After the Flight
Good things to know when preparing for your flight: After the Flight
After the Flight
Flights can be as stressful after the fact as they can be in the planning stages. Following a flight, passengers may be jet-lagged and tired, or have to deal with problems such as lost luggage. Long-haul flights across time zones can badly disorientate a person’s internal body clock. Jet lag is worse the longer the journey. For example, if a passenger flies from the UK to Australia, between which there is an 11-hour time difference, their days will feel like nights, and their nights like days, once they arrive at their destination.
Jet lag manifests itself in symptoms of fatigue, difficulty sleeping, and inability to concentrate or function. It also affects appetite, digestion, and blood pressure. It generally hits when travelling across two or more time zones, and the passenger may need a day for each time zone crossed to adjust. Jet lag is the result of the internal clock being reset suddenly, and the body needs time to catch up. The body’s synchronisation with its local schedule is known as “circadian rhythm”. Jet lag tends to be easier to handle when travelling west, than it is when travelling east. This is because it involves staying up late, which most people find easier. However, it can be different if the person is a morning person, or has difficulty staying up late in general. The key to beating jet lag is to adjust to the local time as quickly as possible. Passengers can help to prepare themselves by going to bed and waking up at the destination times before flying, if the time difference is only a few hours. On the flight, it helps if passengers set their clocks to the destination time before takeoff, and, if possible, sleep on the plane. On arrival, it is best not to go to sleep right away, but to stay awake until the local bedtime. Artificial stimulation, such as caffeine, will do more harm than good, as tempting as it may be to use it to stay awake during the local time. When it comes time to sleep, travellers should cut out other sleep disturbances, such as excessive bedroom light and noise and uncomfortable temperatures, to promote a good night’s sleep.
Lost, Missing, and Damaged Luggage
Another difficulty that passengers may have to deal with after a flight is lost, stolen, or missing baggage. Passengers are most likely to encounter missing luggage on connecting flights. It is up to the owner to provide proof if seeking compensation for damaged bags, and airlines post notices that they are not responsible for minor damages, such as scuffing. There also is likely to be a limit on how much an airline is required to compensate. Luggage claims can include purchases that passengers have had to make in order to compensate for mishandling, costs of actual damage to bags, and purchases that passengers may need to make to replace an essential item that is in a missing piece of luggage. This can also mean items missing or stolen from luggage. Missing luggage is considered lost if it is not recovered within 21 days. To protect against lost or stolen baggage, the best thing passengers can do is buy travel insurance. Names and contact details should be on the insides and outsides of bags, in order to minimise the risk of the luggage going missing. Passengers should make sure they are familiar with security restrictions. Some airlines accept more liability if the owner declares that valuables are inside the bags, and pays a fee. It also helps to put something on bags to make them easily recognisable, such as brightly coloured luggage tags, a distinctive luggage strap, or stickers. This will minimise the chance of another passenger mistaking the bag for their own, and help the airline locate it if it goes missing.
If a piece of luggage is found to be missing or damaged at the baggage claim, the owner should report it to luggage-handling staff immediately, and take the staff member’s name and contact information. They will need also to fill out a property irregularity report form. If the passenger must replace essentials that are in missing bags, they must keep the receipts to support any claims. Many airlines provide online claim-tracking services. However, even with the careful efforts they may make to get compensation from an airline, passengers can often get better claims from their travel insurance companies.