While it’s never been easier to fly between cities all around the world, modern air travel can be frustrating. Customer service is not what it used to be, and airport security can test your patience. To help you out, we’ve put together 7 tips to make sure you arrive relaxed and travel stress-free.
1. No Crowding
This might seem old fashioned, but we promise – channeling your inner Emily Post is going to save you headaches along your journey. While waiting to board, if you’re in Group 4, step back and let the previous groups on the plane until your group number is called. Jostling for position can make you stressed, plus if you try to board before it’s your turn, well that’s just plain rude.
2. Keep Your Distance
Seats in Economy are not large. We know. If you are respectful of your seatmate’s personal space (as well as the folks sitting in front of you – keep the poking and pushing on the seatback to a bare minimum), you’re a good neighbor, contributing to the overall positive feelings of the passengers around you. If you let Junior kick the seatback or throw elbows in an effort to gain more territory, you’re contributing to a more irritated atmosphere. Be a good neighbor.
3. More Honey, Less Vinegar
In the same vein, remember to be polite when making requests of your flight attendants and gate agents. Strident, entitled demands will often brand you as a bad apple and get you nowhere. If you’re unhappy with a delay, take a deep breath and try not to unload on the messenger. The gate agent does not have the authority to delay or ground a plane, so making them aware of how important you are is not going to endear you to anyone. And when airline troubleshooting kicks in and the agent may have the ability to re-route some of the passengers from your plane, who do you think gets preferential treatment? Odds are not good that the guy who was calling names and swearing is going to get first dibs. Just be polite.
4. Tweet Carefully (and sparingly)
You may think that a pointed Tweet to the airline will shake things up and make them pay attention to your complaint. Here’s the thing. If you choose to use this immediate and very public forum, you better be 100% sure an egregious incident has occurred. Focus on the problem to be solved without getting vicious or demeaning as this won’t help your case. If you take a deep breath and a step back, you might reevaluate.
5. Take the High Road (especially if you’re a parent)
No one wants to sit next to a screaming baby. This is true. At the same time, a parent with an unhappy baby who is trying their best will have all but the most Scrooge-like travelers on their side. Most adults have been there. You’ve got sympathy, even if it feels like you don’t. Do not let the one crank on the plane ratchet up your stress level by engaging in an argument. A loudly complaining adult on a plane is acting like a child himself. Just take a deep breath, attend to your child and let the flight attendants deal with the complainer.
6. Avoid the weekend
Not only are mid-week flights going to ensure a more quiet, Zen airport experience, mid-week flights are often less expensive than those over the weekend. No crowds AND save more money? Done and done!
7. Know thyself
This one is important. If you’re a persnickety sort who likes things just SO, why leave anything to chance? The cheapest flight may not be the best value for you. If you’re not a morning person and don’t feel human until noon, don’t take the early flight just to save a few bucks. If being late to the party pushes all your buttons, why tempt fate with connecting flights? Just fly nonstop or allow for plenty of wiggle room especially if you are flying for an event. Sometimes travelers get caught up in the “cheaper at all costs” mentality. What seems like a deal months in advance when you’re sitting at home in front of your computer may not seem like such a great deal later on a hectic travel day.
Arm yourself with these simple tips and you, and those around you, will have a more relaxed journey! Do you have any more surefire tips? We’d love to hear in the comments below. Happy travels!