The art of flying isn't exactly viewed as being an 'art' universally, and we can somewhat understand that. Whether you're afraid of flying or you just think it's another part of everyday life, there's a thought process that everyone possesses when they think about what it means to fly. Of course, we know that a lot of people out there are jetting off here, there and everywhere pretty frequently, but we still feel like this list is important for everyone.
As is always the case a few of the entries can be put down to personal preference, but they're still important all the same because some folks may not even understand the very basics behind air travel. That sounds bizarre to some, but imagine if you've been afraid of flying for your entire life and all of a sudden you're thrust into a situation where you need to get aboard a plane ASAP.
It'd be fairly intimidating, and we want to try and put some minds at ease. That's going to be a bit hit and miss with some of the things we're going to discuss because we're likely to ruffle some feathers along the way (especially for entry number one even though it's intended to be pretty light hearted), but we're more than prepared for that.
So just as you would on a plane try to sit back and relax, as we talk you through the good and the bad of jetting off around the country or even the world. P.S: make sure you buy us a postcard.
25 Passengers Can Be Arrested By Staff
The crew have the same rights as everyone else when it comes to making an arrest, and just because they may seem nice and lovely, they won’t hesitate to restrain you if needs be – mainly because they’re trained to do so, and their priority is to protect everyone on board.
We’ve noted that you shouldn’t be doing anything that would warrant problems anyway, but this should really drive it home. So if you see a member of the staff dealing with a rowdy passenger, don’t underestimate what they’re able to do because we’re confident in saying they can handle themselves just fine.
24 Wear Comfy Clothes
Flights can be uncomfortable, especially short haul flights, and even if you have to go straight to a business meeting there’s no reason why you can’t change once you’ve landed.
It’s all well and good slapping on a suit and walking around like the most important person in the room, but seriously, what kind of purpose does that serve?
If it’s out of practicality or laziness then fine, but especially for a long haul, it just makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. You should be wearing comfortable clothing to prevent injury and to maximise your own experience, and it’s really that simple.
23 Pilots Can Nap On The Job (And Do)
Yup. This is a thing. An actual thing.
A variety of different studies and airlines have confirmed that pilots are able to nap on the job, and do so pretty frequently. They can even do so for up to 40 minutes so long as they notify the crew and the co-pilot, and it’s actually quite common.
Pilots are there to protect us and if this is something that is definitely going to keep us safe, then we should just trust that they know what they’re doing. After all, they’re the ones who have been training for years on end, not us.
22 Sensible Hand Luggage Is Not Negotiable
It’s really not that complicated, guys: the hand luggage limit is there for a reason and you need to respect it. Even if you think it’s ridiculous for them to suggest that your bag is going to be too heavy or it’s just too big, you need to swallow your pride and prepare in advance.
Bring a bag that is a decent size that you can fit underneath your sit, because that way, you don’t have to put it in the overhead locker which can be a pain throughout the course of the flight unless you’re in an aisle seat.
It’s another simple one, but it’s something that always seems to catch people out which seems ridiculous on the face of it.
21 Aisle Reigns Supreme To Window & Middle
This is a debate that has been raging on for years now, and there will likely never be a proper resolution. Of course, we included the middle seat out of common courtesy more so than anything else, because it is quite clearly the worst possible plane seat available.
The aisle seat is better than the window seat and you just need to come to terms with that. If you’re in economy, in particular, the aisle seat is the only one that will provide you with the chance to stretch out a little bit as opposed to being cramped into the corner. Plus, you don’t have to move past anyone in order to get to the toilet.
20 Prepare For The Seat Discomfort
Speaking of seats, you need to understand that the majority of seating arrangements in the world of air travel aren’t all too comfortable and probably won’t be for many years to come. Due to the budget nature of some airlines, and the long haul nature of others, you’re going to be sat upright or with a very slight recline option for longer than is probably recommended.
The legroom is one of the biggest pains, too, which is going to be a theme that we keep coming back to throughout the piece. Why? Because leg room is important and that’s just the bottom line (because Stone Cold said so).
19 Tray Tables Carry Serious Germs
We aren’t making this one up either, folks.
We’ve all heard about how lots of items around the world are actually dirtier than the toilet seats of most people, and a lot of us tend to try and ignore that. What you can’t ignore, though, is that your tray table carries an awful lot of germs, which is one of the reasons why people get sick so soon after flying.
Whatever you feel like you need to do in order to prevent that, you should go ahead and do, and don’t stop to consider what others are going to think about you. As long as it is within the realms of the law, then do what you can to avoid getting ill. We would.
18 Prepare For Lightning Strikes
Planes get struck by lightning quite often, or at least, much more often than you would initially think without looking it up. Again, it’s not something that should cause you too much stress. In a report, we discovered that the average jetliner is struck once every two years or so, and it’s very normal.
So you can stop reading up on those conspiracy theories, because you’re still going to be able to enjoy your flight as was initially intended. Sure, it’ll give you quite the shock (pun not intended) but that’s just the name of the game and it’s still very, very rare in the grand scheme of things.
17 Turbulence Is Normal
Turbulence, for those who don’t know, is a sudden change in airflow which can cause your flight to rock from side to side either for a short period of time or an extended period of time. As you can imagine, it kind of feels like you’re stuck in some kind of low budget horror film – but it really isn’t as bad as it seems.
