Traveling by air simplifies vacation planning greatly, especially if you want to go abroad. However, there are hidden tricks of traveling by plane as well. For example, you may face some issues with your baggage or be charged unexpected fees. However, planning ahead and preparing for every stage of the flight can simplify your experience and help you avoid common airline ticket scams and issues that might arise. Learn these flying tips and tricks to smooth out your flight as much as possible.

Top Air Travel Tips and Tricks

How to Prepare for the Flight Effectively

Even if you’re taking a trip on what feels like the spur of the moment, you have a bit of time to look around and be sure you are arranging what fits your needs and budget best. Following flight tips will make your preparation much easier and more pleasant:

1. Book the Right Tickets.

Many airplane tips suggest searching the times surrounding your original flight dates if you’re flexible on when you actually travel. Or scheduling your vacation from midweek to midweek rather than across the weekends to save quite a bit on plane tickets.

Other plane travel tips say to fly at non-peak hours to find better deals. Or to look for airports in the surrounding area to see if you can save by flying an hour away and driving to your final destination. Buy tickets only through the official website of airline companies or at the airport. This way you can avoid any scams of fake airline tickets.

Look carefully at the tickets you’re buying for your flight as well. Many airlines offer tiers of ticket sales and you may not be buying the type of seat or even the assigned seat you think you are.

As one upset woman explained in her  United Airlines complaint, understanding the type of seat you’re buying matters a great deal. After booking tickets on a United Flight, the woman’s stepdaughter and the girl’s boyfriend were separated when seated. The stepdaughter:

“was told that if she wanted to sit next to her boyfriend she would have to pay another $150.00 to do so when all along they were suppose to be sitting next to each other in the first place...”

2. Arrange Transportation.

Arrange transportation to the airport well in advance to be sure you have a reserved ride during busy times and you can plan ahead for the cost. You might also consider driving yourself to the airport. In this case be prepared to pay for the parking garage or service. Reserve a spot in the garage well before your trip to be sure you have somewhere to park.

Don’t forget to plan for transportation options upon your arrival. Research what alternatives are available in the city you’re flying to and check the costs associated with a taxi ride or shuttle bus. These airplane travel tips will not only protect you from travel scams where taxi drivers overcharge unsuspecting tourists, but can give you a head’s up about options you might not have considered.

3. Pack a Single Suitcase.

Airlines are increasingly charging extra for bags and to save money and time on the baggage claim, pack as carefully as you can for every trip. The best travel tips for flying are to pack into a single carry-on bag and fully utilize your shoulder bag or backpack if you’re allowed one.

Be sure to check the airline rules of your individual company so that you’re not caught unprepared with a bag of the wrong size or a handbag plus a carryon if only one is allowed.

Allegiant Air complaints show that many travelers discover that Allegiant has more restrictive baggage limits than other airlines only after they arrive at the airport. The airline allows only one carry-on bag and the weight limit for checked luggage is 40 pounds rather than the industry norm of 50.

As this Allegiant Air reviewer pointed out that company is happy to take heavier bags, however, after customers pay a $75 fee. The passenger states:

“...Allegiant may have cheap tickets...yet they purposely make policies that are aimed at taking advantage of an unsuspecting traveler...”

If you do wind up checking your bags and find that your suitcase is above the weight restrictions, or if you have a few extra things to pack that won’t fit into your carryon, remember that you can wear as much clothing as you’d like on the plane. Wear your bulkiest items and pack the small stuff. You’ll be under the weight limit and have fewer items to work around as you pack.

4. Check in Online.

Check into your flight well ahead of time online. That way when you arrive at the airport you can head directly to the terminal and gate and skip the crowds at the check-in desks. Just be sure to print your boarding pass or have your app ready with the pass when you arrive at the gate.

5. Leave Yourself Time.

It’s good practice to arrive at the airport hours before your flight to check into it and find the right gate and to be less stressed out. You can then spend any extra time taking a nap, enjoying the restaurants and bars inside the airport or simply reading or people watching.

One lawyer discovered the hard way that international flights require additional preparation time. In his American Airlines review, he explained that after waiting in long lines:

“...airline employees told us we were "tardy" and that for an international flight bags had to be checked an hour in advance. Due to the long lines, we were 10 minutes past this...”

He and his wife were rescheduled to a later flight to allow time for luggage processing and the man was not happy. He stated in the complaint about American Airlines:

“...I responded that this was unacceptable. They have not budged.”

6. Pack In-Flight Essentials within Reach.

Once you’re on the flight, you’re stuck in your seat for anywhere from an hour to a day, so plan ahead with the gear you need. Pack snacks in your handbag or backpack, preferably those that don’t make a mess or have a strong smell to avoid antagonizing your close neighbors on a flight. Remember that medication should always be packed in your carryon as well.

Keep in mind that you can’t bring bottled water through many airport security stations, but you can bring an empty bottle to fill once you’re through security. Don’t forget your headphones and devices, preferably with a few downloaded shows and movies ready. Keep your charger handy as well.

7. Know the Airport.

Be sure you understand the airport you’ll be flying from and flying into. Don’t just know the name and location, but also the terminal you can expect and the amount of time you’ll need to navigate. Some airports require additional tram rides or a long walk to reach gates, so be sure you know where you’re going and how long it will take to get there.

