I have recently been abroad and for the first time taken a non direct flight (this is something I will not do often if I can help it!)
Whilst I actually quite like flying (weird), and am thrilled at the fact that I can easily see other people’s cultures, I find the airport a very challenging environment. Here are some quick top tips for a stress free time at the airport/on the flight. These are for anyone travelling, whether you have a disability or not!
- Book an airport lounge if you can – not only is this much more relaxing, but can be cheaper when travelling at a time when you will want to eat/drink. Airport food can be very expensive and a lot of airport lounges provide hot/cold food, drinks and snacks. My experience of airport lounges has been variable, but when I travelled to Florida, I was really impressed with the airport lounge and how stress free it made our airport experience
- Try and choose an aisle seat that is near the front – you will find it easier whilst on the plane (more leg room and easier to get to the loo) but also you can get off the plane quicker once you land at your destination!
- Do advanced check in online – this has to be the ultimate time saver in my opinion. I completed my check in for my last trip in advance and downloaded my boarding pass directly to my mobile phone
- Read up on the airport(s) before you travel – the last airports that I travelled to were really large international airports. I did not read up on them before I travelled and was caught off guard by the size and complexity. Having a disability, this caused a lot of additional stress that I could have avoided
- Book any security fast track options if you can take them to save time with the security checks. If you have booked accessibility, sometimes they also take you through a different security check which is quicker
- Only take hand luggage – this has been such a time saver for me! For my last few trips I did not check in any baggage which made the time at the airport much less stressful
- Read up on what is allowed in hand luggage and pack your liquids into a transparent bag at home before you set off
- Wear clothing that won’t cause problems at security – belts, boots and jackets all cause problems so try and limit these else you’ll end up needing to take these items off and you will be slowed down
- Choose when you travel carefully – this one is difficult for me as I struggle with late night flights which tend to be quieter, however going midweek and outside of the school holidays means the flight and the airport will be much quieter
- Download some videos/TV programmes to your electronic device to keep you entertained and make sure it is fully charged – the time in the airport and on the plane just flew by (excuse the pun) when it normally feels like it drags. I was able to binge watch some of my favourite series and catch up on some podcasts I was well behind on!!