Tips for your successful flight preparation
Careful planning and adequate flight preparation are the keys to a stress-free travel experience and it is worth spending a bit of extra time checking the finer details of a trip, including whether passports and other essential travel documents are valid. Once flights have been booked, always check the times/dates on the itinerary to ensure they are correct. If any mistakes have been made during the booking process, contact the airline immediately. Baggage guidelines vary considerably between different airlines and therefore travellers are always advised to check with their airline what the current baggage allowances are. This will prevent passengers from incurring excess luggage fees at the check-in desk. An increase in security on domestic and international flights means that many items are now banned from hand luggage. When preparing for a flight, check which items have to be carried in clear plastic bags and pack accordingly. If airport parking or transfers are required, book these well in advance of travel to ensure the best prices are obtained. Many airlines offer online check-in services via their website. Checking in online usually enables passengers to pre-select seats and print off boarding cards prior to arrival at the airport, which should hopefully save time.
There are several things that can be done before the flight to help things go smoothly. Make sure that all necessary documents are available, and that none have expired. Ensure that all luggage is below the weight limit, and travel to the airport well before the flight for check-in.
Flight booking can be done through a recognised travel agent or directly with a chosen airline. Any special needs must be declared at the time of a flight booking. Bookings should ideally be made well in advance of a flight, but, subject to seat availability, can be last minute.
A group booking is made when a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 50 persons fly together. Special flight rates apply. A group booking must be made well in advance of a flight and passenger details finalised 8 weeks prior to flying. Deposits are non-refundable if cancelled.
ID requirements and travel documents required for a flight will be dependent on destination. A domestic flight with online check-in may not require any travel documents, but a flight leaving the passenger's native country will have ID requirements, such as a passport and possibly a visa.
Regulations regarding safety during travel restrict the quantity or permissability of certain items subject to security checks. The storage of carry-on luggage is specific and the use of mobile phones controlled during flights. Cabin crews will give clear instructions regarding emergency procedures and measures for safety during travel.
An outfit on a flight should be chosen for comfort as well as for weather conditions on the ground. The fabric for the outfit on a flight should allow for sleeping on board and looking presentable on arrival. Slip-on shoes are conveniently removed on board and at security check-points.
Things to be aware of before a flight
Whether using public transport or private means to travel to the airport, leave plenty of journey time to allow for unexpected delays. Be aware of when the flight closes, and check online or listen to the radio for travel updates to avoid unnecessary worry during travel to the airport.
Checking in on a flight can be done online or at the airport. When checking in, identity documents are presented, baggage handed over or tagged, and boarding cards issued. This process confirms the passenger's presence on the flight.
To make boarding the flight easier, be at the departure gate well before the advertised time. Listen to staff instructions about the boarding procedure, and do not rush – if seating is already allocated, wait until most passengers have boarded to avoid standing in a queue for a long time.
General Tips for Passengers
Passengers purchasing goods when flying have a number of payment options in-flight. Most airlines will accept major credit cards, which is especially useful when buying duty-free items. Many companies will also accept major currency, such as dollars, euros or sterling, although not lesser currencies, as payment options in-flight.
Airlines are sensitive to issues regarding travel and religion and, with prior notice, will accommodate most reasonable requests aboard flights. Travel and religion requires that kosher and halaal meals be served on all flights. Prayer facilities can be found at most airports.
Customs regulations dictate who may and may not enter a particular country, or what items may or may not be permitted into that country. Customs regulations differ between countries and it is important that flight passengers are aware of all restrictions within the countries of origin and destination.
After the flight, it's important to let the body recover, especially after a long-haul flight. Get plenty of rest, but try to adapt to a new time zone quickly, and be especially aware of any pain or swelling in the legs after the flight, which could indicate DVT.
Interesting facts for a pleasant flight
On the airplane, especially on a long-haul flight, it's important to stay relaxed and healthy. Enjoy the in-flight entertainment and the meals, and sleep if possible. Remember to stay active, such as walking around on the airplane or doing leg exercises, and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
When flying on a long-haul flight, most airlines offer onboard entertainment to pass the time. This can vary from the showing of a single film on TV monitors located around the cabin, to on-demand services, including films, TV programmes, games and flight maps. Some offer specific onboard entertainment for children.
Onboard catering attempts to account for the dietary needs of all passengers. Meals will usually offer sufficient variety to satisfy every appetite, and complimentary drinks and snacks are provided. Onboard catering also takes religious issues into account and special meals are provided where the airline has received prior notice.
Passengers who are ill must travel with a companion to take care of medical arrangements on board. Regulations restrict the level of medical assistance a cabin crew may offer. An airline will accommodate oxygen cylinders, syringes and all medical arrangements on board with prior notice and after security screening.
Safety instructions on the plane involve the safe stowing of hand luggage, and the measures to be taken by passengers in case of an emergency. Safety instructions on the plane advise on the use of the oxygen masks and inflatable vests, and advise where emergency exits are located.