15 Essential Air Travel Tips for Perfect Vacation

8. Prepare for Security.

Airport security is necessary, but can be bothersome. Air travel tips can help to prepare for it before you’re ready to walk through the metal detectors. Remove all jewelry, belts, and shoes. Pack electronics so that they can easily be removed and checked without unpacking your full suitcase.

If you’re not wearing your bulkiest shoes to save weight and space, put on a pair that slips on and off easily to avoid the hassles of retying your shoes. Save yourself plenty of time and try the left lanes - they get the least crowded and often have the shortest lines.

9. Stay Charged.

If you plan ahead and leave your charger accessible, you can plug into an outlet in the airport and keep your devices fully charged before getting on the plane. Another tip is to bring yourself an extra battery pack to charge up your phone again before reaching your destination.

Arriving with your battery at 5% can be dangerous if the information you need to find your hotel and transportation is stored on the device.

How to Make Air Travel More Comfortable

While flying, you want to be as comfortable as possible. This can be a trick for those who have a fear of flying or who are too tall or wide to fit comfortably into the increasingly smaller airline seats. Even those who are typically comfortable on planes can improve their flight experiences.

10. Drink Water.

The longer you fly, the more hydration you’ll lose so plan to drink water regularly. Bring your own empty bottle to fill at a water fountain in the terminal or ask the flight attendant for a bottle of water while in the air.

Be aware, however, that drinking too much water can cause potential problems if you’re not seated within easy reach of the restroom. One man explained in his Delta Airlines review that his wife needed to use the closest restroom by doctor’s orders, but when presenting this information to the flight attendant, the attendant got very rude with her and said:

"...well I've NEVER heard of anyone having a doctor's note for a bathroom..."

According to the review, this experience plus the significant delays on the aircraft made the flight extremely uncomfortable and left the man extremely frustrated. Fortunately, in this case, the review worked. The man explained:

“After a week, we finally heard from Delta. They apologized profusely & very fairly compensated us.”

11. Bring Sleeping Gear.

Sleeping on a plane can make the time go by quickly, but can be tricky without the right gear. Be sure to bring what you need to get a good rest – ear plugs, eye mask, a travel pillow and even a small blanket that can make the flight more comfortable. Another helpful tip to consider: a window seat is also the best place to sit if you plan to sleep as you can lean against the wall.

12. Wear Compression Socks.

Sitting on a plane for several hours can lead to swollen feet and legs. You can resolve this issue by wearing compression socks. The socks help prevent swollen feet and ankles, leg pains and even blood clots that can form in your legs from sitting still in a single position for long periods of time.

13. Sit Comfortably.

If you are tall or have broad shoulders, consider an aisle seat so that you can hang over in the aisle a bit if you need extra space. This might backfire when the beverage cart comes through, however. The front seat in the cabin and emergency exit aisles are also top choices for those who don’t fit comfortably into a traditional row of seats.

If you are a wider passenger, consider booking two seats to travel more comfortably. Be aware that some airlines may take away your second seat if they have overbooked the plane so this isn’t always a sure bet. If you are traveling with children, arrange the child’s seat next to the wider parent. The child is likely narrow enough to not mind if a parent uses a bit of his or her space.

Sometimes there is nothing you can do about comfort once you’re on a plane as a Frontier Airlines reviewer discovered. According to the passenger, who suffers from fibromyalgia:

“...these seats are HARD ! " indeed, the "padding" was less than 1/8 " thick. And so we spent the next almost 6 hours. By the time we arrived, I could barely walk...”

In this case, reading Frontier Airline reviews may have revealed that the seats were barely padded and don’t recline, and another airline or upgraded seats may be the best option.

How to Make Better After-Flight Experience

Once you arrive at your destination, it’s a relief to stretch your legs and leave the plane. But if you’re not prepared, you can easily find yourself frustrated as you try to gather luggage and leave the airport to get to the place you need.

14. Make Your Luggage Fragile.

We all want our things taken care of comfortably, but in this case simply attaching a fragile tag can make your luggage easier to find. If you put such a tag on your suitcase, it will likely be loaded last onto the airplane. This tip should make your bag one of the first ones taken off the plane and the first to be sent to the baggage claim, saving you some time.

15. Set Up a Meeting Point.

Arrange a meeting point ahead of time rather than trying to arrange it while juggling bags and in crowds of people. Make it as specific as possible. However, it might be a challenge if you’ve never flown into the airport before, but a bit of research or choosing a spot that all airports have can make this simpler.

Traveling can be a great adventure and for many boarding the plane and starting the flight to a favorite vacation spot is a part of the fun. Taking advantage of plane travel tips and especially international flying tips can reduce the stress of flying and make the entire journey much more enjoyable for even the most nervous flyers.

And if after taking all precautions and making all preparations you still didn't enjoy your flight, you may complain about the airline.

  • air travel tips
  • American Airlines reviews
  • delta airlines reviews
  • travel tips
  • United Airlines reviews

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal, medical, accounting, investment, or any other professional advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

See Also