In today’s world of terrorism, planing ahead for air travel is a must to avoid the problems and delays that too often occur at major airports.
A generation ago air travel meant packing a suitcase and hopping aboard a flight. Once the reservations were confirmed, there were few details to attend to and airport security was virtually nonexistent. TSA screenings, body pat-downs, and luggage checks were unheard of.
Unfortunately, in today’s world of insecurity and increased terrorist activities, security checks are necessary if passengers and the plane they fly in are to reach the destination safely.
Air travel takes as much time as planning a wedding or a major vacation. Getting to the airport under adverse weather conditions is just the first of many stressful activities. Getting to the airport only to find the flight has been canceled fray many a traveler’s nerves, and that doesn’t include irate passengers that hold up check-in lines and others who refuse to follow airport rules. So many things can ruin the anticipation of flying.
While flying may not be the pleasant experience it once was, following some rules for preparation and travel can greatly reduce stress levels and make flying more bearable.
How to Plan for Stress Free Air Travel
Book in Advance
With today’s technology, booking online shaves a good deal of the time required to purchase tickets at a travel agent office. Tickets can simply be purchased and printed out. Those with special needs or disabilities require a good deal of lead time to make suitable arrangements so everything is prepared and ready for them once they arrive at the airport. Ensuring that visas and passports are up to date requires time as government bureaucracy moves slowly. Hotel reservations need to be booked. Thought needs to be given as to what must be packed for the journey.
Waiting for the last minute is no excuse today. Those who wait may miss their flights. In the past, it was necessary to arrive at the airport two hours in advance to allow time to get through the baggage check. Winter weather requires additional time to prepare for traffic and those snowstorms that naturally seem to arrive just as soon as the traveler steps out the front door. Today’s tighter security means adding an extra hour for the long lineups waiting to get past TSA screening.
Airport Security Rules
Security rules at airports are less tolerant of troublemakers and those who engage in emotional outbursts. Patience is a virtue when it comes to stress-free air travel. People often forget to empty their pockets of jewelry, keys, loose change, cell phones, and other electronic devices while they go through the luggage check-in counter. Despite the rules, some try to bring aboard aerosols, perfumes, and other liquids that are considered hazardous on every flight. Wrapped gifts and parcels must be unwrapped to ensure the contents are safe. This all produces more frayed nerves and further delays.
Business trips don’t require carrying aboard anything more than light luggage, but for cross country and international flights it may be necessary to bring on the appropriate luggage weight allowed aboard a flight. Packing light can avoid this problem. Carry-on luggage should only contain those items that will be needed during the flight. When traveling overnight, a light blanket and an inflatable pillow can help kill flight time while sleeping. Passport and relevant documents, money, and medications will prevent any problems aboard the flight. One necessity that many forget is to take along the clothes they may need once they get off the plane at the destination.
Air travel is uncomfortable. Sitting for prolonged periods in cramped seats severely restricts circulation in the legs. It can be particularly hard on passengers who have heart disease, diabetes, or other health problems that could lead to heart attack or stroke while flying. Loose and light clothing help ease tension and allow for better maneuverability.
Flight etiquette is something every air traveler should know about. The flight attendants have a job to do and they may not always tend to every traveler’s needs or resolve problems. Courtesy is paramount during the flight. Getting frustrated by a crying baby does not offer an excuse to resort to air rage.
The right preparations, a comfortable lead time, and following airport rules can make flying a pleasant experience again. Every air traveler should remember that the joy of the destination should outweigh any stressful experience they may experience before and during the flight.