It’s only possible to watch or read the news by seeing horror stories about the travel industry. Many times, frustrated travelers who are looking forward to their first holiday, business trip, or family reunion in a while have valid criticism. Although it is disappointing that the government had blamed airlines for current operational problems – considering they ended the furlough program when passenger numbers had dropped 55%, and the industry was still facing rapidly changing travel restrictions – the reality is that today’s traveller bought their ticket in good faith, and wants to escape as smoothly as possible.
Since I started my career at the check-in counter, through being a senior cabin crew member and now as our people manager, I have seen my fair share of delays, long queues, and passenger meltdowns. This year, I have traveled about once per month. Some for work and some for pleasure. I have noticed a difference in not only the logistics but also the traveler experience. Most of us used to be able to jump on a plane and go, just like before the pandemic. But now, we have to either remember the process, adapt to new requirements, or both.
Our colleagues on the plane and in the terminals work tirelessly to eliminate any negative experiences. These common sense tips will help you to avoid stressful situations and save your time.
Do your homework
Before you leave for your trip, make sure you have the latest passport and visa. Also, be sure to know the Covid requirements. There’s a good chance that things have changed since your last trip. You want to avoid standing in line at check-in only to be denied entry.
Before you fly, make sure to check the entry requirements.
Although restrictions and face-mask rules are decreasing around the globe, we have learned that things can quickly change, sometimes with little notice. It’s important to check the entry requirements for each country before you travel. To be certain, you should also check them again a few days prior to your departure.
Print your documents
Although it may seem simpler to travel with e-tickets and certificates that you have downloaded to your smartphone, in today’s climate, printing a copy of your documents can be much faster. Everything I need to take with me when flying is now printed out and kept in a clear wallet. I can hand my wallet to any check-in agent, immigration officer, or another official, and they will see everything. It is also easier to carry paper documents, especially in the event of delays.
Pack across suitcases
This is an old tip, but it’s important to avoid packing suitcases individually if you are traveling with a couple or a family. If one suitcase is lost, you will have at least one bag that you can use until it is found.
You should know your airline’s allowance for hand baggage and follow it.
Many travelers are reluctant to carry any luggage in their hold and prefer only to bring hand luggage. This is understandable, given the amount of footage of bags being mishandled online. However, it can also be dangerous. A lot of people buy bags that are compliant with the airline’s hand baggage allowance but then overfill them. The bag will bulge if it needs to be sized correctly and must be checked in. This is a common mistake, especially since there is no industry standard for hand baggage allowance. Many travelers fall prey to this trap. To minimize stress at the check-in and gate, pack carefully and make sure you have enough.
Pre-order liquids can be picked up at the airport.
You don’t need to worry about hand luggage if you travel light. World Duty Free offers an option for click and collect. You can order larger shampoos, particular skincare items, or baby items online. They will be delivered to your designated airside shop on the day that you travel.
You will need to dress for the journey.
It’s always lovely to see people dressed up when I travel. However, elaborate outfits can cause delays at security. For example, strappy boots take forever to undo. They get stressed when they reach security. The people behind them become frustrated, and that leads to unnecessary delays and long lines at security. Comfortable slip-on shoes are my go-to when I travel. Layered clothing is also a good option. This makes it easy to change between layers and make sure you are comfortable regardless of the temperature at the terminal, onboard, or at the other end.
Prepare for security
Don’t assume that you won’t have to place everything in the tray at security. While you wait, please take off your shoes and belt, take your laptop and liquids out of your bag, and place them in your bag. This process is made easier by a well-organized flight bag that has designated compartments.
Prepare for cancellation or delay.
It’s possible not to wait, but it is important to have something to keep your mind busy. You should bring a charger, snacks (which will not be confiscated at customs or security if you forget), and headphones to keep you entertained and possibly drown out others around you.
Although it can be difficult to travel when we are stressed, it is much more enjoyable when we are patient and helpful with our travel companions and those who are under great pressure to get us safely, comfortably, and on time. Remember to be kind to yourself and not let any small mistake or delay ruin your experience.