Airplane Travel Tips

charlene bowerMy dad is a Million+ Mile Flier.  I am just a pup compared to that, but I do find myself at the airports quite a bit traveling across the country to off-road events.  Here are some tricks that I have picked up along the way.  ~ Charlene

1. Have a Good Trip.  Don’t worry. Don’t get stressed out. Don’t focus on the negatives. Flying can be a fun and enjoyable experience if you let it be.  Say Hi to the Security people, their job isn’t necessarily awesome.  Look around at all the people from all over the country that have randomly gathered in this building.  If you have time, be sure to stop in the usually very unique shops in the different airports.  Yes, I have my favorites. (Maybe we can do a Bakers Dozen on those one day!)

2. Manage your Liquids. The ones in your suitcase.  Be sure to put anything that could spill, pop, spray, burst, etc into Ziploc bags.  The one time you open your bag and have shampoo over everything, you will remember this tip.  Three or four Ziplocs and you should have everything contained.  They are easier to pack in your suitcase if they are only half full because the items have the ability to adjust to fit perfectly around your clothes etc.

southwest baggage3.  Grab a Sweatshirt.  Long gone are the days of pillows and blankets in the compartment just over the wing. (yea, you know I have been on a lot of flights with that comment!)  Instead, always grab a sweatshirt or wrap and add it to your collection of items to take onto a flight.  They can be rolled up into a pillow.  They can be thrown over you like a blanket.  Or simply worn on the flights where the AC is much cooler than the area that you were coming from.

4. Wear Flipflops.  Ok whatever shoes you are most comfortable in, but make sure that they are able to come on and off easily with out too much struggle.  Don’t wear some sexy high calved boots.  Go for the slip on collection.  You also want to consider that you will be walking quite a ways, so pick something you wouldn’t mind walking a mile in.  If it is a long flight or during the winter months and flip flops were the choice, I put a pair of socks into my purse…just in case my toes get cold!

5.  Don’t be Late. Manage Your Time.  Get to the airport with plenty of time.  Those that are less familiar with flying, give yourself even extra time….why start or end your trip rushed.  Know your airport and know the flow of traffic at what times.  Generally the early mornings and late afternoons are busy with business travelers.  Don’t come in within the hour and think you are going to make it through bag check and security quickly.  Of course there are always Fridays, always give yourself extra time on a Friday!

5.5  If you are on a layover and you are enjoying a drink, snack or the football game, set the alarm on your phone with enough time to hit the bathroom and get to the gate in time for boarding, about 25 minutes before your flight time.  This will ensure that you make it on time and wipes out the effort of looking at your watch every five minutes.

Southwest won’t debut bag fees because it would lose $1 billion per year

Southwest won’t debut bag fees because it would lose $1 billion per year (Click Image to Read More)

6. Check your bags.  I have to check my bag.  I have one carryon and my purse, plus I wouldn’t know how to pack such a small suitcase 🙂  70 pounds. That’s it!  If you travel enough you know just the right amount of items to put in your bag not to have to take anything out.  One time I had to take out ONE shoe!  (I still ponder why the security xray people didn’t question that? Must be common…)  Here is one of my big tricks…if you fly Southwest you are allowed two free bags.  Check them both, or put one inside of the other.  If you are coming back from a trip and have additional items and/or gifts, you won’t have to pay the overweight charge, instead you just check your second bag! Overweight fees are around $70, while extra bag fees are around $25.

7. Get a SkyCab. If you are handicapped or elderly and don’t generally walk a mile a day, then don’t be hesitant to get a SkyCab aka a wheelchair push through the airport.  Some may feel it as awkward and a sign of weakness, but accept the help.  Not only are you able to have a better experience in the airports, but you are also not challenging the people that are rolling fast to get to their flights.  If you start at one airport with a SkyCab and have a layover, they will have one waiting for you.  You may know your current airport, but the hub airport you are going to may be a solid hike through terminals to your next gate.  Shoot, I even break a sweat sometimes!

8. Getting through security is a breeze.  Really, it can be if you are prepared and understand the process.  Tip 1.  Keep your pass and ID out from the ticket booth and walk right to security, show it to them, and then put them both away.  Pick up as many buckets as you need to put things in.  I grab 4 and set them on the table.  This also roadblocks the people behind me from pushing me forward (serious petpeeve of mine!) First one gets my purse, sweatshirt and anything out of my pockets…lay your purse on it’s side and you probably won’t have to have it run twice.  Second one is my laptop.  Take it out of the case by itself.  I still haven’t moved, but am working my buckets forward.  Third one is all my camera gear out of my backpack. (I have found that I need to do this vs getting my backpack searched every time.) Fourth one is my laptop case, any other camera equipment and my flip flops.  Yep, they are the last thing to come off.  I have had security guys look at me and say, “You fly a lot, don’t you.”  I just smile back  🙂   Make sure that all your buckets go through the plastic guard before you leave your items to get scanned.

9. To Drink or Not to Drink.  I do.  Water that is.  The air in the cab of the airplane is thick and AC.  You will be amazed at how you can become dehydrated on a plane.  Remember the fancy United stewardesses with the water that would walk the aisles?  They were onto something!  And alcohol, yea, I do that too sometimes.

Southwest Sunset10.  Forget the Fumble.  Before you board the plane, while you are in line in the lobby, grab your laptop, book, iPad, headphones etc from your backpack or overhead bag and have it handy.  Board the plane and find the seat that works for you.  Set your items that you want on the seat and then place your overhead bag.  Now you can easily slip into your seat without having to fumble and feel rushed as others are trying to board the plane.  When you land, grab your bag out of the overhead compartment and jump into the aisle in front of your original seat.  Take a second and put your items back into your backpack.  Now when you get off the plane you have your hands free and you are ready for the next stage of your trip.

11. Credit Cards Rule.  Don’t leave home without it.  Silly, but fatefully true.  If you are flying an airline that has baggage charges, you will have to slide your card.  If you want to purchase a snack or alcohol on the plane, you are now limited to using only Debit or Credit, no more cash.  If you are in business, this is the way you want to do it anyways….every piece of this trip is part of the business write off.

12.  Keep a Charge.  Most planes have WiFi, or maybe you want to read from your Kindle, or play on your iPad, or like me work on the plane on your MacBook. (Yes, I am writing this on a plane!)  Don’t ever, ever use your battery while in an airport…especially if you have a long flight ahead. Make sure all your electronics are charged to the fullest and stay that way until you get onto the plane.   I don’t understand why airports are lacking power ports…but you can find them…sometimes in the oddest places!  For the first 15 minutes of taxi and takeoff and the last 20 minutes of decent, bring a book or magazine to read, or this is the perfect time to finish up your notes for a meeting or sketch out a project.  What was the world like before electronics?

13. Really, there is nothing to worry about while you are on the plane.  I just looked this up: The odds of being involved in a fatal accident are 1 to 19.8 Million! s  Breath and enjoy your experience.  The pilots have trained for years before they were ever given this job.  Just remember, they don’t want to crash either!


Flying is a means to a destination.  Make your flying experience enjoyable instead of fretful.  Why let something that has to happen challenge your trip that you want to happen.


Let me know what your tips are for flying…

I encourage everyone to join us on our social media sites! ~Charlene

                   @charlenebower  #imnotjustagirl

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