Summer Flying: Tips for Infrequent Flyers

It is the best of times, it is the worst of times: Summer. Flying. 

During the summer months, people tend to go on vacation more. In response to this trend, airlines have more available flights and they often sell tickets at cheaper rates. 

Additionally, more of my coworkers go on vacations as well, leaving their trips to Junior Reserves like me so I end up working my hiney off (while wearing a wool uniform) during the hottest months of the year. The good news is that I get to make more money. The bad news is that I AM VERY TIRED. 
Seriously, Summer Flying has me waking up at 2am for flights some days, 6pm other days, and criss crossing time zones like it's my job. 

But wait. It's literally my job. 

"More people, more problems" is never truer than during June, July, and August, when the temperatures rise and so do the number of people on our aircraft who have no idea how to handle riding on a plane. Couple that with the inevitable summer storms that wreak havoc on base operations for many major airlines, and you've got yourself a perfect storm. (heh)

Summer flyers tend to be less experienced with air travel- maybe you only fly a couple of times a year for that big vacation, and THIS IS IT. 
There's absolutely nothing wrong with that! Thank you for buying a plane ticket and helping to keep me employed! I'm really glad you're here. 


There are a few basic things that you can do to maintain your sanity AND help your flight crews love you as you go on your summertime adventures, and luckily for you I'm sharing those tips with you today. 

Five Tips for Infrequent Travelers:

1. Plan for things to go wrong. 

Your flight will get delayed and cause you to miss your connection. There will be no outlets on the plane.  The lines will be long at security, getting food, or for the bathroom. 
One of the worst parts of air travel is that NOTHING is within your control - except how well you prepare for the inevitable. 
Get to the airport at least two hours before your flight.
Carry snacks with you.
Pack whatever items you might need for a surprise overnight in your personal item. Try to avoid checking a bag.
Bring an external battery like this one: iJoy Portable Charger Ultra-Slim 10000mAh Power 10K Power Bank (Green).

I understand how frustrating it is to get trapped or stranded in an airport due to circumstances beyond your control- it has happened to me many many times.
I get how enraging it is to miss out on things at your destination that you were supposed to be participating in.
But please, keep your cool and be polite to the airline employees. 99% of the time what has happened to you is out of their control too. We WANT you to get to your destination. Please be polite and calm, and remember that everyone you're dealing with is just a human being.

2. DO NOT ask your Flight Attendant "What do you have?"

There is a menu in the setback pocket in front of you.
Or just order what you would always order on the ground.
Or order what you really should anyway: water, no ice.
(Or wine. I'm for it.)
Say please when you make your request.
Say thank you when it's handed to you.
It's that simple.

3. DO NOT ask your Flight Attendant for a blanket!

Airplanes are air-conditioned on the ground and it is COLD when we get up to 30,000 feet in the air.
Don't wear a tank top and shorts and then ask me for something to help you stay warm.
No matter the season, dress in layers to fly. I never ever ever fly in shorts or a short skirt because I know I will freeze and practically get hypothermia. Don't dress for the five minute walk from the car to security, dress for the airplane you're going to spend six hours on. Pro tip: keep a handy cotton scarf like this one with you whenever you travel:

4. Download the app for the airline you're flying.

Seriously you guys, the airline I work for has the most useful app.
You can track your bags, monitor gate changes and flight delays, and even pull up maps of various airport terminals so you can figure out how to get from gate A22 to gate F19. It's even free to use with our in flight wifi.
This way you can avoid asking your flight attendants questions like "Am I going to make my connection?" to which our answer (or at least the truthful answer) is ALWAYS "I don't know."
We aren't psychic. We aren't omnipotent. 
Use the app to check you inbound arrival time and the departure time of your connection. Technology is good.

5. Please don't use the bathroom while the seat belt sign is on.

Guys, following lighted and posted signs on an aircraft is literally the law. Additionally, if the seatbelt sign is on it's probably because we've just taken off, we're expecting turbulence, or we're about to land. In all of those circumstances it is REALLY DANGEROUS for you to be out of your seat. 
Go to the bathroom in the terminal before the flight. Use the lavatory when the sign is off, even if it's not a pressing issue.
Don't get out of your seat when the plane is taxiing on the ground. If we're about to take off, you could cost us our place in line for takeoff. If we've just landed you could get seriously injured if we hit a bump or stop suddenly. Just the other day we had almost reached the gate and the pilots had to suddenly hit the brakes hard. All the passengers who had undone their seatbelts smacked their heads on the seat in front of them and felt very foolish.
And on that note, if you see flight attendants sitting in their jumpseats you should most definitely be sitting in your seat.

Let's all fly smart this summer! 

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