Here is part 2 of our list of the Top 20 Mistakes When Flying and some tips to avoid making them again. Part 1 is available here.
11. Not Preparing for the Worse
Thankfully baggage does not go missing that often. But it does happen. A little bit of forward thinking can reduce the pain however.
Most people seem to pack a bag each. This one is for mom, that one for dad and of course one each for the kids.
Which means that if one any bag does not arrive at your destination that person has just the clothes they have with them.
A simple solution is to mix clothes between bags, if a bag goes missing everyone has a few less clothes but should be able to get by until the missing bag, hopefully, arrives.
Of course none of this helps if all of your baggage doesn’t arrive.
12. Lack of Organisation Part II
You are in the queue for security at the airport. The queue snakes around passing many,many signs with colourful pictures detailing what you need to do, which will be very similar to what you have already done at previous airports.
So why are there so many people standing in front of the security officer in shock that their laptop needs to come out of their bag, that they can’t take that 500ml bottle of expensive shampoo through, that their car keys are likely to set off a metal detector.
You have plenty of time to get yourself organised, get your things ready, dump any bottles of water over 100ml in one of the many bins and not cause a further delay to the people waiting behind you.
13. The Wrong Terminal
Even seasoned travellers can get this one wrong.
We did this year. We set off from our hotel to Krabi Airport in Thailand and he asked where we were going. We told him Bangkok, so he took us to the domestic terminal.
Of course we actually needed the International Terminal as we were only transiting through Bangkok on our way back to the UK.
The airport were used to the problem and had a free shuttle between terminals.
Head to larger airports and the problems gets worse. Is your flight going from Terminal 1 or Terminal 5?
Always check before you fly which terminal you need, if possible for every flight you will be taking.
14. Changing Money at the Airport
Apart from the very occasional exception, changing money at the airport is going to cost you money.
You will almost always get a much better exchange rate before you leave home. In some cases the exchange rate will be even better at your destination.
Do your research and plan ahead.
15. Relying on In-Flight Food
If you are flying on a budget airline the chances are you will get offered food, at an inflated price.
On a scheduled airline, especially long-haul, you will probably be offered food, possibly more than once on your flight.
You will usually even get a choice of food.
If you are a fussy eater then there is a good chance you won’t be happy with the food choice.
If you have dietary needs, you must order a suitable option before you fly as the airline needs to plan ahead.
It’s always worth having some suitable snacks in your hand luggage, especially if you are travelling with children.
16. Not Personalising Your Bags
Your flight has ended, you have got into the terminal building and probably passport control and now you need to collect your baggage.
The bags start to appear and suddenly you realise that there are lots of bags that look exactly like yours. You pull a bag off the belt, check the tag (if you have put one one on), find it’s not yours and have to put it back on the belt.
The bags start to appear and suddenly you realise that there are lots of bags that look exactly like yours.
You pull a bag off the belt, check the tag (if you have put one one on), find it’s not yours and have to put it back on the belt.
You wait for the next bag that looks like yours to come around.
In the back of your mind all you can think is what if someone makes the same mistake and leaves the airport with your bag before they realise.
A few distinctive stickers on your bags help to make them more individual and easy to recognise.
17. Getting Distracted by Airport Shops
This could have been titled “Getting to the Boarding Gate Late” or “Sitting in the Bar For Too Long”.
Go through any large airport and once you have cleared security and passport control you will find yourself in the middle of a shopping mall. A range of shops selling all those things that you can’t get anywhere else, books to read on the plane or beach for example.
There will also be a number of restaurants and bars all competing for your money before you even get on the plane.
Even better they have a captive audience, with most needing to kill a couple of hours before they can board their plane.
One of the most entertaining things to do in an airport is to watch people sprinting from a shop or bar as they “suddenly” realise that the final call has just gone out for their flight or even worse, they are being called by name.
It is far less entertaining if it is your flight waiting for them but if you are sat on a plane waiting don’t jump to conclusions. A few years ago our flight was delayed and they held the next flight for us, and the other passengers making the same connection. The looks we received as we boarded the plane which was moving even before we had sat down. We had pretty much run through the airport between planes.
18. Getting Drunk
Some people feel they need to have a few drinks to help with their fear of flying.
Others just go into party mode and start drinking as soon as possible.
If you drink too much prior to boarding you take the risk that they will not allow you on board the plane.
Get drunk on the plane and they may resort to extreme measures to control you, they may even divert the plane and have police waiting for you when you land.
19. Don’t Rely on In-Flight Entertainment
Not all flights have a decent system. Budget airlines will often make you pay for content. Every now and then your personal system might not be working properly or the plane may have issues. The quality of the content varies considerably.
For most adults this is just an inconvenience, even on a long-haul flight.
If you are travelling with children, or an “adult” that behaves like a child, not having something to occupy their time could be a nightmare.
Always have a fall back plan. Books. Magazines. Tablet with downloaded games and films.
20. Packing Prohibited Items
Every country has a list of the items that you are not allowed to carry in hold and baggage luggage – these lists will be different. We are not just talking drugs and weapons here.
The list can be very different from country to country however, so just because the country you left regarded it as ok does not mean that the country you arrive at will be as happy.
Many items that may seem innocent to you may be seen in a very different light elsewhere. Many countries have restrictions on the types of food that you can take out or bring in. In some cases a fresh item might be banned but a dried version is ok.
Always check, you don’t want to have items confiscated or worst find yourself fined or under arrest.
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