As many of you know, I worked for an airline for about a year. It was easily one of the toughest things I’ve ever done, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I packed airplanes with your overweight and over packed suitcases, dealt with the nastiest of customers and cleaned the most disgusting planes. So I thought I would share some pieces of insider advice for navigating an airport.
1. Be nice
That’s right-you better be nice to those airport employees. Chances are they are over worked, under paid and could really make your traveling experience awful. I always felt like people would yell and demand things, when in reality if they were kind and understanding you wouldn’t end up crying and feeling stranded. A little kindness goes a long way people. If you want a refund or something of the like these poor souls can’t help you, you’ll have to talk to corporate anyways. Chances are if you’re nice and ask politely to be placed in an exit row (extra leg room for free, heyyyyyyy!) they will do it.
2. Carry-On Only
If you can prevent it at all, don’t check a bag! Chances are it’s going to get lost or beaten up in the process. Plus, you’ll save tons of money and won’t be left waiting an hour for your baggage to arrive to the carousel. Make sure you never leave important things (like keys…I’ve seen it before) in a bag that you’re not always carrying with you. The airlines won’t refund you for being careless and dumb, trust me. Also, make sure your bag will stick out from the rest to avoid someone else accidentally taking your bag.
3. Bring your own snacks/H2O
It’s no secret that food in an airport is stupid expensive. I always bring granola bars, fruit (yes you can bring fruit), mixed nuts, etc. Remember the good ole days where a meal was essentially promised for every flight? Yeah, not any more and you don’t want to be starving while stuck on an airplane and forced to buy M&M’s for $5. Also, bring your own empty water bottle through TSA. It’s not rocket science but it will definitely save you time and money in the airport.
4. Don’t pack valuables/fragile items in luggage
I remember packing a plane one morning and there was a cardboard box with no padding that contained glass bottles of beer. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but your luggage is stacked under other luggage and just because you think bringing that craft beer home is a good idea, take my advice and just ship it (or skip it). When it comes down to it, the employee is going to choose to not throw their back out rather than make sure your luggage is neatly and perfectly placed in that cargo bin. Also, never ever ever ask for a “fragile” sticker or put it on your luggage…you’re just asking for it.
5. Murphy’s Law
When traveling, Murphy’s Law is always going to linger. Anything that can go wrong will. You’re going to miss your flight, get stuck at an airport because of a delay or your lovely airline of choice oversold your flight. I never had a perfect day at the airport, but if I’ve learned anything it’s that your airline employee wants to get you to your final destination even more than you do. That’s their job, and the sooner they can get rid of you the better. Also, if your flight is delayed because of weather and it happens to be blue skies where you are, the problem is with your destination so don’t freak out at the gate agent.They have no control over the weather (crazy right?!)
What are your airport suggestions? I’d love to hear them!