As a tour operations company it is very hard when we get complaints at the end of a tour that we've conceived, developed and operated about…..the flights! Something we have no control over.
I have personally termed the act of flying to my clients as the “necessary evil” because if you want to travel, it is a necessity and anymore the airline industry as whole has a very evil aura about it. It seems appropriate when we are explaining to our clients what we can and cannot control as part of our service. But is it just the airlines fault?
Having been in the travel industry for over 25 years I can get on a roll complaining about airlines BUT In the last 2 weeks, 3 different planes have been forced to divert due to passengers getting upset about people reclining their seats. Now, this is a function that has been on the airplane seats almost from the 1st passengers plane but it seems that people are get less tolerant of others invading their very limited space.
Whether you blame the airline for adding too many seats to a plane therefore making the reclining function the focus of our frustration or the person who dared to actually recline…..the fact of the matter is that people are going to do what they need to do to get comfortable on the cramped flights and #2, airlines are not going to start taking seats out of planes so help us so how do we manage the “necessary evil” to get you to your dream vacations that is waiting for you.
Here are some very basic steps we recommend everyone to follow on a plane, ready?
- The golden rule, do unto others as you’d like them to do to you.
- Don’t be THAT guy. We all know the one who is loud, pushy, self-important and is going to make sure everyone knows that they are there. Chances are there is going to be one why give them competition. Let them look like the person fighting inner demons and go to your happy place.
- Be patient, be kind, be respectful - This covers most of life’s dramas but when you are flying it can make the difference between getting through a flight peacefully or making it the longest period of your life. You don’t have to fight every battle that is placed in front of you.
The best suggestions we can give our clients is how to prepare for their flights.
- Wear comfortable clothes; bring slip on shoes or slippers, NEVER go bare foot on a plane!
- Have your ear plugs, eye cover, blanket, electronics, chargers, reading material and lotion or Chap Stick all in arms reach at your seat. It’s too big of an effort sometimes to get into the overhead and you’ll suffer not being able to get to it!
- Bring your own water bottle and snack. Staying hydrated is a big step in overcoming jet lag and not feeling ill from a long flight. A lot of times the meals & snacks provided on planes are very high in salt & fat. Most people swell when they fly for these 2 reasons.
- Depending on the length of the flight take every opportunity to take a walk. Your legs will thank you when you arrive.
Lastly, going back to the word NECESSARY in the “necessary evil”, it is just that, necessary if you are going to make it to your destination this year! You are going to have to deal with the new policies and procedures of TSA and the airlines AND their baggage fees and what that means to your cabin comfort, maybe a seat assignment you don’t like and lastly, you are going to have to deal with people who sit by you. With all these factors, YOU and your attitude are the only things you can control. By accepting this you can prepare yourself and manage the experience without getting the air marshal involved which would significantly delay your vacation plans upon arrival! Instead, you will arrive at your dream destination and prepared to have the experience of a lifetime!