‘Tis the season to be traveling, apparently. With Thanksgiving being the most traveled day and Christmas being the second, that’s a lot of passengers with baggage, miles accrued, and flashbacks to summer for flight crews (let’s not speak of it).
Whether you’re a veteran globetrotter, an annual traveler or somewhere in between, these tips should help you get from Point A to B with minimal stress and most of your hair. Being a stewardess for a year has helped me to improve my travel game. Although I have traveled in the past, doing it as a profession brought finesse.
- Keep your seatbelt visible. I know you’re anxious to find your seat and get that nap in, but please keep your seatbelt visible to the flight attendants. We do actually have to visually confirm that it’s on. If we can’t see it, you will be awakened from your slumber. It’s uncomfortable for all parties to do this, so keep the seatbelt where it can be seen. If you need a blanket, fasten the seatbelt over it. And for pity’s sake, fasten it properly; it’s for your safety!
- Pack light, then take something else out. Do you need to take your personal hair dryer, or a 4th pair of shoes? Packing is spelled PRIORITIZE. If you don’t desire to check any luggage, choose your carry on wisely. Yes, it may be a standard sized carry on, but suppose you’re on an aircraft that’s too small for roller boards (that, by the way, is over stuffed)? Or what if your flight is full, you’re towards the back of the line, and carry ons end up being checked? It happens! If you can’t bear the idea of checking a carry on, be prepared for this. Pack no more than is absolutely necessary, and rethink what you consider a necessity. Medication, identification, wallets, and things that cannot go underneath the plane should not go in a carry on in case it needs to be checked. Duffel bags have gotten nicer in recent years… consider this as an option. Most can usually go in the cabin under the seat.
- NEVER BOOK TIGHT CONNECTIONS. Okay folks, this one is important for a number of reasons, all of which are summed up thusly: it’s stressful. When booking a flight, look at the time you’ll have to make a connection. Allow 2-3 hours (yes, hours) between if you can. Flights get delayed more often than you think they do. PLEASE allow yourself time to make your connecting flight. This saves people from being screamed at that have no control over the many things that can delay a flight. This is something you can actually control.
- Be kind and considerate to all of the workers. From bag checkers, ticketing and TSA agents, flight attendants, customer service agents… keep in mind that these people are here to assist you to your destination. Because folks want to travel during the holidays, they forfeit time with their families to make that possible for you. Cursing them out will not help you reach your destination any faster, though you might get to visit with airport security. Follow their directions, be kind, and use your best manners, even if you’re stressed out. You can do it; I have faith in you. Added bonus: if you’re nice to us, we’ll be sure to look out for you.
- Watch and talk to fellow passengers. Put the phone/tablet down. Yes, put it down… and observe. Being a stewardess and watching people has helped me be able to pick out the clueless traveler from the road warrior. Your road warriors (individuals that feel most at home in airplanes and hotels) know a thing or two about how to travel; glean from them.
- Relax and enjoy. Travel is tiring! I can’t totally blame folks that get grouchy, especially if you don’t travel much and things don’t go as planned. Even beyond travel, life doesn’t go as planned sometimes! When it doesn’t, try to look at the positives. You never know what dangers are being avoided by your being delayed, or what fun detour you may find during the journey. Pause, Breathe, and look at the situation anew. Be sure to wind down at some point with hot tea and cat videos on YouTube. That’s what I do sometimes.
Enjoy this holiday season wherever you find yourself, and safe travels.
Seasons Greetings from your friendly neighborhood stewardess.