Are you an avid traveller? Wanderlust? Globetrotter?
I am!! I love travelling, meeting new people and sharing experiences; even more when I can enjoy an amazing holiday within my travel budget. However, when you travel a lot, you discover the good and bad aspects of travelling – which is why I’ve decided to do a mini hack for getting through and avoiding some of the unpleasantness encountered whilst travelling (by air).
This is my list of issues I’ve encountered that I think are pretty common:
- Airline losing your luggage, damaged or tampered luggage
- Airline hosts, operators with zero customer service
- Long layovers in boring airports, missed connecting flights
- Being stuck next to a creepy or annoying passenger on flights
- Long flights with no in-flight entertainment, no decent meal plans
- No decent seats or leg room (we are not sardines lol)
- Flights that charge you for basic things like using the toilet, printing boarding passes etc
I’m sure there are way worse ordeals, but I like to think this list is quite a generic one most can relate to.
#1 Travel As Light As Possible
If you are going away for a short vacation, maybe consider the art of compact packing for hand luggage. Be aware of the number of pieces allowed and weight limits too. It might be easier to make a list of what you need for the trip.
Invest in travel size toiletries, make up, etc. ALL VALUABLES SHOULD ALSO BE IN YOUR CARRY-ON (HAND-LUGGAGE).
#2 Make Sure You Have Decent Travel Insurance
Travel insurance always seems like that unnecessary expense nobody wants to incur when planning a budget trip, but trust me! You would appreciate it when faced with a number of issues including lost, damaged luggage.
#3 Be Open-Minded About Trying Other Airlines
A lot of people are happy to stick with airlines they have used forever even if the customer service has become lack lustre – because its easier to trust ‘the devil you know than the angel you don’t know’ right? Wrong! I have tried a bunch of new airlines and discovered what I had been missing in terms of customer service on airlines. I must say I fell in love with lufthansa’s in-flight customer service, food and entertainment.
The wider or newer the plane, the better the seats and gadgets (like USB ports and updated entertainment sometimes).
Pick major airports to connect through to avoid boring layovers.
#4 Bring Your Own ___ (Preparing For The Worst)
When you have sat on a 6hr flight with no television or radio on board, you would never make the mistake of forgetting your ipad or other portable gadget with your already downloaded selection of entertainment (movies, tv shows, music, games, books).
*or you pray you have an amazing passenger sat next to you to get you through the flight ;).
You can do this for food as well! Most airports have decent restaurants after security or shops, so if you get to the airport early enough, you have time to explore and order food for the flight (especially if you already know that the airline you are sticking to would disappoint in this regard). Better still, you can stock up from home, provided nothing liquid 😉
#5 Early Bird Gets The Worm
Book flights early to take advantage of lower fares or be conscious of peak travel times and when airlines are doing promos.
Be aware of travel times that are also off peak to help save that little extra.
Get to the airport early!! can’t emphasize this enough!!! you can never predict what security queues would be like or check-in queues. you don’t want to be that passenger denied boarding because you’re late and the mount/dismount bridge has been disconnected or the plane doors have been shut.
If on a connecting flight, pick one with a lot of time in-between to ensure you make the flight without incident. Stay close to your boarding gate too and get updates from the airline often in case your gate changes!! Nothing worse than being stuck in an airport overnight.
Pay for your seats early so you can choose seats with more leg-room if your chosen airline have cramped seats or Check-in as soon as it opens and pick decent seats before everything is taken.
Look around flight once boarded to see if there are empty seats in your travel class and ask the air host(ess) VERY NICELY to move you (if its possible ;)). This is also useful if you’re stuck next to a passenger making you uncomfortable (you know the types to invade your personal space, etc).
Frequent flyer? Upgrade travel class (on long haul flights).
#6 Always Read The Fine Print
If you find some ridiculously cheap flight to your destination, always read the fine print! Often times, these are the carriers with the most ridiculous charges and requirements – where you have to pay extra to have your boarding pass printed at the airport or no food or entertainment in flight or having to pay to use the loo/restroom or to check in luggage.
So, be aware of the terms and conditions of the ticket you are buying, your rights as a passenger before buying the ticket. This way when things happen on the flight, such as, unprofessional behaviour by airline staff etc you know how to deal with it effectively.
*don’t be afraid to write to the CEO of the airline with your complaints because let’s face it, if you don’t report your bad experiences, they would not know the things that need changing.
#6 Diplomacy Is Key
Its important to know when to go ‘HAM’ and when to just play it cool – often times being a hothead doesn’t get you very far – sometimes it makes things a 100times worse especially when travelling.
Being nice and friendly can sometimes get you a free upgrade, exemptions or freebies on flights, things that were not ordinarily available to you.
Note, however, that whilst being nice is great, you should always be aware of your rights as a passenger so when things get to a point beyond diplomacy you know the options available to you before acting.
Hope this is helpful
Be inspired to keep exploring and connecting