Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Flying Tips and Stories

Hello, blogging friends! I know I've been MIA for the last few weeks, but I am back now! In preparation for my sisters graduation ceremony and my mothers baby shower, I was busy working on stuff every waking moment for a while. Then I enjoyed over a week of vacation in Maine and North Carolina. It was fantastic! But now the baby shower and the graduation are over, and its back to the real world. I'm not sure what all the real world is, but it does include blogging!

I have mucho posts for you in the next few days (provided Irene doesn't ruin my plans) and to start, I want to talk about flying again.

I rambled about how much I loved flying Jet Blue over here. Unfortunately, this time I didn't get to fly with them again, but I still had a great trip! Here are my favorite parts of this flying trip:

  • I was able to travel with just a carry-on. More about that in a minute
  • Delta Flight attendant had a new line on one flight:

    "Please shut off all electronic devices. This includes anything with an on/off button, anything with a battery, and anything that starts with an 'i' or ends with 'berry.' Thank you."
  • On one flight, I was at the very back of the plane...row 31 or something like that?? After I was already seated a lady came limping down the aisle to the row behind me. She was handicapped, and was given a window seat. She asked the lady on the aisle if she would change seats, but she refused. (Dislike) The man in front of her, however, willingly and kindly switched seats with her. Then a stewardess that was watching the exchange told the man to pick any drink he wanted on the house. I was so glad he got rewarded for his gentlemanliness!! We could use more willing-to-give-up-their-seat people.

  • The boarding process had started for one flight, beginning with disabled people or parents with small children. Then first class passengers were called. Shortly after that, the flight attendant called for what sounded like "Zones 1-4." As the entire crowd of people started rushing toward the gate, she started yelling, "First class only! Rows 1-4!" The whole crowd cracked up!
  • I had a window seat both flights. I love window seats!!
I've only been flying for about 6 years, but in my limited experience I've learned a few things to make your flights more efficient and enjoyable. Here are my expert tips and tricks:

  • Whenever it is possible, I like to take advantage of a free first bag offer. Checked baggage is easier than dragging all my life goods through the airport for 2 hours+. But that doesn't happen very often. Normally they charge for each bag, soooo....

  • ...that means I travel with carry-ons whenever possible. I can fit a lot in a small rolling suitcase. Airlines let the size of carry-ons really slide, so even if your suitcase doesn't technically fit in the box near the gate, you are still ok. Not only can I take a carry-on suitcase, but I am also allowed one "personal item" such as a backpack, laptop bag, purse, etc. Usually I take my backpack with my laptop, Bible, and other books inside.
  • I normally take the things I need from my purse (wallet, passport, gum, chapstick, etc) and put them in my backpack. Then I pack my purse in my suitcase so I will have it when I get to my destination.

  • Before leaving on your trip, check the TSA website. Know what you can take on your carry-on and what to leave behind.
  • Have a plan for when you go through security. I can do this fairly quickly. The key is to get all your belongings up on the belt and take off half your clothes and put them up there too. Just kidding, but it seems like it sometimes! So heres what I usually do: I throw my suitcase up there to get that out of the way. I set my backpack on the counter and grab a bin. My laptop goes in that bin. (TSA requires that your laptop be in a bin by itself) Then I grab another bin and put my shoes (wear flip flops or sandals!!!) watch, necklace, and anything else you need to put in there. Try to avoid wearing a belt, or anything else unnecessary. If you really need a belt, put it in your suitcase and just put it on after security. Saves time and doesn't hold up the line.
  • They tell you to put all your liquids and gels in a clear ziplock bag and take that bag out of your suitcase when you go through security. I usually put them in a gallon bag and put that bag in the front pocket of my suitcase so I have easy access to it. However, I normally don't end up taking it out...it goes through just fine in the suitcase, and then never question it. (I always have travel-sized stuff)
  • Once you get on the other side of the screener thingy, just pick up and put on all your belongings as quickly as you can! I usually step into my flip flops first (standing on public carpet in bare feet - eww), slide my laptop into my back back and sling it over my shoulder, set my suitcase on the floor beside me, and scoop up whatever is left. I usually carry my watch, necklace, etc. and get out of the way...I can put those on later. Anything to keep the line moving and stay out of people's way!
  • Here's the obvious: don't let your stuff out of your sight. Yeah, that means squeezing in a bathroom stall with a suitcase and a backpack. Fun.

  • Unless you have a reason to be in a hurry, try to get a ticket with 1:30-2 hours layover between flight. Usually there are several options for tickets with different layover times. I like to have a long enough time slot in case of delays. As soon as I land, I go find my next gate and make sure it is on time. Then I go back and browse bookstores and coffee shops. :) If you are not rushed, everything is much more enjoyable.

Overall, flying is a fun experience! I don't think I will ever get tired of watching the take-off process...I love trying to figure out what I am looking at! (School buses from about 10,000 feet look hysterical!) Just relax and determine ahead of time that you are going to have fun.

Do you have any fun or not-so-enjoyable experiences with flying? What about some tips you've learned for a successful flight? Go ahead and share!

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