Flight Tips and Hacks

Some of these tips may also be applied to the airport tips/hacks post I made but I thought it would be nice to have these separate.

  1. Plan where you’re going to sit in advance. Visit seatguru.com and have a look at the seating plan of your flight. The site has all the extra information that you’ll need to know, allowing you to find the most comfortable seat for you.
  2. Save space in your suitcase by wearing your clothes. Wear your heaviest clothes on the plane to save weight in your suitcase. That hoodie can be a blanket and pillow.
  3. Don’t get stuck in lines if you have issues with your flight. If your plane gets canceled or delayed, phone the airline from the airport to resolve the issue rather than waiting in the long queue. You’ll get to speak to someone so much quicker!
  4. Find your passport quicker by using different coloured stickers or paper clips on each person’s passport, so you can tell them apart easily and save yourself time at the airport. There’s nothing worse than fumbling through passports with all your bags in your hands!
  5. Consider foreign flights for better awards, as British Airways has one of the best programs for frequent flyer miles, even for Americans. It needs fewer points to redeem free flights and rewards, particularly for US travellers.
  6. Rebook for a cheaper change of flight. It may be worth considering rebooking your flight rather than changing the one you already have. Some airlines charge high changing fees, whereas last minute flights can be extremely cheap.
  7. Easily find out where your plane is from anywhere. Confirm the status of your flight before you even arrive at the airport by searching for the flight number online. All travellers need is the airline and flight number, which can be found on an airline ticket.
  8. Get an upgrade by booking an economy ticket with a Y or B in the code. This means you’re looking for a complimentary upgrade should one become available. This will work better if you’re a loyal customer.
  9. Take advantage of all the space in your suitcase by rolling your clothes when packing, giving you much more space than folding. Remember the extra spaces in unlikely places such as the inside of your shoes.
  10. Don’t lose any of your important information by keeping scanned copies of all of your flight documents. This can help you in the event of theft or loss. You can even store these on your phone so that they’re always with you.
  11. Protect your belongings during the flight by marking your baggage as ‘Fragile’ to ensure that it’s handled better as it goes through security. It’ll also be one of the first bags released after the flight, getting you out of the airport quicker.
  12. Keep an eye out for online deals and always do an extra search before booking flights. You never know what discounts you might find. Social media pages and voucher sites are a great place to find deals.
  13. Airlines and travel sites can record your visits by installing cookies on your browser, which can cause the prices you’re shown to rise simply because you’ve searched for those flights before. Avoid it by switching to ‘Private Browsing’ whenever you book flights.
  14. If your plane does not have personal TVs, you can create your own with your phone and a clear plastic bag. Simply insert your device, position it, then hook it onto the back of the tray-table.
  15. A bit of exercise before your trip can stave off the jet lag and leave you feeling better.
  16. If you decided on an impromptu trip you can find the best deals on flights on-the-go using the SkyScanner app.
  17. Download FlightBoard onto your phone for departures and arrival times.
  18. Look into Global Entry or your countries variation on this – I believe there is a program between Canada and the United States.
  19. Avoid paying for a luggage cart by using one that was left in the pickup area outside of the terminal by someone who didn’t return theirs. Bonus: Return it for money.
  20. Take batteries out of electric toothbrushes and other appliances before packing them. Vibrating suitcases have grounded many flights because of security concerns.
  21. If you lose something, check all of the lost-and-founds. The Transportation Security Administration, the airport police, and each airline have their own.
  22. Anything that’s been sitting in lost and found for more than 90 days is usually up for grabs. So, if you need something desperately, like a phone charger, just be honest and ask. Chances are that one has been unclaimed for 90 days, so they’ll just give it to you.
  23. Instead of putting small items like jewelry through the X-ray machine in a separate bin, put them in the pocket of a jacket or bag. That will clear more space on the conveyor belt and move the security line along faster.
  24. To avoid paying upward of $3 for a drink, bring an empty water bottle and fill it when you get past security. This reduces waste from plastic bottles.
  25. Or, freeze your water or Gatorade. Apparently, as long as liquids are frozen solid, they’re OK with the TSA.
  26. Ask for the whole can of your drink order. Flight attendants will usually give it to you.
