boyfriend’s absolute pet hate. You land and everyone jumps out of their seat as soon as the seat belt signs go off. Everyone wants to get off as quick as possible. However, getting up as soon at the seatbelt signs go off, and all trying to all retrieve bags from the overhead locker at the same time, does not work. You are not going to get off any quicker, so my advice is sit and chill, when the row in front is about to go then it makes sense to stand up!
The blue highlighted words are links to all the relevant websites. I hope these tips will make your next boarding experience that little bit easier. Airports are funny places where you often feel like you have no control over what's happening and you’re just being herded around. If you’re still left wondering please do tweet me your questions.
Just remember, preparation is key.
Safe Flying x