When I first started traveling I was like most people. I would think about flying out somewhere; a holiday with white sandy beaches and a waiter to help me with my every need.
But little thought would go into the actual details of the flight; past wondering if I should have the on-board meal or not.
However, this relaxed carefree approach came to a end during a 19 hour, 1 stop over flight, on a trip from London to South East Asia. After 10 hours in the air with no sleep, and a stop over that if we would have brought a cup of coffee it would cost us £10 each (as we didn't have any Chinese Yang), and no way of being comfortable. With 10 more planes planed during that tour, I soon realised we needed to plan flying better.
I no longer looked a the person sleeping in the three sits as "lucky". I needed to be that person who got the three sits; while some people may have the luxury of flying First Class. I didn't, so I needed to get creative to ensure I would have a comfortable in or out bound journey.
Tip 1. How to avoid Queuing.
There are normally about 4 different queues you may go thought in order to board a plane.
The first is queue is the check in desk. This queue can be avoided if your airline has a "Online Check In" service. This service normally offers a fast, stress free booking from the comfort of your own home if you have a printer available; to print your boarding pass. And, with this pass you normally go straight to customs gate string to the boarding gate; binding pass the check in desk altogether. Most online check ins offer a minimum self service online booking time frame to check online of 24 hours before departure but please see your confirmation flight email to confirm the details of this service..
I have used AirAsia, Ryanair, Easyjet, Virgin, and Thomson online check in's to date with no problem for the UK side. However, I still had to use the check in desk leaving Morocco and Jamaica regardless of if I had checked in online.
And, please note. If you are travelling with luggage n to check in you can still use the online check in for most airline but you will need to paint a luggage ticket in the airport self service ticket machine, and take your luggage to the correct luggage checking in desk.
Baggage check. This is normally the second queues and while you can get a "fast track" at some airports. Normally this queue is unavoidable. With normally a good amount of people also queuing here, you can help yourself to go through faster;
Before you enter any queue, look at how many of the luggage belts are actually in operation. You will normally find one queue may have 6 belts in operation while the other might have 3. With two equal size groups to the left or right, it would make sense to join the queue with the 6 operating belts.
After this you will need to take out your laptop , tablet, camera from your bag, you will need to take put your phone and loose change from your pocket all in the tray. Yo may need two trays as you need to take off your coat, bangles, metal belts (or anything with metal for that matter) off and perhaps your shoes, so be ready to follow the commerds of the team and put it all in the trays for the xray machine.
If everyone was ready for this search things would ran smoothly and therefore be faster. But with most flyers not ready for this search it makes for a longer process.
Make sure you have all of your bottles with toiletries in the small plastic bag. You will be slowed down by 10/15 minutes if you have any water or over 100mil bottles of anything in your bags, and you may be made to throw your the bottles away if they don't all fix into the small plastic bag.
Customs, For passport and boarding pass. You cannot avoid these queues but there is a way to do it quicker. The way is to have everything ready. Passport open on the photo page, and boarding pass for the first queue.
The boarding gate. Now this queue is a funny one, and I am not knocking the people that do this but the minute it is assistant say's the boarding gate is open everybody rushes to get on the plane. This queen has become so gruesome that that most airlines offer a fast track service but their is a better way than jumping the queue. And, believe it or not, the best thing to do is to just to sit there.
Yes, I understand that they have said the gate is open, but standing up in a massive queue to check the tickets and passport again, then queening to walk down the boarding gate to get to the airport door, then queening to reach your seat, then queuing to put your bag in the holdall, to get in your sit just to be asked to get up as the person with the window seat has arrived. No No No. Just sit.
Sit a watch all the people queue. And when their are no people left, get up and hand your ticket to the rep. And, ask the person at the desk what time last call is and she says 15 minute, I personally would ask if I can sit down out in the departure gate for 10 minutes as their will still be a queue to board the plane in the halleway that I would be trying to avoid.
Tip two; comfort on a plane
Now, so you have waiting to avoid the queues for boarding the plane but you cannot avoid the journey. And if it is a quick journey no problem. but, if it is a long haul journey, or you are tired, you will need to plan out how to get a extra seat.
And, this is the plan. First, as you was the last person to board the plane, you know can see how many seats are spare in the economy seating area. Most airlines book people in to sit from front to back of the plane, and they like to use the least amount of rows as possible in an empty flight, so while seats 1 to 18 might be full, 19 to 24 might be empty, and this is your best choice of securing a three sitter for the whole flight (before others take the seats after takeoff).
Just put your bag in the overhead compartment and take a seat in the any three sitter that is empty. If you sit by the window this is others the choice to sit with you, and not that we are being antisocial here but if you want to have three sits, you have to own the three sits. So, you have to sit in the middle seat for take off, and as soon as the seat belt sign turns off, lay down and own the three seats you just claimed!
You now have three seats, perhaps three TVs and three blankets!
Have a good flight and please remember if the flight assistant ask you to go to your sit; go to your sit as it might be for safety reasons. But do ask if you can return to the seats later if poss. this will normally be met with a yes!
Please note; it has now become difficult to put small suitcases and some 60 litter backpacks into the overhead departments if you are last on the plane. I now pay to be able to bring my bag on board.
Oh, I met someone who also takes a seat in first class, and he says it works all the time; like literally dresses smart, holds a ticket in his hand, walks into class class, takes a seat in a empty chair and starts to read what ever book he has. He said he has only been asked once to go to the back, its really daring, I don't think I would try it, but I still think its worth noting and if anyone does try it, please let me know in the comment box how you got on!
Hope you enjoyed the post!