Becoming a casual flyer

Having flown a decent amount of times I can say i’m not only a frequent flyer, but also became a casual flyer. It amazes me how people queue up 30 minutes before boarding starts and are struggling at the security lines just to be called back to the conveyor belt again to take off their belt for instance.

Like most things in life, you’ll get experienced in something by doing it a lot. But these tips will give you a head start:

Mindset:
Relax, nowadays flying with a low-fare airline isn’t much more troubling than taking the train, just make sure you arrive 1hr before departure and you’ll be fine. Don’t follow the insecure bulk of non-casual flyers but stick to your own plan.

Luggage:
Carry-on luggage only! Make sure you have a bag that doesn’t exceed carrier restrictions. If you want to bring jeans & shorts, wear the jeans when travelling, this saves space in your luggage, and it’t always a bit chilly up in the air, the same goes for a sweater/jacket.
Pack travel size toiletries like toothpaste, shampoo, and shaving foam. To be found at your local drugstore. Before leaving your home, put all liquids in a zip-lock bag inside your toilet bag and put your toilet bag on top of your luggage, to be easily presented at the security check. Do the same for your laptop, since it has to be scanned separately.

Airport security:
Have your boarding pass and passport within reach, so they can be presented swiftly when asked.

When lining up for security, put your wallet, watch, keys, phone, jewelry and belt in your coat or carry-on bag. This will keep all your personal belongings together and enables you to just drop your bag, coat and liquids on the belt and proceed.

At the boarding area, avoid waiting in line, instead, find a seat from where you can see the line to the boarding area. And stand up when the last people are having their boarding pass checked. Should you stand in line because everybody else is doing it? I’d rather relax a bit more and look around. The same goes for the queue to the gate.

Plane Seats:
Since low-fare carriers don’t assign seats to passengers, you have to choose a seat when entering the plane. The best seats are at the over-wing emergency exits, with more legroom so you can stretch your legs. Seats near the lavatories might be uncomfortable due to the smell and waiting people. You’ll experience a bit more noise behind the wings, since the jet-engines are in front of you. When you get the opportunity to choose the seat at booking or checking in, make sure you had a look at www.seatguru.com to pick the best seat. This websites lists almost all planes from all regular airlines.

In your seat:
Pay attention when the crew is giving instructions. Being conscious about safety procedures allows you to relax a bit more when in flight.
Don’t forget that it’s not allowed to use your phone/ipod/notebook/tablet/e-reader after the cabin door is closed until you’re high above the clouds. Having an old-fashioned book or magazine at hand might be convenient. In-flight magazines can be quite entertaining. When the fasten seat belt lights go out you can switch to gadget-relying entertainment.

Exiting the plane.
After the fasten seat belts lights dim at the destination, it takes a while for the cabin crew to extend the built-in stairs and disarm the slides/open the door. There is no need to stand up in the isle when nobody is moving anyway. Just sit down and relax until the people in front of you are almost gone, get your bag and proceed to the exit. Do a quick wallet/phone/passport check while walking. Proceed through the terminal and enjoy the view of people waiting for their luggage..

If you have any additions to this, drop a line in the comment field.