Many consider air travel to be a stressful event. And I don’t blame them. Big crowds, endless waits in the airport, overpriced food and drinks, filthy toilets… It is far from an enjoyable experience. Luckily, you can apply these forgotten but important tips to improve your air travel.
1. Dress Up!
There used to be a time when taking a flight looked like this:
It was a special experience – for civilized people. And thus passengers dressed up accordingly. Nowadays, the typical passengers look like they waddled straight out of Walmart – ungroomed, stinking, and wearing sloppy and utterly ridiculous clothing. All for the sake of ‘comfort.’
On top of that, they also behave exactly like they look – as disgusting, entitled troglodytes. Visit the popular Passenger Shaming Instagram page, for example, for an insight on the people you will often share an aircraft with. They have no manners and they believe they can do whatever they want.
Don’t be like these degenerates. For starters, dress up nicely. No, you don’t have wear a 3-piece suit, but at least make the effort to wear business casual attire. For example, a proper dress shirt, a dark pair of jeans or khaki pants, a sports coat and a quality pair of shoes (e.g. loafers or leather monk strap shoes) will already differentiate you from the majority of other passengers.
Trust me, you’ll look like a million bucks and you will feel like it too. And you will soon notice that the air crews will treat you very differently! Especially when you keep your damn shoes on…
2. Smile… and Respect Flight & Gate Attendants
While on the topic of air crews, have you noticed how passengers frequently treat flight attendants and gate agents like crap? These airline employees face daily abuse for problems they – quite often – are not even responsible for. And still they try to help their clients, only to be met with snarling insults and rage. Heck, here’s such an example just a few days ago…
I typically take a different approach – one that works wonders. Let me tell you an anecdote to illustrate my point.
In 2013, I had to attend a business conference in Riga (Latvia), which required a mandatory registration the evening prior the start of the conference. However, when I arrived at Frankfurt Airport, my scheduled flight was significantly overbooked – much to the dismay of a large group of passengers.
Normally I would have gladly accepted Lufthansa’s offer for a later flight and a free meal plus 150 euro gift certificate. But that meant I would not make it to the mandatory registration event in time.
So after the airline gate agents dealt with several raging passengers – all demanding to be allowed on the overbooked flight – I approached the desk… and I smiled. And I calmly asked how they were doing. I also explained that I would have loved to take their offer, but that I really needed to reach my destination in time and that I would appreciate any assistance.
The result? After the priority boarding passengers embarked, I heard one of the airline agents on the intercom: “Can mr. Tim Geelen report to Gate 5A for boarding, please?” I thanked the agents, and off I went.
I learned a valuable lesson that day. One that frequently grants me extra benefits during air travel: better & preferential treatment, free drinks, free seat upgrades… All by just giving a smile and some respect.
3. Pack Light!
After dealing with smelly and rude co-passengers, the last thing you want is wading through the airport with a heavy stack of cumbersome suitcases.
A smart traveller is a minimalist traveller. Someone who understands that more stuff will wear him down. One who can differentiate between the key nessecities and the useless items.
Toiletries? You can buy them cheaply in stores at your destination – often in travel-friendly sizes. Clothing? Wash the ones you brought in laundromats, your bathroom sink, or use the hotel service. It’s way better than bringing your entire wardrobe.
There are endless options to cut down on your luggage, and especially if you use a smartly designed bag and pack intelligently. I use the extremely versatile Pakt One bag, which is a compact suitcase/duffel hybrid made by PaktBags. And since the Pakt One is about the size of a typical gym bag, it is a perfect carry-on for air travel.
The benefits? For starters, I no longer have to wait to pick up my checked luggage – if it even arrives at all! I also have an unrestricted freedom of movement, without any large suitcases wearing me down. Instead, I travel light with just one compact bag over my shoulder – containing all that I need. From weekend trips to longer travels, it can all be done out of one single bag. Just ask Colin Wright and The Minimalists.
My friends, try out these 3 awesome tips and greatly improve your air travel experience as a result. Be sure to let me know how they work out for you.
Take care and until next time.