How to Fly Like a Professional

If you fly routinely you’ll begin to pick up on a few things that the people who breeze through the airports do.  Most importantly, they probably ignore most of the people surrounding them which would make life easier, but is difficult to do.  It seems when people fly, they lose half of their IQ points.

Here’s a few tips that will help make your life easier and also make you a better passenger to the other people flying with you.

  • Be ready when you are going through security.  If you have a laptop, pull it out while you are in line. Take off your jacket and put your cell phone, change, and belt in a pocket in your backpack or carry-on so you don’t set off the alarm. Be careful with packs of gum as well.  Some use foil in their packaging and this can set off the metal detector. Remember, if you can do it while in line it will save time when you approach the belt.
  • Go to the bathroom before boarding the plane. If your flight is only a couple of hours you probably won’t have to get up and use the tiny lavatory.
  • When boarding begins wait for your boarding group to be called. Don’t be the person who stands in the way while several boarding groups in front of you are trying to board. Inevitably every time I fly there are 20+ people blocking the way and they’re the ones who are usually boarding last.
  • Have small items like headphones or a book that you want during the flight ready before you get on the plane. If you travel with a carry-on, put it up above your seat. Not in the front of the plane. You’re just wasting room that other people need.
  • Keep your jacket, purse, or small bag with you. If there is room when everybody has boarded the plane, go ahead and load it up top.
  • When you recline your seat, do so slowly and be careful of laptops behind you. I try to turn around and see if the person behind me is working on a laptop.  Some airplane seats have very small tray tables and I have seem computer screens get smashed by reclining seats on more than one occasion.
  • Don’t fall asleep on the person next to you. Especially if you drool.
  • Close the windows, especially if you’re going to sleep. The sunlight can be blinding at certain angles and it usually causes glare on the TV monitors or laptops that people may be using.
  • If you are listening to music, playing a game, or watching a movie, wear your headphones. People really don’t like hearing Super Mario Bro’s when they’re trying to sleep on a plane.

Have any other tips for flying like a pro?

3 Replies to “How to Fly Like a Professional”

  1. One point to add, if you have a hat, glasses etc, take them off before presenting your passport at immigration or customs; I have noticed in Bangkok, some people do not do this until they are asked and it takes what seems like an age longer! (Also in Hanoi)… Also bring your own ballpoint pen (black to be safe) on flights, so you can fill out the immigration forms, I once had two pens run out on me, and asked the cabin crew (on a low cost carrier) if I could borrow theirs, I was told ‘NO’… hmmm… the passenger across the aisle lent me his pen, so it worked out okay in the end!

  2. My trick to sleeping on the plane when flying east (careful, only good for those who drink):
    When taking the ~7-9pm long haul flight, dinner is served shortly after takeoff. I have 2 (exactly, no more) drinks with dinner, then no more alcohol. I quickly get tired as the effects wear off, and fall asleep <2h after boarding. Of course this doesn't work SO well if the 2 drinks are beer, because then you have to get up to use the restroom. So I stick with a gin & tonic and a wine.

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