Friday, August 23, 2013

Tips For Flying

So, during my travels I have been through many airports and have picked up a few handy tips...

Don't Travel With Drugs

Indonesia....the very big signs, as you enter the custom areas...."Death penalty for those who carry drugs."  Ok, point drugs!

Travelling With Carry On

Travelling with a carry on only needs a bit of preplanning.  It is convenient because you avoid having to wait around the turnstile for your bags, which have been carelessly tossed about by handlers, and you get to the customs line before anyone else.  Most airlines seem to allow a carry on plus another bag of some sort which supposedly holds a laptop or can be considered a purse.  Now, they might check the weight of the carry on but I have yet to be challenged about the weight of my "purse" so as long as you can carry a large bag of some kind (knapsack, carpetbag, beachbag) and make it seem relatively light, it can weigh fifty pounds and you probably won't be challenged.  When trying to just take carry ons, I always pack my "purse" with my super heavy items and keep the light stuff in the rolly bag.  Also, never let the cabin steward "help" you to store your bags and be sure to look very nonchalant as you toss it into the overhead compartment.  I took six trips with Air Asia on this adventure and had no problem just taking my carry ons...well, I did have to wear many layer of clothing and fill my "purse" to bursting to get my rolly bag down to the required 7KG in Malaysia...

Check in Online

Very important.  First of all, if you are travelling on a discount airline then they might actually charge you extra if you don't check in online (Ryan Air) and print your boarding pass (Air Asia).  But the real added benefit is that once you are at the airport you can go to a separate line to check in your bags and this line is always shorter.  Even if it is not well posted, just join the Priority boarding line or ask an attendant where to check in your bags if you have already checked in online.  Even if you haven't printed your boarding pass then the attendant will usually help.  I couldn't easily print boarding passes in my hotels so when I was in Asia, I used the self help terminals or went to one of the many document check desks and said that my bar code wasn't sent to my phone.  Everyone cheerfully printed my boarding pass and I avoided all long line ups.

Best Seats on an Airplane

There are many web sites available to check out the best seats on most aircrafts (  Usually, the seats at the exits have the most leg room but you need to be careful.  Some seats don't recline or have some other hidden issue.  Many airlines charge extra for premium seats and being the thrifty traveller that I am, I refuse to pay extra.  Here are some tips for getting good seats...usually, these will only work if you are travelling solo...

  1. Check in online as soon as available and switch your assigned seat to something more comfortable after checking what type of aircraft and doing a google search for best seats. (
  2. If taking a night flight and you want to sleep, pick a window seat so you can lean against it and not have your seat mates tripping over you to use the loo.
  3. If you plan on staying awake, or you know you are a frequent visitor to the facilities, pick an aisle seat, which also will give you a bit of stretching out space but may mean you are kicked a bit by fellow passengers walking up the aisle.
  4. When you check in, or are doing baggage check, be very friendly and politely ask if there are any "comfortable" seats available (this has worked for me many times!)
  5. Once you are seated on the plane, and everyone else has boarded, do a quick look around.  If there seems to be a better seat unoccupied (especially if there are three seats together with only one occupant) politely ask an attendant if you can switch so that your seat-mates will have more room.  This way you are selflessly thinking about the comfort of others and not yourself.  I did this on my last flight and was rewarded with an empty seat between myself and another fellow. After I moved, a couple of other passengers decided to move on their own without permission and were quickly reprimanded by the attendants and sent back to their original seats.
  6. If you end up being stuck with a lousy seat or too close to crying babies, small children, or kickers try to make the best of it and look forward to your destination.  Heck, maybe even play with the kids a will pass the time.
  7. If you are stuck next to a very large, sweaty man, who was probably returning from a sex trip to Thailand and spends the whole ten hour flight watching movies filled with kids, like Cheaper By the Dozen, just put your ear plugs in and don't make eye contact!

When entering the custom lines, go as far to the left as possible, closest to the line reserved for flight attendants, families, people with disabilities...if there is no one in the line in the aforementioned categories, they will often take people in the next line.

Bring Small Trinkets

I took a total of ten flights on my last trip and despite having some questionable items in my bags (bone carvings from some unidentified animal) I was only pulled aside once to have my bags checked.  This was in Malaysia.  The guard began pulling things out of my bags but quickly discovered my little stash of Canada lapel pins.  She looked at them and then pointed at the pins and then at herself.  I quickly nodded and took the bag of pins from her.  I took one out, along with a Hamilton pin, and handed them to her.  She smiled and totally stopped searching through my bags.  She helped me put everything back together and motioned that I was free to go.  As I was organizing myself, I saw her showing off her booty to her fellow customs agents and pointing to me.  She was smiling profusely and the other customs persons were looking very jealous!  I was actually a bit surprised that my little Canada pins were causing so much commotion and didn't really think about it as I reached into my pocket and pulled out a handful.  I went back to the customs lady and handed her the pins and motioned that she should give them to her work mates.  One of the best things I will remember from my trip is those guards waving and smiling at me as I walked away through the terminal! 

No comments:

Post a Comment

I would love to hear from you!