Steps For Stress Free Flying
Traveling can be a stressful event and airplane travel is tops on the list of the stressors that we experience on what is supposed to be an exciting and fun event.
A few simple steps can remove most of the stress of air travel.
Things to do before travel day:
1. Pack your bags
Make sure all your packing is done at least the night before and that you have all your bags in one central location for easy and complete loading into your car or taxi.
2. Organize you paperwork
Have all your travel paperwork organized and in one central location.
3. Make a checklist
Make a checklist of all the things you want to check to secure your home before you leave and walk through your home checking off each item. Do this at least an hour before you leave your house. Do this and you will never worry if you left your stove on or any of the other little nagging worries you might have while on your travel.
4. What about you pets?
Be sure your pets are taken care of. Make any kennel reservations well in advance of your trip to be sure you have a reserved spot at a kennel you trust.
5. Be informed
Call the airport and airline the day before to see how early the recommend you should arrive for a smooth, stress free check in. Airports like Los Angeles International (LAX) can be very busy. If they tell you to arrive three hours early and you arrive just 30 minutes early, you will probably feel great stresses about missing your flight. Also ask if there are any parking restrictions you should be aware of. Ever since 9/11 there may be car searches before you can park.
6. Check-in online
If you are just taking carry on luggage, many airlines let you pre check in right on the internet 24 hours before your flight. That means that you can get and print out boarding passes right from your home. And when you get to the airport, you can go right to the gate and your boarding area without getting into the long check in line. If you have to check baggage, you will not have this option available to you. But if not, it is a great time and stress saver.
7. Leave home early
Leave home in plenty of time to anticipate busy traffic or accident situations. If it is an hour trip to get to the airport, you may want to leave an extra half hour early just in case there are road problems.
8. Be prepared to wait
If you are checking in bags, be prepared to wait in line. If it is a busy time of day at the airport and you are traveling with a popular airline from New York – John F. Kennedy (JFK), there could be a significant line. Don't worry about how long the line is. As long as you arrive when the airport recommended, you will have plenty of time to make it to the front of the line and get checked in. It may look impossible but it will happen so just relax and be patient.
9. Double check your carry-on baggage
Make sure that any “carry on” baggage really is carry on. Otherwise you may get stopped at the gate and have your bag taken away to be stowed with the regular luggage. It will delay and stress you. And it will delay everyone else.
10. Boarding the plane
When boarding the plane, find your seat and stow your carry on baggage quickly. And then sit down and stay out of the way. There are lots of people trying to do the same thing and we've all encountered the folks who block the aisle for a long time fussing about something or other while a harried line of boarders is forced to wait. You don't want to be one of those people. So just get your business done quickly and efficiently and sit down. You'll have plenty of time to get up once the plane is in the air.
11. Changing planes
If you have to change planes, it can be a real challenge, especially in the larger airports. If you know the gate you will have to go to, ask the flight attendant for advice to reach that gate quickly. In some airports – like Atlanta – a Delta connection can be a huge adventure taking 30 minutes to get from one gate to another. If you know in advance how you have to get to your next airplane, it will be much less chaotic when you get off the first plane. And a much more relaxing walk (or run) to your next gate.
12. Getting out of the plane
When the plane lands, patiently wait your turn. Whether you push or just wait, you usually won't get off the plane any quicker. People tend to let the folks in the rows before them get up and go in a pretty orderly fashion. Trying to rush it will only get your blood pressure up and will not be looked upon favorably by your fellow travelers.
13. Traveling with carry-on baggage only?
If you just have carry on baggage, you have successfully completed a pretty stress free flight.
14. Wait for the checked baggage
But if you have checked baggage, there is one more step – waiting for the luggage. Just pick a place around the conveyor belt and wait. Expect your bag to be the very last one to come out and be pleasantly surprised when it comes out early.
By following these simple steps, you will find that your stress levels from your air travels will be much less. A well planned trip agenda ensures that those little stress points stay little stress points and don't balloon into a full blown crisis. Try it any you will be amazed how just a small amount of up front planning dramatically improves the enjoyment of your travel.
Jiří Parimucha, May 12, 2011
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