Everyone loves the idea of traveling, but only a few people are too keen on complying with all of the flight protocols. Many people, in turn, go through a hassle-filled flight and a forgettable travel experience, and it’s all because of their doing.
Don’t be that person. Save yourself from these avoidable headaches and the potential embarrassment of being put on the spot in front of your fellow passengers.
To help guide the flying public on these straightforward rules, we spoke to Kazandra Icalina, a seasoned flight attendant for Philippine Airlines, who provided these helpful tips.
Consider Murphy’s Law
Murphy’s Law states that ‘anything that can go wrong will go wrong.’ Your flight gets canceled, ultimately affecting your connecting flight to your final destination if you have one.
Your luggage gets lost along the way. The airline refuses to give you hotel accommodations, so you’re stuck in the airport for you don’t know how long with just the clothes on your back. Think of it like how everything drops thanks to gravity. All of a sudden, you’re in for the worst travel experience of your life.
Traveling entails unexpected difficulties. Kaz advises allotting at least twice the amount of time.
“One of the most common complaints of passengers is that they lack time – to reach their connecting flights or to make it in time for certain events,” she told SOFREP. “While it is understandable that travel itineraries are made around certain timelines, always make it a point to leave a lot, and I mean A LOT of time for disruptions.
“A lot of external, uncontrollable factors can ruin your schedule, and if you cut it too close, there’s a higher chance of not making it for whatever or wherever you need to be.”
For international flights, airlines advise passengers to be at the airport at least three hours before flight time. But if you’re playing it safe, add an extra hour.
Have a Travel Kit Ready
You may think you have a travel kit until you look at what you have in there. Do you have the right items to help tide you over the trip? These essentials include neck pillows, noise-canceling headphones, charging cables, and eye masks. These things are necessary for a good enough travel experience.
But as Kaz says, only some airlines will have the amenities available. Your safest bet is to bring them with you to be sure.
“Not all airlines provide amenity kits for their passengers, so it would be best to have a travel essential kit of your own. Having items like your personal headphones, blanket/jacket, eye masks, ear plugs, toiletries, charging cables, or even a change of clothes would ensure that you’d have everything you could ever need within your possession when the need arises.”
“Traveling light is important, but so is having your needs on hand. It will always be better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it, or worse, buy it for a way higher price.”
It will be good to have a travel kit handy. It allows you to change clothes or freshen up if you need to. That’s a win-win if you ask any traveler.
Disclose Dietary Needs In Advance
Some people are allergic to peanuts. Others have an aversion to shellfish or chicken, eggs, or milk. The thing is, you and your close kin are the only ones who know about these allergies. Your flight attendants don’t.
If you have these restrictions, speak out. But how in advance? Kaz advises doing so at least 48 hours before your flight. It gives the kitchen crew enough time to adjust to your needs and for you, the passenger, to have a decent travel experience as much as possible.
Otherwise, you’re likely in for a nightmarish travel experience.
“Your flight attendants aren’t chefs,” she said. “Yes, we understand that dietary requirements are now supposedly standard, but there is a standard loading of food that comes from the airline catering.
So if you’re vegan or it’s a religious reason, and you can’t consume a specific food item, consider the preparations involved.
“Unless special requests are made (and within the standard time frame), the flight would only have the ‘normal,’ standard loading of food. If you have special requests, make them at least 48 hours before your flight, and make sure you have confirmation for them.
If it helps your travel experience, have some specific snacks that only you are aware of. It lowers the possibility of consuming a food item by mistake.
Be Nice to Your Flight Attendant
You should know to act courteously towards any service staff. It goes for flight attendants, restaurant waitstaff, and customer service representatives. If you think about it, they hold the power, not you. They have the say about whether or not they can meet your needs.
The problem lies here: Everyone wants to feel ‘powerful.’ Some people respond differently. But there are times when you still have to deal with them. However, in this case, be nice. Extra nice, if you can.
Being on the good side of flight attendants puts you at an advantage if you haven’t thought about it yet. As Kaz explains:
“This goes without saying, but it should also be reminded since sometimes people tend to forget the scope of our jobs. Your flight attendant’s main job is to bring you from point A to B, the food, alcohol, and caring are all basically add-ons.”
Remember, dear readers. Flight attendants aren’t at your beck and call. They have other obligations. But if you want a travel experience to remember, showing a simple act of kindness – especially to a flight attendant – goes a long way.
“We will assist you as much as we can, but remember to be reasonable, too,” Kaz said. “We would remember the nice ones more than mean passengers, and maybe, just maybe, we’d be able to give you treats as a thank you.”
Bonus: Get Better Deals With Locals
When you get to a new destination, sticking with the tourist activities can be tempting. This part can be challenging, especially if you’ve read the travel advisories and have decided to adhere to them as if your life depended on them.
However, if you’re less particular and willing to take things further, follow the locals. As the late great Anthony Bourdain advised:
“Drink heavily with locals whenever possible.”
But if you want to save up on cash, Kaz has this advice for those who visit a country far from your own. Do this if you’re looking for a travel experience that makes it worthwhile.
“Tour packages are more convenient because you have to sit there and let them take you to all the tourist spots. But more often than not, they have a “tourist rate.”
“If you have time, try to talk to the locals, ask if there are local transportation providers that could get you around. These locals would likely know the roads just as well as the “pro” tour guides, and you would have a grand tour without having to be in a big group, which, let’s face it, has its downsides.”
Remember These Tips If You Want a Stress-Free Travel Experience
These aren’t just tips from any pundit. These are tips from someone who works in the industry and has seen everything. You will likely hear from people with experience (travel, in this case), but you will need the proper insight. That’s what you’re getting here.
And if you’ve picked up at least 0ne valuable thing from this article, keep it there with you. You never know when one of these tips can be most applicable.