  27. If a flight is canceled or overbooked, call the airline’s 800 number instead of getting into a terrifyingly long line. The customer service representative on the phone can do anything that the gate agent can. Or, even better, call while waiting in line, and work with whichever becomes available first.
  28. Bring a plug extension for airport outlets. If you have extra outlets, offer them and make some new friends.
  29. Can’t guarantee that this works, but try rolling back your computer’s clock for more time on Wi-Fi.
  30. Include your flight number on your car-rental reservation so rental agents know whether your flight is delayed or not and when to expect you.
  31. Use SeatGuru.com, a travel site that tells you which seat is the best on any given plane based on passenger reviews.
  32. Give up your seat for free perks and upgrades – volunteer to be bumped from an oversold flight and you could find yourself reaping all the benefits; free meals, drink, and accommodation nearby, then all the comforts of business class on the next flight.
  33. Go for a pre-flight jog – working out before a flight is a great way to stave off the jitters.
  34. Don’t wear fancy clothes and comfort is key going to the gate.
  35. Become one with layering – whether just keeping warm on the plane, going somewhere cold, or saving luggage space.
  36. Minimize carry-on baggage by paring down what you put in your carry on. Many can get down to one small personal bag and a lightweight carry-on suitcase.
  37. Pack the essentials you’ll need to freshen up (example: underwear and toothpaste).
  38. Your skin is going to go through the wringer, pack moisturizers, and introduce sheet masks into your flying routine. Plane air wreaks mayhem on your skin, so be sure to pack moisturizer, lip balm.
  39. Bring forms of entertainment that won’t kill your battery like books, a sketchpad, or journaling.
  40. Stop fighting for outlets, be a little sneaky, and get charging by plugging into the back of one of the televisions in the terminal.
  41. Airplane meals are full of sodium – enjoy a healthy meal in the terminal before takeoff and pick something up to eat during mealtime on the plane, like a sandwich, aside, and the biggest bottle of water you can find. Just don’t purchase anything smelly.
  42. While everyone in front of you is rushing to their seats, hang back and ask a flight attendant if there are any upgrades available. Sometimes you can get a free upgrade to business (or even first) class if empty seats are available.
  43. Sit near the wing if you can if not a fan of turbulence, due to planes are designed to rock like seesaws in turbulent conditions. You’ll experience less movement in the middle.
  44. Sync your watch and devices to your destination’s time zone and not worry about it when you land. Fall into your destination’s rhythm by getting your brain used to it early.
  45. Move around and elevate your legs as often as possible, try to walk around every hour or so to keep your blood pumping. If you’re sitting in business class and you have actual legroom, you can elevate your legs for a similar effect.
  46. Avoid carbs if flying leaves you feeling bloated. Things like pasta are great for keeping hunger pangs at bay, but they’ll also cause your body to hold water. That’s especially bad if you’re not following this advice and not staying sufficiently hydrated.
  47. Drink water like it’s your job. When the finish bottle that you likely bought in the terminal or brought with you ask the flight attendant (politely) to fill it every time a food or drink service rolls around. If you want to step it up even more consider bringing Emergen-C for your water. Not only does it have Vitamin C to ward off your coughing fliers but more importantly it has electrolytes to help keep you hydrated.
  48. Need a pick-me-up? Opt for green tea. It’ll give you the zing you need without the crash and jitters that, like a hangover, don’t go well with jet lag.
  49. Trick your brain into sleeping by carrying out your normal routine (or some version of it, anyway). If you can, change into a comfier shirt, wash your face, brush your teeth, and convince your mind that it’s bedtime.
  50. Get a portable battery to charge your items just in case you don’t have outlets next to you.
  51. Find tiny containers in the house (or purchase new ones) and fill them up with your own toiletries, you can refill them or if staying at a hotel and they give you small complimentary shampoo, conditioner, etc use those bottles over again. Find a bag or large enough container to put the tubes in to separate them from the rest of your luggage (so possible spills are reduced).
  52. Bring a physical book along.
  53. Hand-sanitizer or wipes to wipe down the armrest, TV screen, and tray table.
  54. Use the bathroom 20 minutes before you land to avoid the rush to the toilets at the airport. Even when the seatbelt light comes on, you have about 15 minutes of leeway if you’re desperate.
  55. Save yourself money on changing your currency by using ATM’s when you have landed at your destination to get the right currency, rather than using the expensive currency converters. Don’t use the currency converters at the airport, as they have the highest fees.

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