Brett.Ullman

Tips to be a better flyer!

The other week I was on a flight from Toronto to Halifax. I sat and waited for my row to be called and then lined up to board the plane. In front of me was a married couple  (late 30’s early 40’s). As we got to the back of the plane they got to their seats. They dropped their bags in the middle of the isle and the lady turned to her husband and said “So what do we need for the flight?” Remember at this moment there are 50+ people behind them waiting to sit down. The husband asked her if she wanted headphones. She then began to open up her purse to try and find her headphones and then proceeded to fully close her purse. She then told him he might want to take off his jacket for the flight. He then asked her if she wanted a magazine and she again went back into her purse. This went back and forth for around 10 minutes. This blog idea came from this experience.

Here are some basics thoughts on flying:

  1. Check-in to your flight online as soon as you can (usually 24 hours before). Many airlines still over book flights and I find it is the people at the airport checking in who usually get bumped. In my 17 years of flying I have never been bumped as I am always one of the first to check in.
  2. Come early to the Airport. I have had people tell me that they only have to be at the airport 45 minutes before their flight. This is actually the cut off time for Domestic flights within Canada only. Cut off means that if you are still in line you have a good chance of being told you cannot make your flight. It means you have to be there early enough to park, walk to the check in counter and then go through the line and check in all before the cut off time. Here is a link to the Air Canada check in times for all flights (http://www.aircanada.com/en/travelinfo/airport/checkin.html)
  3.  The line ups for security at any airport is different any given day. The line up can be basically none to a day like last month in Toronto where there must have been 500 people in line. I would suggest that people get their Nexus pass if you travel even once a year. The Nexus pass was designed to help people with Customs for Canada/US travel but a few years ago they began to put in fast security lanes for Nexus users at all of the major airports in Canada. There is now never more than 5 people in front of me in line in the nexus lane. It only costs $50 for 5 years and kids under 16 are free. To sign up you will have to set up an account on the link below for each family member and then send in your application. Once accepted you have to go for 1 short interview and you are set. If you are driving to the US you can then also use the Nexus fast lanes on the bridges.To apply for Nexus click here – https://goes-app.cbp.dhs.gov/main/goes
  4. Please go to the bathroom 10 minutes before they start boarding the plane. There is often turbulence and the seat belt sign may remain on for quite a while. This sounds like common sense but you would be surprised how many people jump up and run to the bathroom (restrooms for my American friends) as soon as the pilot turns off the seatbelt sign.
  5. BEFORE you board the plane please take a few minutes and get ready. This is my routine:
    • I take off my jacket and/or sweater and put them in my carry on luggage. I only fly in a t-shirt as the planes seem to always be too hot for me
    • I take out my headphones. I carry 2 sets of headphones. Noise-cancelling for the flight and a pair of small ear buds for the take off and landing
    • I put my iPhone charger in my pocket
    • I get out my passport and my ticket and put them in a small pocket in my headphones case
    • I put my wallet and anything I need for the flight in my laptop case (iPad is in here as well) which will be under the seat in front of me so I never have to get out of my seat and go into the storage locker above me.
    • If there is anything else you need for your flight please put the item in a place where you can easily get it during the flight.

I hope some of these thoughts will help you when you fly. If you have any other tips for people when they travel please add a comment to this blog.

Safe Travels.

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brett ullman

Brett Ullman travels North America speaking to teens, young adults, leaders and parents on topics including sexuality, mental health, men, dating and media. Brett's seminars engage and challenge attendees to try and connect our ancient faith with our modern culture we live in. Participants are inspired to reflect on what we know, what we believe and how our faith ought to serve as the lens through which we view and engage tough conversations in our society today.

5 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Great advice Brett. We’ve travelled with 2 kids under 3 and these simple tips are the basics to having a successful travel day.

  • All good advice. In addition, when traveling with children, have each child pack a small backpack of “necessities” (a book or two, small video game – with head phones, gum or candy to suck on during plane assent and descent, small favorite stuffed animal for comfort). It makes them feel grown up and they can put them under the seat in front of them so you are not getting up or down during the flight.

  • Never thought of nexus, we travel to Ont. from Manitoba via the USA twice a year and the line at the Ambassador bridge can be long!

  • Great advice Brett. When I used to travel more I would even pay the extra fee for the privilege to preboard early to avoid the “newbies”. When we travelled as a family one of us adults would preboard with most of the carry-on stuff so that the other could keep an eye on the kids.

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