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Tips for a Smooth Flight this Holiday Season

11th December 2015

Seasoned traveller or high-flying newbie, there are so many little tips and tricks that make plane travel  just that much easier. And with the holiday season hot on our heels, eager travellers across the country are getting their suitcases packed and ready for getaways both far and close. Here are some great tips for a smooth flight this holiday season.

Pre-Flight

1. Save a copy of your passport, documentation and e-tickets and send it to yourself in an email - if you lose any of your information or passports you have proof of who you are and your passport details that you can access easily anywhere - its saved me before and allows you to double check you have everything you need while away.

2. Think about your air miles - you may not travel often but accumulating the miles on a long haul trip can help go towards a holiday in the future, as they are generally valid for anywhere from six to 24 months.

3. Give yourself the maximum check-in time - if your flight leaves at a busy time of day, allow for unexpected hurdles. A three hour buffer will give you a better chance at snagging the first-come-first-serve emergency exit aisle seats that are given out at the discretion of the airline at check-in, and a chance to relax pre-flight.

4. Anticipate your seat selection - window or aisle isn’t always best – if travelling with a companion, consider taking seats in the middle section as this way you have easy aisle access and are only disturbing each other. Similarly, if you’re travelling in a group of four, why not take the four seats across the middle. You can arrange your seat selection ahead of time with you travel agent.

 Don't rush. Give yourself plenty of time for check in.

5. Think about your location on the place – there are pros and cons with your potential in-flight location, so think carefully about what is most important to you. If you sit closer to the front, you are more likely to be served meals first giving you a greater selection of food options; however if you are seated towards the rear of the plane you will be away from the sky-cots for infants, but it may take you longer to exit the aircraft on arrival.

6. Baby seats are necessary - ask yourself if you can handle your 18 month child - or grandchild - on your knee for a 12 hour flight? Why not book an extra seat for your little one to give them somewhere to lie down and sleep this isn’t your knee. The airlines won’t allow anyone to lie on the floor and bassinets are given out based on the age of the child, not on who booked first.

7. Suck it up – try a vacuum pack – try putting your clothes and other bulky items in space-saving vacuum packs, freeing up room in your suitcase for other items.

8. Make the departure day count – if you are flying domestically, consider booking you flights mid-week. They are generally cheaper and the planes are less crowded, which is ideal if you are flying with children.

In-Flight

1. Keep hydrated onboard - take an empty bottle with you when you check in that you can fill with water for the flight.

2. Keep valuables and other necessities at hand – stock your hand luggage with your valuable gadgets, a change of clothes, something comfortable to change into on the flight and some snacks.

 Keep hydrated on long-haul flights.

3. Wear bulky items onboard – this not only saves space in your luggage, but may come in handy if the in-flight air-conditioning is too cold, and can also be used as an extra pillow.

4. Heat proof any baby food - ask for bottles and meals for your infants to be warmed well in advance of when you need them.

5. Create the right environment for sleep – Travel with noise-cancelling earplugs, an eye mask, a pillow and blanket to set the mood for a good night’s sleep.

Transit

1. Dress your child in distinctive clothes – avoid losing them in crowded airports by putting them in an easy to spot outfit, or attach a luggage tag to your child’s clothing with their flight number and name on it just in case.

2. Make the most of your transit time – it pays to check ahead of time what facilities are on offer at your stopover airport. Often the stop over isn’t long enough to make it into the city and back again, but a few hours is ample time to enjoy the facilities that many of the major airports have to offer. At Singapore Changi Airport there is a swimming pool and cinema, Hong Kong International Airport offers passengers an IMAX cinema and golf course, while Tokyo International Airport offers sleeping cabins and private day rooms and London Heathrow provides airport hotel cabins and a wellbeing centre.

Arrival

1. Tie a distinctive ribbon or decoration to your bag – make it as easy to spot as possible in a sea of identical black bags.

2. Pre-book a transfer to your final destination – having someone waiting for you at the gate is convenient for weary travellers and means they don’t have to worry about how to make their way to their hotel.

 Make your suitcase stand out for easy bag collection.

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