In the northern hemisphere, summertime is almost here. The time when everyone sprints to the airport to board a big silver bird and fly off to their exotic dream location. While it’s always worth the effort, a long haul flight can be the worst part of the holiday for some people. If you are looking forward to your holiday, but dreading your flight, make it easier on yourself with my tips below.
Book your seats
Tip number one is to book your seat. Yes, I know that they charge you extra for it. Let’s be honest booking your seat is one of the best ways to start your flight in a calm and relaxed manner. Why go for a luxury trip to Abu Dhabi, sand start it with a rugby scrum from you seat? It just doesn’t make sense. It also stops you from worry about whether you’ll be sitting with your travelling partners for weeks beforehand.
Get there at least 3 hours before your flight boards
Are you the sort of person, that screams up to the airport 30 mins before your fly is due to take off? If so, let’s get you out of that habit now. Make sure you get to the airport at least 3 hours before you plane is due to board. This is for a number of reasons.
Firstly, it gives you plenty of time to get your car sorted. Some airports like Atlanta airport parking, now offer a luxury service with valet help and luggage assistance, which can make the parking experience even calmer. Remember too that the car parks can be massive so you’ll need plenty of time to get from where you park your car to departures.
Next, with increased security checks it can take longer to get through security and passport control. Summer is a peak time for the airport, so there is going to be a large volume of people trying to get through the gates at the same time.
Thirdly it’s always better to have too much time, than too little. Having a bit of extra time will allow you to pop for a coffee or do a bit of shopping at your leisure, a much more relaxed way of starting your break.
If it will take you a long time to get to the airport, or if the flight is very early in the morning, you might wish to stay in an airport hotel. This breaks the journey up. This makes sure you are well rested for your flight and minimises any problems getting to the airport.
Weigh your luggage beforehand
Treat yourself to a cheap luggage scale, and weigh your suitcase before you leave. Why? Well to make sure that you are within your luggage allowance. There is nothing more stressful than having to open your suitcase, and rifle through all your underwear in front of people. Yes, we have all heard of the kind check in desk attendants that have allowed you on the plane with a few more pounds in your luggage. But this depends on the weight allowance of the plane in total, and you cannot guarantee this will happen.
Treat yourself to a neck pillow
Many operators, now provide you with a comfort pack, on a long haul flight. These include a toothbrush, toothpaste, socks and an eye mask for sleeping. I would also advise buying a neck pillow before you board the plan. Sleeping, for many people, is the way to get comfortably through a long haul flight. A neck pillow allows you to do this. It also gives you a bit of privacy and personal space, useful if you are sitting next to a stranger.
Don’t forget to take your headphones too. You can use them with the plane’s entertainment system, and let’s remember there are always some pretty good movies to help you pass the time. They are also great for blocking our noisy neighbours or crying children, as you never know who you will get sat near.
Wear layered clothes
Lastly, my essential survival tip is to wear layers of clothes on your long haul flight. Yes, i know you want to look good as it is the first day of your holiday, but if you’re going to be on a plane for 10 hours, you will also want to be comfortable. If you are flying from a cold country to a hot one, you will need something that is suitable for both climates. I also like to wear my glasses on the plane as the air conditioning can play havoc with my contact lenses.