I just love flying. This moment, when the nose gear leaves the ground, and you slowly ascend towards new adventures… So far, I flew more than 100 times, probably a lot, but I didn’t avoid many mishaps. To excuse myself, I might add that the majority of them isn’t so obvious… So what you should do to make your plane trip hassle-free and enjoy stress-free flights?
HOW TO ENJOY STRESS-FREE FLIGHTS?
NO PARTY ALL NIGHT LONG BEFORE MORNING FLIGHT
It started really in an innocent way. Magda, come on, don’t be lame, go to the club with us, just for a moment, you will get some sleep during your flight (yeah, I know, I am not good at resisting peer pressure…). I thought: “OK, I can do it. I will go only for an hour or two, I’ll be back in the hotel at midnight. The plane is scheduled at 7 am, I’ll take a taxi about 4.30 am and about 5 o’clock I’ll be sipping coffee at the airport.”. What a brilliant plan, isn’t it? I put a makeup on, got dressed, was ready to go. I also ordered a wake-up call at 4 am and taxi at 4.30 am.
Lesson one: if you start partying in Dubai, you just can’t stop after one or two hours. So, obviously, I left when they already closed the club… at 3 am. Lesson two: traffic in Dubai at 3 am is as bad as at 5 pm. As a result, I returned to the hotel at 3.50 am. I thought that this 10-minute nap would be such a great idea… Yes, apparently I even answered this wake-up call. But I was so exhausted that I happily continued sleeping… Then another call from the front desk woke me up, this time informing me that my taxi had been waiting for me for 15 minutes… and if I could finally come down. Whoa, what time is it… almost 5 am!!! I threw randomly a few things into a suitcase (of course, I didn’t pack in advance) – fortunately, after a weekend in Warsaw, I had to come back anyway. OK, just relax, the airport can’t be that crowded in the morning. I didn’t know what’s coming next…
CARRY SOME CASH. ALWAYS.
It wasn’t possible to pay in a taxi by card. Well, it happens, I looked in my wallet… hmm well 20 dirhams, that’s not enough. So first – a ride in search of ATM.
ATM No. 1. – out-of-order.
ATM No. 2. – doesn’t read my card.
ATM No. 3. – a maintenance break.
It was 5.45 am and we were still stuck in the middle of Dubai. I asked hesitating how much a ride to the airport would cost me because basically, I have only 20 dirhams… The taxi driver looked at me with pity and said 19. And yes! Taximeter showed exactly 19.60 dirhams… I made it! I was so excited that went on a shopping spree right afterward… my poor credit card. Definitely, one more thing to enjoy a stress-free flight afterward.
EXCHANGE CLOTHES IN SUITCASES WITH YOUR TRAVEL COMPANION
If you fly with someone, think about exchanging clothes in suitcases with your travel companion. In case one of your luggage is lost, you’ll always have a few things to wear till your bag is delivered. You can only hope it will be found, not like my dad’s suitcase, which miraculously vanished forever between Athens and Warsaw. This is another lesson – never put anything valuable in checked-in baggage – jewelry, beloved shoes, wedding dress… just name it.
CHECK YOUR DATE OF ARRIVAL
Oh, all these time zones, who would ever think about them? It sounds soooo embarrassing but it also happened to us… One day before our flight to the US, I wanted to check again, at what time we arrive exactly. I saw something really strange. Hmm, September 25 and not 26? How come? It dawned on me. I completely forgot that we’re going from east to west. I quickly searched Booking.com looking for anything free. We had a blessing in disguise because by chance we found a cheap and good hotel in the heart of Hollywood! Otherwise, we wouldn’t be so relaxed and have a stress-free flight…
DON’T UNDERESTIMATE TRAFFIC
Although it may seem obvious, always add some more minutes to time usually needed to get to the airport. If normally it takes 30 minutes away, assume this time it will take one hour. Seriously, it’s better to spend half an hour at the airport relaxing than freaking out in the car in the middle of a giant traffic jam. I had such a situation twice. The first time when I was going from one side of Warsaw to the airport on opposite side to catch a plane to Beijing and got stuck in traffic… At 5 am! Usually, it’s peace and quiet… I was checking-in three minutes before closing. The second time, a bus to the airport in Milan didn’t take us due to limited seats… The next one was in 20 minutes and could take again only 50 people from the big crowd waiting!
COLLECT YOUR BILLS
Let’s assume that you’ve gotten to the airport, but… your plane not. What to do? Just relax. Even if your flight arrives less than 3 hours late (after 3h you’re entitled to special compensation if there is EU-link), you should collect receipts for food eaten while waiting. Recently we sat 2.5 hours at the airport in Rome because the plane could not take off due to a snowstorm. But anyway, Lufthansa decided to give us back 50 EUR spent on meals – nice 🙂 If you have short transfer or you already see that you won’t make it to the next flight, go to the airline counter and discuss the matter. If the delay is insignificant and you travel on one ticket, it often happens that the second plane waits for latecomers.
TAKE ENTERTAINMENT WITH YOU…
Long flights are just made for catching up with cinema hits. Typically, during one flight I watch 2-3 movies (normally I don’t have time, unfortunately). Unless there is a failure of the on-board entertainment system. A few years ago, there were some planes flying on route Warsaw – Dubai, which notoriously had such problems. Looking out the window for 6 hours may get a bit boring… Since then I always take my entertainment with me! Typically, I grab some newspapers and read books on the iPhone (I have a kindle, but definitely prefer iBooks, why carrying around another gadget? ;-). Another thing helping you enjoy stress-free flights!
…AND COZY SOCKS
I do not know how it works, but depending on the aircraft, you can perspire as in the heat of the Sahara or die of arctic cold. I usually have experience the second option. When my feet got cold, I can’t fall asleep even for a minute… My advice – super cozy, warm socks. Really thick and long ones. They are super comfy and make me wanna sleep for hours.
DRINK PLENTY OF WATER
Even if it adds some holiday vibes during flight, alcohol is your biggest enemy on board. It only increases dehydration during a long haul flight. I often had a very dry and itchy skin after few hours in the air, I was scratching myself like crazy… Any cream really seemed to help. Therefore I advise you to take care of your body and simply drink a lot of water. I know that flight attendants pour just a few small cups of water and I don’t want to disturb them every 30 minutes, so I came up with another idea. I always carry a large empty bottle that I fill after passing a security check in the water fountain or tap water (if you know it’s safe as in Munich). An additional 1 liter of water always travels with me on board.