As I have mentioned, I am taking two trips this fall, one to Dallas, TX and the other to Washington D.C. As excited as I am for both, I am especially nervous about the Dallas trip because I will be travelling by plane and BY MYSELF!! This may not seem like a big deal to most as I am sure others have been on a plane by themselves numerous times, however, I have not. I have traveled by plane twice ever once in 2007 and once in 2008, both times with my husband. He knows what to do, he knows how to navigate through a busy airport. Luckily enough for me, I got a direct flight so I won’t have to worry about any layovers and run the risk of missing a connecting flight. But as I plan for this trip I have come up with some things that I have found to be super helpful and even some answers to questions I have asked.
Tip#1: Download the App. As soon as I booked my flight, I downloaded the Delta app. It doesn’t give me a whole lot of info, I am sure it’s there if I need it, but all I had to do was log in and all of my flight info is right there. It’s nice when someone asks what time my flight leaves or lands, etc…it’s right there. It’s not one of those moments where I have to look it up when I get home or jump through a bunch of hoops. Also, download the app for the airport if it’s available. This will help you to know traffic getting in and out, if any of the parking lots are closed down, if there are any weather issues or flight delays. This may not be info that I need right now, but it’s good to know and have ahead of time.
Tip #2: Check Airline Rules. Most people probably already know the rules of airports and airlines. I feel like most of them are the same across the board. No liquid over 3 ounces, no weapons, only one carry on, etc. What I mean, is check the specifics of that airline. Delta charges for checked bags, so I am going to do a carry on. Being that it’s just a weekend away, I think I can make this happen. You might wonder why I picked Delta if they charge for baggage..well they had the best deal on a flight and I know that Delta has a reputable business so I’ll be in good hands. But not all airlines charge for baggage. This is good to know ahead of time so that you can plan accordingly financially. It may also help prepare you how to pack. If you’re travelling with a significant other or a family, $25 each adds up quickly. Another thing to check are the carry one rules. Delta, as I am sure, most other airlines, allow you one personal item such as a purse, or laptop bag, and a carry on. So I will have my purse with all my essentials and then my carry on. A larger purse or backpack can also help you pack more efficiently so you don’t have to check baggage. One thing I did not know is that a jacket or umbrella does not count as a carry one so it’s an added bonus. So if it’s raining or cold…go ahead and bring your jacket, you don’t need to worry about stuffing it into your bag. Also, my husband told me and I confirmed this on Delta’s website, that with carry on baggage, sometimes the plane may not be able to accommodate carry on baggage due to airline size, so they will give you something called priority checking. Where they give you a pink tag and you “check” your baggage with the flight attendants and they keep it up in a separate area of the plane. Before you get off the plane you hand them your ticket, they hand you your bag. Much like a coat check at a restaurant. It’s no charge but still allows you to carry on and not have to wait at baggage claim. All in all, just check your airline’s website or call them so that you can be as prepared as possible.
Tip#3: Ask questions of others. Like mentioned above, I’ve never flown alone, so I am quite nervous. I have been asking my husband every question under the sun. Even posing questions to the Facebook group I am in for this trip. But I think this helps you get prepared. I asked Rob about security and check in. He said to check in electronically if you can (I can through my Delta app!), and just have your ID out and ready with your electronic (or paper) boarding pass. He also said to don’t look nervous and just listen to what the TSA officers tell you to do. He said that most things are completely random, so don’t be surprised if you have extra security measure to go through. If I hadn’t asked, I would have not known that I could be chosen to do this and I would be a nervous wreck. So ask questions, even if they seem dumb. Better to know ahead of time ! Questions I’ve asked others: Do they allow snacks on the plane? If so, do they have to be in a ziploc bag like liquids? Can you take makeup on a plane? Does it have to be in my “liquids bag”. What if something doesn’t meet the proper guidelines? Do they make you throw it away? See dumb questions!
Tip#4: Be flexible. I am not one to be flexible. I like to control things and have a plan for everything. However, I am realizing after talking with Rob that I really do have to be flexible. You don’t know how long the TSA line will be. And even though I’m doing everything right, doesn’t mean that someone else is. Are they causing commotion, taking too long, do they have liquids and things have to be inspected? So that’s why they tell you to get there 2 hours before your flight. Also, if for some reason your seat gets switched or they switch you planes, just deal with it and move on. Don’t cause a scene and go ranting on social media. That doesn’t help. Just comply with them and all will be good.
You may be thinking, duh, Linds, I already knew all this. Well somebody may not and now I am hoping they do. So good luck in your travels. Enjoy it. Don’t stress. Use some of these tips to help you be better prepared and to enjoy every second of your trip!
(Stay tuned for future posts on carry on packing and travel by car for my D.C. trip! )