Some of you will have just returned from a Christmas vacation and many of you will soon be taking a winter vacation to somewhere tropical. For those just returning, I wish I had written this earlier. For those of you just getting ready to leave, this short article might be helpful.
Travel is stressful. Airline travel can be really stressful. Early departures, tight connections and all the preparation that is required to go on vacation can create tension and stress when it should be enjoyable. You ARE going on vacation…right? We just returned from Las Vegas. We had a really fun time….once we arrived. The travel portion was stressful. I am a worrier. I worry about everything, consequently, I am constantly asking my traveling party (all grown adults), “Do you have your passport?” (I was carrying mine in a pouch on a string around my neck like a seven year old unaccompanied minor).
From visits to some of the airline websites, I have compiled some information that may help alleviate some of that travel stress.
Booking your ticket – I generally book my travel through a local agency. Sue makes sure that if I have a connection, that I have enough time to make said connection. There is nothing worse than running through the airport screaming like the IKEA commercial lady, “Stop the Plane! Stop the Plane!”. Make sure you have enough time to make connections.
Weights & Measures - Go online and find out exactly what the airline allows for bag weights. If you go over the weight, expect to pay a fee. When you are online, also find out what is allowed for carry-on, or sky check and then pack accordingly. Weigh your bag on your home scale to see how heavy it is and adjust accordingly.
Using a measuring tape, give your carry-on bag a quick measure to ensure that it will fit in the overhead bin. I have a small rolling bag that doesn’t fit in the overhead bin because of the wheels. If I had measured it, I might have avoided the five minutes I spent trying to jam it in the overhead bin. I am sure that the Flight Attendant was thinking, “there is one on every flight…sigh”.
Be Early – Check in as early as possible giving yourself ample time to clear customs (international flight), go through security and find your gate. For example, the Air Canada website (www.aircanada.com) states that for domestic travel on their airline (within Canada), the recommended check in time is 1 hour prior to departure; the check-in/baggage drop off deadline is 30 minutes prior to departure; the boarding gate deadline is 20 minutes prior to departure. For international travel, you need to check in even earlier. These times vary with individual airlines….check their website!
Some additional travel etiquette tips that I have learned in my travels….
Su seatback, Es Mi seatback – Just because the seatback reclines a long way, doesn’t mean that you should recline it all the way. If I can see your hair plugs or hear the music coming out of your ipod ear buds because YOU HAVE RECLINED ONTO MY LAP – then perhaps it is a bit too far (see recent trip to Las Vegas).
Bag Ladies – Many of us carry large purses and we like to carry them over our shoulders. Unfortunately, when we board the plane with them over our shoulders, we tend to hit all the seated passengers on the head as we move down the aisle to our seat. Carry your bag in front of you.
We will eventually ALL get off the aircraft – The plane has reached the gate, but the door hasn’t opened yet. If you are in seat 37B, you don’t really need to get up and start retrieving your large carry on from the overhead bin. There is plenty of time and we will ALL eventually get off the aircraft.
They are not your enemy – Going through security doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Read the signs and follow directions. If you are unsure about something, check out the CATSA website before you travel (www.catsa-acsta.gc.ca).
Personal hygiene – I am impressed that you are committed to oral hygiene, but flossing your teeth while sitting next to me kinda grosses me out (really happened), likewise for clipping your toenails (didn’t happen to me, but would be equally gross).
SMILE – Everyone responds to a friendly smile and smiling is said to release endorphins, lower blood pressure and lower stress. Smiling is contagious!