The Ten Commandments of Air Travel

A flight Attendant Provides Practical Advice for comfort at 33,000 Feet

By Elizabeth Blair

Travel CommandmentsWe’ve all experienced security hassles, spilled wine, headaches, and boring plane rides. While, unexpected quirks seem to happen at the most inopportune moments, traveling by air is definitely one of those times. As you’re starting out on your journey even the slightest discomfort can spoil your much-needed vacation. By simply following the Ten Travel Commandments you will have no flying nightmares to report upon your return-at least that were in you control. Let’s start.

1. Thou shall arrive early to the airport.

Check-in, check your bags, go through security, and find your gate. It all takes time; by arriving early you will avoid being hurried. What’s the point in starting out your vacation with a heart attack? The next thing you know you’re being buried.

2. Thou shall not get trapped at the security checkpoint.

As we all know, going through security can be quite a bother these days. You cross your fingers as you glide through the metal detector then — Beep! With a roll of the eyes you are being ushered to a little square where you will stand, legs apart as they wand your body while people walk by snickering, or you think they are.

As you are searched, questioned, and humiliated you keep telling yourself it is all for a good cause. Still, you wish you had avoided the entire incident. In order to avoid the metal detector going off, ensure you are not wearing any heavy jewelry that has a high metal content, if you are take it off.

Also remove your belt, shoes, hairclips, watch, pen, pager, and cell phone, oh and leave the Swiss Army knife at home.

3. Thou shall carry proper medications.

After the security hassle you most likely will have a headache. In addition to the standard aspirin, bring ibuprofen, and airsickness medicine. Keep in mind, airsickness meds are used for prevention and need to be taken about an hour before flight.

An antihistamine is another “must have.” You may not know you are at the beginning stages of a cold until you are in the air and it is too late, the awful pain of a clogged ear has arrived. Also, in most situations you do not know whom you will be sitting next to. Therefore, allergy medications and asthma inhalers are also appropriate if you happen to be allergic to perfume or cats. Whatever the situation may be, take the appropriate medicine if you anticipate or feel any discomfort.

4. Thou shall prevent toiletries explosions

The airplane cabin is made to expand and contract. Therefore, everything in your luggage does the same. When packing your toiletries, take note of what products you have that are plastic. These items normally consist of shampoo, conditioner, and lotion. Most often a screw on lid is present, which has a lift or press. This is where the liquid oozes from, or better yet, explodes from in flight.

(This can give you a headache, too.) To prevent this disaster, and the ruining of your clothes, squeeze most of the air out before closing the lid. For a backup, place all bottles that are spill prone inside a plastic bag, and then place it inside your toiletries case.

5. Thou shall drink water

Flying dehydrates you, so keep a large bottle of the wonderful beverage, H20, with you. It will make you feel better as you face the dry air of an airplane. Lathering on lotion isn’t a bad idea either since your skin is also prone to the dry, cabin climate.

6. Thou shall have stain-removing wipes handy

Turbulence may strike anytime. This is especially bad new when coffee or red wine is in hand. Club soda also works in a pinch to remove stains.

7. Thou shall stay comfortable

Another situation to be avoided during flight is discomfort due to the cabin temperature. Usually, plane cabins are cool, especially so during the summer months when you are wearing lightweight clothes. Thus, dress in layers and never rely on the airline to have a pillow or blanket; sometimes there are not enough for everyone. By the way, by bringing your own travel size blanket and inflatable pillow you are also choosing a sanitary approach to your travel comfort.

8. Thou shall bring entertainment

The clouds will only hold your attention for so long and if it’s dark you won’t even get to see the clouds. Bring a book, magazine, or DVD player. Your flight will fly by.

9. Thou shall only use the restroom when the seatbelt sign is off

There is nothing more dangerous than trying to use the bathroom in turbulence. Trust me, if you’re going to follow any of the commandments, this is the one! Oh, and even it’s only water you splash on your khaki shorts people will be whispering differently — so be on the safe side.

10. Thou shall relax and enjoy oneself

After all, isn’t that what vacation is all about?

Elizabeth Blair resides in Arizona with her husband Jeff and two stepsons. With ink and jet fuel in her blood she works as a freelance writer and flight attendant. Currently, she is working on her first book, stories of her humorous journeys in the airline industry.

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