Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Things to consider when choosing an airline

The flight is the part of your holiday, trip or travels that gets your excitement pent-up - it may even set nerves running through your bones, or the odd shiver down your spine; maybe you hate heights, flying or find airlines difficult to deal with. Unfortunately I have the most unluckiest experiences flying, here's just a few of them in the past year:

- Flight delayed by 3 hours then cancelled and rescheduled for the next day
- Placed on following flight as there was too much weight on plane
- Flight delayed by 2 days due to snow
...for more see below

So I have a few tips just on preparing yourself mentally:

Luggage, today's greedy airlines want us to carry less. Stupid Irish budget airlines insist on a specific size and weight even if we take the bag on board (which is impossible for business commuters most the time - the reason I chose EasyJet and Commerical airlines) Commercial carriers are much more amenable but as a flyer I still don't know the bag policy - 1, 2 3 ? I see businessmen get onboard with a pull along, laptop bag and a special iPod carrier, women with handbags the size of tents, plus their suitcase and goods bought in duty free. So what is the limit?

To get through it: triple check the allowance and always under pack - regardless. I find that you can reuse underwear for up to 4 days before mould starts growing. If in doubt, the soap in most hotels have a strong frangrance, so a good thorough handwash can make it last longer.

Food. This annoys me; budget airlines are clear - pay for everything - therefore buy a crappy sandwich from Boots or force yourself to digest a tasteless yellow arches patty before boarding. Commercial airlines are hard work; British Airways - complimentary drinks, small bag of snacks. AirFrance - complimentary drinks, either a croissant or sandwich. American Airlines - complimentary soft-drinks and a snack.
Obviously, the best are complimentary drinks this way you can get alcohol to help you forget this difficult hurdle. (or help you nodd off to sleep).

To get through it: eat well before you leave home, eat on the way to the airport and drink plenty before going through security - you can then handle starving for up to 4 hours should that need to be the case (the longest flight I know of is 27 hours, I did a 24 hour fast when I was 13 years old, I reckon I could do a little longer now if needed!).

Toilet seats - getting a plane seat next to the toilet, you may as well be sat in the bog with the smell - we were sat right next to the toilet on our trip to Argentina, it was a long long trip.

To get through it: choose your seat in advance or check-in early, alternatively ask if you can just sit in the toilet - you may as well get the full experience.

Inflight entertainment - commercial airlines make a huge point over this and i'm yet to be impressed. The music is awful, the films limited and uninspiring and short videos are dull. You would have thought in the age of the internet the material would be better. Plus, if you are ever on a long flight and your tv screen is broken - it's a very long journey.

To get through it: buy books!

The brace position - I discovered this was to save your teeth for dental records so they can identify you. That's nice to know!

To get through it: Check the flight history of an Airline - you'll be surprised, I just cannot bring myself to fly on some airlines. As for the brace position, if you do this then at least your family will know - that's a good enough reason right? Then again maybe you don't want them to know you've gone, so keep your head high on any immediate steep uncontrolled decline!

Babies - I know they can't help it but why take a baby that screams on a plane, poor thing and my poor ears. There should be test flights available to get kids used to flying and the pops to their ears - as a kid I remember the pain, so they need good training. I call on the government to open the "Baby flying academy".

To get through it: bitch about the parents, always makes me feel better, good headphones with loud music and deep breathing- very deep!

Leg room - what can I say except I am 6'1" and on some flights its agony. Plus nothing worse than a seat that reclines a few inches - what's the point?

To get through it: go premium economy or better, if not moan, groan and deal with it.

More to come in the future, but for now, Bonne Voyage.