We all love to travel, but flying is another story. While there are many things you can’t control when you fly, there are some ways to make the process easier and more streamlined. Here are seven suggestions to help ease the stress of flying.
Sign up for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry!
This is my favorite recommendation for people who travel more than once a year, especially if that travel is International. Being able to cruise through security at over 130 US airports is heaven, but I especially love the Global Entry kiosks at US Immigration, which can save you tons of time when returning to the US.
Check your Flight Status – Often!
Flights are changing by the minute these days, so staying on top of your flight status is essential. A quick, daily glance at your airline app or on the airline website can save you a lot of hassles.
Through the app or website, you can find out if the flight is “on time” if there are weather delays, warnings, or cancellations. You can even check to see if different seats are available in just a couple of minutes. If you have an app on your phone, it’s wise to check the flight status at the airport before you leave your car. Most airlines will also text you flight status updates if you sign up on their websites.
Load the toll-free numbers to your airline, travel insurance company, and travel agent into your cell phone so that you can quickly reach someone if there is a flight delay/cancellation. While everyone else is waiting in line at the gate, you can have someone on the phone working on your behalf to fix the issue.
Especially if you are not checking any bags, this can save you a heap of time. You can avoid the whole kiosk/counter zoo at the airport when you arrive. Just check the monitors to find out what gate your flight is using and proceed to the security line. Also, some airlines may take your reserved seat assignment away if you have not checked in before the flight, especially on a highly overbooked flight. Don’t take that chance!
Prepare your Documents!
Before you get in line to check in at the airport, ensure you have all the items and documentation you need. That includes your driver’s license or passport, your boarding pass from your online check-in (or confirmation code), and your credit card if you are paying to check any luggage. And do that for every member of your party. The airline agent and the folks behind you in line will thank you.
Weigh your Luggage!
If you suspect that your bag might be overweight, find out before you reach the drop-off point. Many airports have installed scales in the check-in areas, and your bathroom scale will also work in a pinch.
If the bag is overweight, get rid of some items or face a hefty fee. If you’re at the airport, shuffle heavy things between your checked bag and carry-on to avoid those costly overweight baggage fees.
Survive Security Screenings
Stow everything in your carry-on except for your ID and boarding pass, including your phone (unless you are using it for an electronic boarding pass), your keys, wadded up cash, etc. When you hit those white bins, quickly remove your shoes, take your laptop and toiletry bag out of your carry-on, and place them in the bins. Place your carry-on directly on the belt, then take a deep breath, smile and proceed. It will be over before you know it. Keeping a positive attitude is key here and will make the TSA interaction more pleasant.
On The Other Side!
Once through security, double-check the departure monitors again to make sure your gate hasn’t changed. Walk directly to your gate to make sure everything is still accurate and on time. Then you can venture off a little bit to get something to eat/drink and visit the restroom. Stay within range of your gate as much as possible so you can hear any last-minute announcements like gate changes or delays. Most of all, keep your cool. You will be on that plane very soon, winging above the clouds to your perfect vacation destination.