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6 Secrets to a Successful Flight

©istockphoto/BraunS

©istockphoto/BraunS

It’s hard enough handling air travel these days without making it more difficult on yourself. Hopefully these few tips will make your next flight more successful.

Pack Light and Pack Right
The airlines are getting stickier about carry-on size bags these days. If your carry-on is too large, they will make you check it and possibly charge you for the pleasure. Check your airlines’ requirements and don’t push it. If you are checking a bag, put everything you can do without on the flight into your checked bag. Of course, never place valuables in your checked bag or you will possibly lose them; trust me, it has happened.

Fly at the Right Time
They say Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday are the cheapest days to fly. What they don’t tell you is what time to fly. Early morning flights are always the best bet to avoid delays and cancellations. The first flight of the day usually starts on time but as the day progresses, that flight that was late leaving LA first thing in the morning just gets later and later as each leg of its trip goes on. By the time you’re catching the third leg of that flight in Philly, it’s already an hour late before they even get to you.

Hydrate
It’s always recommended to stay hydrated when flying. Some airlines are even charging for water these days, so you don’t want to wait until you’re on the plane to get some water. Since the TSA won’t let you carry more than about 3 ounces of liquids, you can’t bring your own water through security. You can, however bring an empty water bottle with you. Just fill it up at the water fountain on the concourse and you’re good to go. If you’re one of those who don’t trust water fountains, you can purchase bottled water from the concessionaires once through security, but you will pay dearly for it there.

Food for Thought

You’re not getting the option of the chicken or the beef meal these days unless you fly first class. Heck, you’re lucky if they offer anything anymore. And if they do, it’s a box lunch full of stuff you really don’t want and once again, you will pay dearly for it. Once you’re on the concourse, you can get food to go. Your fellow passengers may not appreciate the aroma of your double Whopper with extra onions, but you sure will. Maybe be a nice guy and lay off the extra onions, though.

The Early Bird Gets to Fly
Check in early and online if possible. You get better seat selections when you do it first, so find out how early their early check in begins and hop to it. Get to the airport extra early if you aren’t checking in online or checking a bag. As we all know, customer service is not much of a concern for most airlines these days, so they barely staff the counters and expect you to take care of it all beforehand. The lines to check bags can wind through the building, so give yourself enough time to save some stress and/or disappointment when your flight is pulling out and you’re still in line at the counter.

Sleep it Off
If you can sleep on an airplane, you are one of the lucky ones. Not only will you be rested on your arrival, but you will have missed the monotony and boredom of flight, along with the torture of sitting in an airline seat for hours. Some folks take aids to help them sleep and others try to drink themselves away. Alcohol is never the answer (believe me I’ve tried); Melatonin is a much better (and natural) substance some use to combat insomnia and jet lag. If you need something stronger, Ambien is a popular sleeping pill, but does require a prescription from your doctor. If you are going to use one of these aids, remember that my shoulder is not a pillow. Believe me, many a passenger has thought it was.

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