Recently, Jamie Goode of Wine Anorak wrote a blog about his tips and tricks to make flying “as painless as possible.” I found this blog well-writen and interesting to read, but I hardly agreed with anything that he wrote! In response to his blog, here are my top 6 flying tips based on my experiences of many, many years of flying.
1. Fly with the same airline
Goode advises readers to fly with airlines that are obviously trying to gain customers, such as Turkey, Singapore and UEA airlines, through large marketing and PR campaigns.
I understand his point, but this is something that I avoid. I always try to fly with the same airline because it gets you perks such as frequent flyer status, a gold card, and more airmiles.
It’s all about gaining status with an airline – then you can check in first, or be “on the trot first” as I call it! The airline staff will welcome you on board by name, wish you a comfortable trip, and sometimes, even give you a bottle of Champagne! This won’t happen if you switch airlines frequently.
2. Take advantage of the lounge
Goode makes a point in his blog that the lounge is perhaps outdated. He said that because most modern airports give you free WiFi and power, that you don’t necessarily need lounge access. I agree – modern airports have certainly stepped it up in regards to comfort, but the peace and quiet of the lounge can’t be rivaled.
Also, if you spend time in the main part of the airport, you may be tempted to shop and spend money unnecessarily. I head straight to the lounge as soon as I arrive and try to relax before the flight.
3. The type of plane doesn’t matter
Similarly, Goode recommends flying on modern planes if you can because they offer more comfortable seats, larger entertainment screens, and everything usually works. This is true, but when you travel as much as I do, sometimes it’s okay to spoil yourself with either business or first class on any type of plane.
My rule of thumb: if it’s over 3 hours, I won’t fly in economy. So yes, maybe modern planes like the 787 Dreamliner are more comfortable. But if you’re in it for the long-haul, treat yourself and book a better class - then it won’t matter what kind of plane you’re on.
4. Don’t pack light
This may seem counter-intuitive, especially after reading Goode’s blog. He says to only pack hand luggage and to “be ruthless” because a light bag makes for a more pleasant experience. However, packing light can have terrible consequences if you lose your bag! Even if you try to only bring a carry-on, oftentimes, the overhead storage is full and you must check your bag anyway.
I always pack two suitcases in case one is lost – call me paranoid, but it’s happened too many times to take a chance. My carry-on is also packed with enough supplies to last a week for this very reason and I always take a photo of my bag tag for reference.
5. Dress comfortable and casual
This isn’t something Goode mentions in his blog but I think it’s important. I always wear smart, soft clothing, and I will never travel in jeans. If you want to get upgraded to first class, don’t turn up in a track suit, either! I usually go for lululemon clothing because it looks fresh while being exceptionally comfortable.
6. How you book does make a difference
I hold frequent flyer status with oneworld – an airline alliance created to be the first-choice airline alliance for the world’s frequent international travelers. However, I will use KAYAK, a fair aggregator, to book my tickets incognito on Google with my browser history erased to make sure I’m getting the lowest fairs.
It’s also important to understand the typical rules of flying. For example, don’t fly to New York on a Monday morning. Instead, book a cheap flight on a Tuesday night.
Nothing Goode said in his blog is incorrect, I just have a different way of doing things. If you are a frequent flyer, then you just need to come up with your own way of travelling and find what works for you. Do you have anything you’d like to add? Comment and let me know!