PreCheck to preempt stress
12/13/2012 9:15:00 AM
Are you one of the millions of people who are going to fly somewhere during the holiday season? Other than Thanksgiving, it's one of the busiest times of the year, and flying can be stressful even when the airport isn't crowded.
Here are the things that LITE FM Listeners say drive them most crazy when they fly:
Going through security.
Removing shoes, belts, watches, jackets, computers, liquids, etc. for screening.
People who hold up the security line because they don't know / don't want to follow the regulations.
People who over-stuff the overhead bin; and use the bins over someone else's seat.
People who want to talk when you want to sleep / read / listen to music.
Passengers who drink too much and become rowdy.
Extra fees for ... everything!
We can't solve all of these issues, but here are a few tips to take some of the stress out of your holiday travel.
Parents, make sure your kids are rested before you travel. Bring toys & games to keep them occupied - quiet ones. Rather than telling kids what you DON'T want them to do (you know how it goes - as soon as you tell someone what NOT to do, it's the first thing they want to do!), tell them what you expect of them. If they're old enough to understand, tell them a reward awaits if they travel well.
People who are annoyed by crying babies: Bring a headset and listen to your favorite music; ear plugs are an option if you don't have a music player. The headset is multi-purpose - good deterrent if your seated next to the 'chatter' and you'd prefer to read or nap.
You can take a load of stress out of the security line by knowing exactly what they want, and being ready ahead of time.
Have your Wear slip-off shoes so you don't have to hassle with untying & tying. Pants that don't require a belt - one less thing to remove and then put back on. Put your jewelry on after you go through security. Remember the 3-1-1 rule for liquids: no more than 3 ounces, packed in 1 plastic bag, no bigger than 1 quart. Know that it will take longer than usual, so get to the airport early enough to check in and get through the lines without panicking about missing your fight. Printing your boarding pass in advance will also save time, especially if you don't have to check a bag.
Check the TSA website before you pack as a reminder of what's allowed and what's not for both checked and carry-on baggage. They also have a MyTSA mobile app that gives you airport status updates and screening checkpoint wait times - seriously useful!
A few other tips:
Check your flight status online before you head to the airport - great to know if your flight is delayed.
Tag your bags with your name & cellphone number, just in case they get 'misplaced'; and pack a change of clothes in your carry-on, just in case. It also helps to put some kind of quick identifier - a bright-colored ribbon, a chain, anything that will differentiate your suitcase or carry-on from all the others that look exactly the same.
Bringing gifts on your trip? Save the wrapping until you arrive - TSA will have to unwrap the gifts for inspection.
Bring a book, tablet, music, anything to keep yourself occupied onboard, and while waiting to board.
If there are delays, remind yourself that you're on vacation, and consider it extra time to relax, people-watch or search for funny pet videos online.
Travel safe, travel happy!