Travelling to the airport
Create a sense of being in good time.
The key plan is to do everything possible to reduce a sense of being in a hurry. Think through your journey and imagine the various stages in order to schedule the different sectors well. Of course, this is the ideal and often there are unforeseen delays or interruptions. Make arrangements to arrive at the airport early. This is not only neccessary nowadays for the extra security measures, it can also set the tone of your whole journey. Try to abort ongoing responsibilities earlier. I reach a “cut-out” stage in the office/home during the “getting ready process” when I start aborting tasks. These I leave until later. You can still take some urgent work to do on the trip.
I find making a list of the people I want to write to, along with a summary of their addresses and bulleted basic content of the return letter, enables me to keep working en route. This saves taking the original papers. I find the extra time in planning these areas really helps to be less rushed on the actual travel day. If you have an assistant/colleague who can travel with you to the airport, then this really helps. Such a person can take notes and action things for you after take off. This kind of “back-up” I find extremely useful. I often think of important things en route to the airport, which of course varies in length of time.
Wherever possible only take carry-on luggage especially when the trip is only a few days. This means you can clear immigration and customs before everyone else. This avoids the long queues (check current hand luggage regulations for dimensions and weight etc). This can really help with some low-cost airlines who now charge for each piece of baggage. If you are connecting with another flight, ask at the disembarkation point if your flight is still available. Ask the airline staff to kindly phone ahead that you are coming. Otherwise you may well arrive, after running to be on time, to see the flight backing out. Murphy’s law operates internationally.
At the check-in, take time to be friendly to the counter staff. They often have some very difficult customers. So meeting a considerate and kind person goes a long way in establishing relationships. This can lead to other blessings too during the boarding procedure and seat allocation. Take the minimum of hand-baggage items. As much as possible, organise your luggage to be put in the hold. It is amazing the difference that this makes. You have less to be concerned about and are much freer to move around. If you can arrange for a “Priority” sticker to put on your luggage, this can be a great asset on arrival. If you hold a Frequent Flyer Card, then this can usually be arranged – especially if you are tightly scheduled and have made good friends at the check-in.
In some countries, the upgrade price is not too much. Thus, if you have a fair amount of excess baggage, it can be better option to up-grade. The extra weight is then taken care of and you can enjoy the extra space and service at the same time. Checking-in early enables you to be free of your main luggage thus giving time to do whatever you sense would be best in the time prior to take-off. Here are some possible pursuits which I have explored over the years:
Creative use of time
- Spend time visiting parts of the airport that you enjoy
- Use the internet
- Listen to music
- Visit a favouritel restaurant
- Spend time in a quiet corner
- Spend time sharing with fellow travellers who often become new friends
- Pursue a hobby/interest at the airport – such as collecting unusual and rare timetables.
- Evaluate the airport environment, procedures and services to report to Customer Services
- Spend time checking out the Interactive Information Computers
- Make a courtesy call to the Public Relations officials or an airline’s senior management
- Survey and locate where your boarding lounge is located
- Visit one of the Duty Free areas
- Take a free tour of the city – if in transit
- Move towards the boarding lounge at just the right time