Top-5 Mistakes every Flier makes and How to avoid them

January 29, 2018

It doesn't matter whether you're preparing for your first-ever flight or have been wandering circles for decades, “Flying” can be extremely tensed and traumatic for many; and there are some common mistakes that every traveler makes. However, once you know what those mistakes are, it is easy to avoid them, and can enjoy the flight journey more fully.

Here's the top-5 common mistakes and tips to avoid them.

1. Give yourself more time for preparation
The first and primary reason for all the problems at airport or in the flight, is a simple “lack of preparation”. Most of us underestimate the amount of time required in the airport. (even after 10+ years of flying, I still messed-up last week; there was a small delay on the road to airport, eventually I had to run (literally💨) to the gate at last moment!

One of the expert flight crew Steffanie Rivers describes, “I like to think of flying as sort of like planning a wedding; if you want a great June wedding, there are ‘must do’s’ that happen a month before, two months before, and so on”. 

For a flight at 10:00 a.m, you need to be at the “Security check” at-least by 9:00am. That means, you check-in and drop your luggage at 8:30 a.m; arrive at the airport by 8:00 a.m. If your home is about 2 hours from airport, you would have left your home at 6:00 a.m and you’d to get-up at 5:00 am at-least😜. Most of us really miss to process all these steps and account for un-planned delays that can happen at every stage!

2. Pack only what you need
Whether you agree or not, most of us over-prepare and tend to carry more than “what really is needed”. Every gram of additional/unnecessary luggage you carry on your back is literally a pain in your neck! Please bring luggage that you can handle, carry, control and lift!

Another important fact: Most airlines have cut-off times for checking bags, and many of us are not aware this. When we get to the counter, we’re often surprised that they've missed the cut-off and your head-ache starts right there”.

3. Realize TSA regulations:
Though all of us know the severity of TSA (Transportation Security Administration) regulations, we don’t really read- through the entire document, not even once. It is very important to remember that every region of the airports may their own set of special regulations, and is continuously changing!

It may enough if you carry a mere water-bottle on your backpack; you may get-in to additional screening process; the additional delay and emotional drama on the spot, can spoil your entire travel plan!

It is also worthy to know what are all the exemptions you get. For example, airports may allow the children below 12 years old without the need to remove their shoes. If you have 2 kids, you can imagine how much valuable time this removing/wearing shoes can save😄.

4. Dealing with flight delays and cancellation
Our first-ever flight with our toddler was announced a delay of 4.5 hours; operator recommend us a different route plan that we also happily agreed. But it was bad weather again, the flight landed 2 hours later than the scheduled time on our transit location. Ofcourse, we missed the connection flight. Just imagine the trauma: it was late night, toddler was tired and crying, and almost all the helpdesks were “vacant”.

According to the BTS report (Bureau of Transportation Statistics) more than 20% of the flights are delayed in 2017 so far and about 2% flight are cancelled outright. Hence, Flight delays and cancellations are inevitable. All we can do is: just be patient and “ask for help”.

But how? Most of us, just go and stand in the never-ending queues of help-desks for rescheduling the travel. Brian Karimzad– an expert traveller with above 2 million air miles advises, "Don’t wait in line when you need help", "When your flight is cancelled or delayed, phone agents can do as much as the agents at the airport, so plug in your phone and get help faster. You can also login to the website or app of your airline and re-book in many cases."

But be informed: It’s not always a mandatory obligation of the airlines to get you an alternate flight; it completely depends on your ticket policy. But if you ask them polite and patient, they will definitely make arrangements for you.

May be wise to opt for flight cancellation coverage along with your travel insurances if you’re travelling internationally and if you feel worth of it.

5. Be prepared for your time in the airport.
Last but not the least: By luck if everything went well and you get some additional time at the airport, it is wise to properly utilize that time as well.

While you're waiting, you might have to check an urgent email or make some booking, but you find there’s no charge on your phone/laptop and none of the power outlets available around. Brian Karimzad says, "carry a small power adapter with two or three slots in it". That way, if someone is using an airport power outlet, you can plug in your adapter and share the power crisis".

You might have to eat/drink during the transit, or you may even want to buy a duty-free stuff, but remember the local currency & exchange can go tricky. Money exchange at the airport is never a good idea; you often get very bad exchange rates. To stay safe, avoid exchanging foreign currencies and always use your international credit cards; even after the bank charges, this would be still a better deal. You may even use your card to withdraw cash from the local ATMs.

I hope that above tips and suggestions are useful and will make your next flight more enjoyable and less strenuous. Do you also want to share your tips and advice? Got questions? Simply post a comment below to add to the conversation.

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  1. Very good piece of information and you're so correct, we often make these mistakes :)