Hopping on a plane to go anywhere seems to grow more complex every day. New security procedures and safety considerations trigger a never-ending parade of rules and regulations. This article, the final in a series of six, can help you through the maze. Be sure to collect the entire series.
- Do you have trouble sleeping on an aircraft? Are you a nervous passenger? Pack some chamomile teabags in your carryon! Once the plane is in the air, ask a flight attendant for some hot water and steep a soothing cup of chamomile tea. It may help to lull you into a relaxed sleep.
- If you have connecting flights, make sure that your luggage is tagged to your final destination. This will save you the hassle of collecting luggage, getting through security, and catching your connecting flight.
- Rather than pay the steep fee for headphones, be sure to pack your own.
- Avoid that lethargic feeling - take a brisk walk or work out in the gym before heading to the airport. You will arrive feeling refreshed and ready to face the jostling crowds at your destination.
- Familiarize yourself with all the airport terminals you will be passing through during your trip. You can use the Internet to locate maps of airports. Study them a bit, and carry printouts with you while you travel. If you anticipate a time crunch between connecting flights, study the map carefully before you land so that you will know exactly where you need to go to catch the next plane.
- Airport restaurant food is far superior to what is served on the aircraft. Eat in the terminal before you board and during delays between connecting flights.
- Be conscious of where the emergency doors are located. Count the number of seats to the nearest exit so that you can find your way out in a smoke-filled cabin. Read the onboard information about safety procedures. Then relax! The chances of serious problems are very slim.
- Try to get an advance seat assignment when you book your tickets. This will lower the likelihood of being bumped.
- If possible, see if you can pack everything you need into one carryon. You will save time and bother, because you will be able to circumvent the checked baggage system (and the possibility of lost luggage).
- If you take anti-nausea medication, do so the minute you buckle into your seat. The drug needs time to get into your system before it can be of any benefit to you. Waiting until you start to vomit is too late!
- The most dangerous parts of any flight are take-off and landing. Try to book non-stop flights when possible. You save time and increase safety. Remember, though, compared to all other forms of travel, air is statistically the safest way to go.
- If you wear contact lenses, dry air in the cabin can irritate sensitive eyes. You may want to switch to glasses while you fly. If you do opt to stick with your contacts, ensure that they are scrupulously clean and that you keep them lubricated.
- Do not carry your tickets with you while you are out sightseeing and dining. They are important documents that should be treated with the same care you give your passport. If you do lose a ticket, report it immediately. It may take some time to replace, requiring you to pay for a second ticket up front (while you wait up to several months for a refund).
- To help very young children with pressure changes during descent, encourage them to chew gum or suck on a soother (or thumb).
(c) Copyright Kathy Steinemann: This article is free to publish only if this copyright notice, the byline, and the author's note below (with active links) are included.