This is dedicated to all those who are taking flights this holiday season. And of course, these don’t apply if you usually fly Business Class.
1) Avoid Queues. Don’t bother with queues. Either get in 4 hours early and be the first to check in or be content with being among the last few. Avoid them when possible.
The most ridiculous queue is the one that builds up at Boarding. Everyone seems to be in a hurry to get into the plane (and then do what?). Enjoy your music, keep calm and get in once the queues are done.
2) Avoid the cramped seats by booking an emergency exit row seat. At check in, ask for the window seat next to the emergency exit. This is huge value especially if you have long legs/prefer leg room. Emergency exit seats are usually always available on request.
The only downside is that these seats don’t recline. However, a seat by the window means the ability to rest your head on it. Pretty comfortable.
3) Enjoy the entertainment by carrying your own headphones. Aside from lesser microbes, the in flight headphones are typically bad quality.
Point to note: On most flights, there are 2 headphone inputs i.e. One for each ear which are built for the low quality inflight headset. Fret not. When you plug in your headphone, just plug it in any of the sockets and adjust it a little bit. Don’t insert it completely as that would mean one sided sound. A bit of tweaking and you’ll be just fine.
4) Choose window or aisle. Check in online. Be proactive and choose a window or aisle seat. Window is great because you are not disturbed and have the window as an additional option to rest your head. Aisle is great if you like to stretch your legs often and/or use the bathroom. The middle seat is good for neither, of course..
Also, on long/red eye flights when you expect to work the next day and need sleep, avoid picking the first few rows in Economy class. Unless, of course, the sound of crying babies puts you to sleep.
5) Special Meal Plans: If you are on long flights and need sleep, think about asking for special meal plans during check in. Asking for ‘vegetarian’, for example, means you will be served first and attended to long before the food trolley is pushed around row by row.
A quicker road to sleep.
6) Ask for an upgrade. No reason not to unless your airline has strict anti upgrade policy. (Singapore Airlines leads the way in this regard. Asking this question is futile. But it has worked well for me on other flights. The other interesting thing here is that getting a ‘no’ is a good way to make other requests. Basic persuasion tip.)
You typically get an upgrade when economy class is flying full. That said, I know, from experience, that asking for an upgrade can often be tough in our own minds since they involve stepping out of our comfort zone.
So, here’s a typical upgrade conversation.
“Is economy flying full?”
Are there any empty rows in economy? (This allows you to sleep full length!)
“Oh great! Can I have an upgrade then?”
The best part here is that if it’s a No, you can cash it in for another request Eg: Waive off excess luggage.
And if yes, well, you lucky dawg! :-)
Three vital things I’ve learnt about upgrades.
i. They teach you a lot about rejection. If you have a fear of hearing a ‘no’, this is a fantastic place for you to put your fears aside and just ask!
ii. You can test your persuasion skills and learn to ask. They are a great place for you to test your persuasion skills. And the most amazing thing here is that you never know what you can get unless you begin asking!
iii. You will have to remember the Yoda nugget. Of course, you have got to believe…
7) Stillness Speaks when you have difficulty sleeping. For many of us, sleeping on flights is an uphill tasks and we walk out feeling tired and exhausted.
So, here’s a special tip that always works for me. Get hold of the audio version of a book called Stillness Speaks by Eckhart Tolle. The ideal way is to buy a copy on Audible/Amazon and put in on your phone.
Put your headphones on. If you have gone the Audible way, put the app on 30 minutes sleep mode, and watch yourself waft into deep sleep.
Happy Flying! And look forward to other hacks that you employ on your flights in the comments..