I love , love , love flying……I mean the actual flying!!! I am completely sympathetic for all those who have a fear of flying as I know exactly what they are missing out on.
Lot’s of us look at flying as a means to getting from A to B and, it’s a necessary evil(so to speak) mode of transport to go to foreign or far away places.
For me, this is the exciting part of travelling. I just love the feeling I have when I arrive at the airport, the sense of “right, off you go again”. I never mind the hustle and bustle, the queues, the noise, the announcements that you can’t understand hahhaha. Way back when I was a novice at travelling, I let everything get to me , overwhelm me and stress me out. But as time went on and airport services improved I decided to embrace the whole experience. To find ways to make the airport time a part of the experience , rather than the boring part of the journey. I looked for ways to beat the crowd, to make sure that my baggage, my documents etc were all correct and wouldn’t slow me down.
I tried all the hacks in the book to get as much stuff into my suitcase, without going over the allocated weight. I rolled, folded, bunched, vacuum packed , you name it , I tried it. But to be honest it never made that much of a difference. The weight was almost always the same and I ALWAYS came home with at least 3 outfits I hadn’t worn and shoes that never even left the suitcase. Now I can pack at the drop of a hat, with everything I need for the journey, and with enough of everything.
I am what some people call a “lazy traveller”. I like to check in my bags and have them sent on directly to my final destination airport, no pulling or dragging luggage around airports or hand luggage that has to be lugged up into the overhead cabins. No, I like to have my bag, my laptop inside, a few munchies, a pen and notebook and that’s it. Everything else can go in the cargo hold, so I am free to wander around the duty-free, have a coffee, relax in the waiting lounge, even just go to the loo without having to manoeuvre even a small case to get into the cubicle. It’s great now with the options available, from standard check in to online check-ins , print your own boarding pass or have it on your mobile. Bag drop, go straight to departure….simple….no fuss , no stress. I am lucky to be very familiar with lots of airports, to know where sells the best coffee, where the comfy seats are, and if I’m buying any duty free, where it is, so I can find it with no hassle. I think the airports are doing a great job to make things as easy as possible for passengers and if you stay within their guidelines then you will have no problems. Before you start thinking I may be crazy , I am talking about a solo traveller. Of course if you have kids, young or old there is an added element of stress but the same basic rules apply. Albeit you must have extra hand luggage with tablets, games, books etc to entertain the kids during the flight , but I suggest a quick check as to what the airline has for kids while on board, might save some money and bag space. I have noticed too that for many, as soon as bags are checked-in , there is an overwhelming need to eat or drink , even if you have had food before you leave your home. Depending on the length of the flight, I usually eat before I leave the house and have a coffee while I wait for the gate to open. On short trips , that usually does the trick for me as I try to keep a budget. The food offered on short flights can be expensive and not filling , and if it’s and hour or so flight time , you can spend that money when you get to your destination and get better value. On long haul trips, food is normally served one hour into the flight , so again coffee is fine for me and I can enjoy the food on board( normally included in your ticket price), and most airlines offer really nice food. As I have said, I usually have a budget so I work things out so that I’m never hungry travelling, I am not scrimping just because I have a budget. It is easy to get caught up in the moment , especially when holiday travelling, to blow a huge amount of money before you even board the plane. For the seasoned travellers, they know how to take advantage of whats on offer at the airport.
Another peeve many travellers have is when the plane stops. Who stays seated till the sign is switched off???? It’s like we’re under starters orders…….and it’s a race to passport control. Me, I wait till everyones scramble for overhead bags has finished before I stand up. People are huffing and puffing waiting for ground crew to put the stairs in place so we can disembark. I wonder has anyone ever taken the time to watch these guys(haven’t seen a woman doing this job …yet)?? They are like ants, each know what they have to do, they rush to get the stairs in place, check the security of the plane , wheels, engine and stairs before letting us off. They work hard and fast and for those of you who complain that the 5 minute or less wait is too much , think, “could I do it any quicker?”. So don’t stress at this stage either, everyone is going to the same place…..PASSPORT CONTROL. Not just your flight, but passengers from every flight, so rushing like mad generally doesn’t help at all, except to cause more stress.
Just when you thought this was sounding like an ad for airports, I have finally come to the part that does concern me. Luggage damage. Over the years I have had many cases damaged coming off the flight to the carousel and unfortunately I have never been compensated for any . However, it is not the fault of the airport as generally baggage handling is out- sourced to private companies. It is time – consuming and repetitive filling out forms, with many phone calls, to different people every time, and normally in vain, to try and get compensation of any kind. So, I have found that vacuum sealing your cases really helps minimize the chance of damage. The cost varies from airport to airport , but it is usually from 15 to 20 euros per case. So it might be worthwhile doing this, especially if your luggage is expensive. And finally, passport control……..there are never enough officers on duty to check passports and so it results in mile long queues…..every airport seems to be the same. Has nobody brought this up at a managers meeting for airport services??? Obviously security is paramount at airports, but it would help to have more staff on at peak air traffic times.
Back to the flying, I love the sound of the engines revving before take off and the sound as the aircraft accelerates down the runway ready to leap into the skies. I am amazed every time at the sheer engineering that it takes to lift this machine into the air. I am equally amazed at the landing procedure. The prepare for descent is when either the excitement of arriving in a new place or coming home starts. I always try to get a window seat to see the flaps go down, hear the undercarriage open to allow the landing wheels to extend out and of course to see the view as the plane approaches the landing strip.
Read my top tips to stress free travelling tomorrow.