I’ve been on planes more this year than I have any other year so far. I’ve learned what to love and what not to love about traveling. I try to be efficient and think I have my traveling ways down to a science (for the most part). I’ve spent a ton of time observing others who either don’t travel frequently, or don’t care to improve their travel processes. After many, many flights – here are some of my top travel tips (many of which have to do with having simple consideration for others):
- TSA Pre-Check is a MUST have if you are a frequent traveler. Check your credit card benefits, because some will reimburse you for the cost. The caveat here is that if you do have TSA Pre-Check, take time to understand the dos and don’ts. For example, you do not need to remove your laptop, nor do you need to take off your shoes. If you are in this pre-check line, you have been “pre-checked”. If you don’t know what you should be doing, and you didn’t read the requirements, you are holding up the people behind you. If you want to take your shoes off, remove your belt, take out your laptop – then skip pre-check and stand in the regular line.
- Whether using the boarding pass on your phone or the printed version, have it ready when you are in line to board the plane. The airline attendant will not let you on the plane without it.
- When you select your seat ahead of time, be thoughtful. If you like to get up several times during the flight, it’s probably best that you take an aisle seat. If you plan to sleep during the flight, I’d recommend the window seat. There’s nothing worse than sitting in the window seat and having to wake up the person in the aisle seat so that you can use the restroom. I’m sure they don’t love that either.
- Be prepared. If you are getting ready to board the plane and have a carry-on with items that you need during the flight, take them out before you get on the plane (or wait until after everyone is seated). I’ve seen people board the plane and then stand in the aisle while removing their headphones, magazines, etc. You are holding up people behind you that want to get on the plane to avoid flight delays from boarding.
- If you are bringing a carry-on with you, (at least) try to find space in the overhead closest to your seat. I have seen people board that are in row 30 but put their items in row 8. That’s extremely frustrating for the person in row 8 that now has to put their items in row 30. Walking backwards while people are trying to get off the plane is a nightmare. I’ve had to do it!
- I understand that airplane seats are not comfortable. Believe me! I cannot stand when I’m working on my laptop and the person in the seat in front of me slams their seat back into the “recline” mode and nearly breaks the screen of my computer. Be considerate of those around you.
- Do not rely on having Wi-Fi access. On three recent flights, I have paid for the internet access and it hasn’t actually worked. If traveling for leisure, download a movie or TV series in advance. If traveling for business, try to have work available on your desktop – that doesn’t require internet access.
With each flight, I learn another “tip” to add to my list. What are some of your recommended travel tips? Please share in the comments below or send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy flying the friendly skies!
–Jenna Fuchs, Director of Consulting