The difference between a rotten flight and a good one is knowledge. While there isn’t much you can do about delays, turbulence, and smelly seatmates, there are ways to make your journey much more enjoyable. Forbes recently put together their list of the worst mistakes you can make when flying and we’ve added some of our own.
While many of these tips are for flying on business, most apply to all you leisure travellers, too. Here’s what not to do the next time you take to the air.
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1. Bring a Spare Tote Bag
Sometimes you need a little extra space for carrying things you've acquired at your destination. Carry a tote bag with you — and you can toss new purchases in it to carry on the plane.
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2. Know Your Plans
Make sure your hotel is booked for the right day and that other arrangements are sorted out. The last thing you want when you land is to have to figure out a bunch of stuff.
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3. Assuming There’s WiFi
Most flights have WiFi, but not all. Forbes says you shouldn't assume your flight will have it. Or if it does, that it will be working. You can't really get work done if all your documents are in the cloud. Be prepared!
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4. Assuming There’s Food
Most of the time, there is some kind of food on offer. But not always. Be sure to put a few spare granola bars in your bag, just in case.
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5. Not Drinking Water
In order to keep hydrated, avoid the booze and coffee and drink water. Lots of it. Bring an empty bottle with you and fill it up when you clear security. That way if you're thirsty, you won't have to wait for the flight attendant to come by.
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6. Sitting in Economy When Pregnant
Forbes points out that economy seating and pregnancy don't mix. Pay a few extra dollars to sit in the 'plus' section or, if you can afford it, business.
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7. Not Double Checking Your ID
Make sure that the name on your ID matches the name on your ticket. Exactly. Failure to do so could cause delays or worse, you could be denied boarding.
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8. Getting Help From the Gate Agent
If there's a planeload of passengers queueing in front of the gate agent because of some problem, head for the airline's business lounge and speak with the concierge. Forbes says that if you're a frequent flyer member, they'll be able to help you in much less time.
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9. Getting Help From the Gate Agent – Part 2
Another option for avoiding line-ups and getting help fast is to call the airline directly. Make sure you have their customer service number on you or programmed into your phone. Even a direct message on Twitter to the airline can get you sorted, fast.
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10. Wearing Too Casual Clothes
Sure, your sweatshirt and yoga pants are comfortable but if you're flying for business, and your bags go missing you'll have the hassle of buying new clothes, if you have the time.
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11. Wearing Heels
If you're travelling long distances that include layovers and terminal changes, you'll want to have comfortable footwear. Especially if you have to run between gates.
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12. Not Factoring Local Travel Time
If you're flying in for a same-day meeting, make sure you build in enough time for transport from the airport to your destination.
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13. Assuming There Will Be Entertainment
Some airlines offer entertainment via WiFi so you can watch on your own tablet or phone. But what if you don't have one? Well, you should be able to rent one — unless they're all gone. Have a back-up.
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14. Not Charging Your Devices
You should make sure all your electronics are fully-charged and keep them switched off when not in use. If it's going to be a long flight, bring a battery pack for recharging and turn down the screen brightness.
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15. Forgetting Reading Material
You'll finish the in-flight magazine and safety card before you even take off — so make sure you bring a good book or magazine to read. They can be lifesavers if the plane's entertainment system doesn't work. An eBook reader will give you more selection and is easier to pack.
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16. Forgetting Earplugs
Crying babies. Snoring neighbours. Droning engines. If these things bother you, invest a few bucks in some good earplugs and carry them with you always. They're great for blocking out noise on the plane, and you can use them at your hotel as well.
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17. Booking an Aisle Seat
Forbes warns that while an aisle seat may be tempting, don't forget that you could be stuck beside someone who goes to the bathroom every 20 minutes.
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18. Booking a Window Seat
But window seats are no guarantee of comfort. You might get stuck beside someone who wants to sleep, and you'll have to wake them up if you need to use the loo.
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19. Not Bringing Back-up Cosmetics
Forbes says that you should always have backup cosmetics and toiletries in your carry-on — especially if you have an important meeting shortly after arrival. Don't forget about security restrictions for liquids.
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20. Not Booking Your Seats in Advance
So you want to play seat roulette? You may end up in the centre seat or worse, near a washroom. Not a big deal on a short flight, but you'll get tired of the people bumping into your seat. And the odour. Ew.