Oh it’s on baby

This pic is all I’m going to get to see of Williamsburg on this trip…

It’s holiday travel time and I tried to find a post I’d done ages ago with my personal helpful hints for the occasional traveller.  I can’t find it though and it’s probably fatigue, so I’ll make up a new and improved simple travel hint list:

1.  Check in online as soon as possible (usually 24 hours before your departure).  Any seat is better than no seat on an oversold flight.

2.  Check your bag.  I know, you have to pay to check it but your life will be so much easier.  Also please keep in mind that you can check your carryon sized bag at the gate FOR FREE if you didn’t heed my advice and now see the error of your ways.  It goes to baggage claim and if you’re connecting give the agent the connection information.

3.  If you can’t lift your bag, don’t bring it aboard.  I know that you want me to lift it for you, but I work 3 to 4 flights a day, there are 200 people on the plane and my company won’t pay me workman’s comp for bag lifting injuries.  I have tendonitis in both arms and a bad shoulder from all the lifting over the years, so please be mindful of what you’re bringing aboard.

4.  If there is something you absolutely need (medicine, food, pillow, blanket, magazines, earplugs) for a comfy flight, please bring that item with you.  I have none of those things to give you and cursing me out will only get you removed from the airplane.  Remember that domestic flights no longer serve food in coach, there may be food for sale, but don’t count on that.  Stop in the airport for a sandwich or bring one from home.  You can bring food through security, just not liquids.  You CAN bring your empty water bottle through security and fill it up at the airport drinking fountain.  I just don’t have enough water provisioned onboard to fill up your gallon Nalgene jug.  I wish I did, but I don’t.

5.  Allow plenty of time to get through security and expect there will be lines.  Despite what you read and hear on those awful “news” channels, you will probably not notice any difference in procedure at the security checkpoint.  Follow the TSA’s instructions about shoes and belts, take your laptops out and for heaven’s sake, that $4.99 in small change in your pocket IS going to set off the alarm so leave it in the piggy bank at home.

6.  Be nice.  Please be nice to your travel companions, fellow passengers and airport staff.  A please and thank you really go a long way.

7.  You are not alone.  There is one flight attendant for every 50 passengers and that call light is for emergencies (i.e. you’re sick, smell smoke or see fire).  Also remember that planes are dirty and disgusting.  Wear closed shoes and long pants.  I’m not kidding.  Don’t take off your shoes and walk around the airplane (EWWW) and bring a jacket.  Planes are cold, except for that one in 50 that’s way too warm.  Layers are your friend when travelling.

8.  Please don’t tell me about “how it used to be” in 1963.  The world has moved on and those $39 fare sales were financed by the 40% paycut I took in 2003.  If you are still nostalgic, read this WSJ article.

I could go on, but you get the idea.  Just plan ahead for your needs, allow enough time for the travel process and get in the right frame of mind.  You’re travelling for a reason (to be with people you love) so keep sight of that reason.  If you don’t know if you can bring something the TSA website has guidelines as well as your airline’s website.  Safe travels friends!