This morning, I left for my semester abroad. I’m stopping in Germany and Austria first and spending about ten days there before I go to Sydney. Now, as someone who doesn’t live in the same town as where she goes to college, I’m pretty experienced with flying. Someone who isn’t as frequent of flyer as I am might not know that there are unspoken rules of airports and flying. Think of it as a Flyer Code, much like a Pirate Code (which I don’t know is real, but they mentioned it in Pirates of the Caribbean so I’m working with it).
- Thou shalt be nice to the TSA agents. They decide whether you’re getting on the plane or not that day.
- Thou shalt wear deodorant. This one is so important, guys, like of monumental importance. Airports can be pretty stressful, even more an experienced flyer. You will probably sweat about something, whether it’s getting to the airport, getting your boarding pass, or getting through security. An airplane is a very cramped space and be mindful of the person next to you by trying to smell, well, not repulsive.
- Thou shalt know the requirements to go through security. Know how to go through security like a business pro. When going through security, you’re going to need to remove your shoes, remove your jacket or outerwear, remove your belt, remove anything reflective (with the new x-ray machines), remove your jewelry, take change out of your pockets, and make sure you don’t have your cell phone on your person. That’s just going through the machine. Your computer needs to be removed from it’s case and placed in a bin BY ITSELF. Your liquids must also be taken out of your bag. I know that sounds like a lot, but it will save you and everyone else time if you know the requirements to go through security. No one wants to be stuck behind the person who’s dressed so fashionably that it takes him or her forever just to make it through security.
- Thou shalt move with purpose. Do not get on the moving walkways, block the whole path, and then stop. Don’t block whole walkways period. Some people are really rushing to their flights and need to move as fast as possible.
- Thou shalt consider others when putting your bags in the overhead compartment. Don’t put your bags in horizontally if they will fit vertically. If you only have one bag, put it under the seat NOT in the overhead bins.
- Thou shalt give the middle seat both armrests. The window seat gets a side to lean on, the aisle gets to get up without asking anyone else to get up, the middle gets nothing. At least give them the armrests.
- Thou shalt ignore crying babies. Babies cry sometimes. You used to be a baby too and I’m sure you cried. Sure, it’s annoying, but put your headphones in and pray it goes away. The parents are probably doing everything they can to remedy the situation.
- Thou shalt not kick the passenger in front of them. Do not kick the back of the chair and don’t let your travel companions (including children) kick the back of the chair. Come on, people. Just be considerate with this one.
- Thou shalt not try to make the person in front of them go faster. When boarding or de-boarding the plane, you can’t move faster than the person in front of you. I know, it sounds obvious, but you would be surprised how many people don’t think this rule applies to them. This means no pushing, no trying to get by without at least saying excuse me… you get the picture.
- Thou shalt not push your way to the front at the baggage claim. You don’t need to be standing right next to the baggage claim. I usually stand close enough to the baggage claim to see and claim my baggage but far enough away so other people can see their baggage too. This is usually over a few feet away. The baggage claim doesn’t move at lightning speed; I promise you that you will make it to your bag on time.
Some other helpful tips:
- Remember time changes when you are booking your flights. Also remember time changes when you’re checking in for your flights.
- Flights are generally cheapest on Tuesday. I don’t know why.
- If you can’t pick up your bag, it’s probably too heavy. If you can’t move it, the guys loading it into the plan will probably struggle too. That also means it’s probably over 50 pounds and you will have to pay extra.
- Nothing fits as well in your suitcase on the way back, plan accordingly.
- Try to leave at least an hour between connecting flights.
- Politeness works wonders. Airline employees have to deal with people all day.
I think that’s about it. What are your best travel/flying tips?
P.S. My first Germany post will be up soon!