In fact, turbulence is pretty normal, to the point where most experienced travellers have taught themselves to sleep through it. So if you feel like things are going a little bit pear shaped, don’t worry, because it’s completely natural and it’ll likely be over in a matter of minutes.
16 The Demonstration Is Vital
A lot of people tend to suck and sigh at having to watch the safety demonstration, either because they just want to focus on getting in the air or because they’ve heard it a million times before – and usually those two things overlap.
While it sounds obvious to say and while it sounds obvious to hear, the demonstration is actually really important in the rare, rare occurrence that you need to act upon any of the instructions that were given to you. Like we said, it can be rare, but you need to be aware of your surroundings and be vigilant at all times.
15 The Food Is Actually Okay
It’s almost a stereotype at this point to talk about how ‘bad’ or ‘awful’ airplane food is, when in reality, we think it’s actually not too bad. Even the budget airlines have a few nice paninis that you can enjoy, and besides, you’re only going to be getting luxury food if you’re in first class.
The fact that they offer food at all is a borderline miracle when you consider where air travel was just a few decades ago, so we should be somewhat grateful. You still shouldn’t expect anything magnificent but if you go in with relatively low expectations, we don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
14 Different Currencies Are Accepted On The Plane
A question that tends to come up quite a lot for first time flyers, and people who have never known the answer in general, is what kind of currency you need on a plane. Do you take the currency of where you’ve just come from, or where you’re going?
The answer is this: it doesn’t matter. The majority of planes accept all different kinds of currency, meaning that you don’t have to worry about bringing one or the other – and you can even pay with your card now too, such is the nature of modern day technology. Pretty cool, eh?
13 Every Airline Is Different
From Ryanair to Singapore Airlines and EasyJet to Emirates, you can never expect the same thing twice unless you’re flying consistently with the same airline. If you pay for a certain accommodation you’ll get one thing, and if you pay less then you’ll get another.
It’s a simple process and the same theme runs throughout all of the commodities that you’re given, and it can also impact what kind of flight crew you get. So just remember to check who you’re booking with if you’re picky, because you may end up with a surprise or two once you take off.
12 Respect The Staff
Speaking of the staff, a lot of you will be punching the air with joy purely because we’re bringing this up and we can understand the logic behind that. You see, respecting staff members is absolutely key to having a great flight experience nine times out of ten, because let’s face it, they’re the ones in control outside of the pilot and co-pilot.
You should know your boundaries even if you think you’re just harmlessly bantering, because you can’t climb inside the head of someone and know exactly what they’re thinking. In fact, the same thought process goes for everyday life.
11 Everyone Has Different Flying Experience Levels
Some people have been on over a thousand flights, and some people will be stepping foot on their very first. In the end, who cares?There are going to be unique situations for every single person because that’s just the nature of flying, and you need to respect and appreciate that. You might be stuck sitting next to an extremely nervous flyer who has a lot of questions, or you might be next to someone who is hell bent on getting on and off the plane as quickly as possible.
You just never know, and you need to ensure that you keep an open mind.
10 Nobody Is Above The Law
We’ve alluded to this point a few times already but it always needs to be repeated: nobody is above the law. Even those celebrities who seem to pay their way out of certain altercations aren’t above the law (or at least that’s the line we’d love to believe in).
You might think you’re the big dog in town and you might think that you can do anything you please on a flight, but that simply isn’t the case. You’re going to get caught out one way or the other so if you think for a second that you’re going to be able to cheat the system, then think again.
9 Stretch Your Legs When You Can
We’re moving back onto the all important subject of stretching your legs, and not a minute too soon. If you’ve ever flown before then you’ll understand and appreciate the toll that flying can take on your legs, especially on a long haul.
That’s why it’s pretty common, once the seatbelt signs have gone off, to stand up, stretch your legs and sometimes even head to the back of a plane for a bit of a breather. Some people also end up chatting to complete strangers about their trip, too, and while that may not be your cup of tea, the possibility is there.
8 The Taking Off Rush
Some would describe it as a rush or a blessing and others would happily describe it as a curse, but either way, taking off will do something to your stomach unlike anything you’ve ever felt before. Knowing that one minute you’re on the ground and the next you’re in the air is quite something, especially if you’re going away on holiday.
If you chat to others that have been away quite a lot then you’ll start to get a good idea of what you can expect when you’re up there, but as well as that, you can generally learn what to expect when the plane is going at an insanely fast pace and all you can hear is the sensation of it taking off.
7 Take Your Time When Boarding
It’s not uncommon for people to want to get on the plane really quickly, and while we’ve never fully embraced the reasons for that, we do understand them. Alas, it’s not going to hurt you if you just sit back and chill out for a few minutes after they ask people to start boarding, because otherwise you’re going to be stood up for what feels like hours.
Everyone is going to get on the plane anyway, so unless you want to secure one of the compartments in the overhead locker, what’s the point? As opposed to looking too eager, you can just soak in the final few minutes.
6 In-Flight Purchases Can Be Expensive
We've spoken briefly already about buying things on the flight, and whether it be food, drink or some perfume, you need to understand that making these in-flight purchases could be quite expensive – especially if you’ve set a budget for yourself on your trip.
Sure, you’re going to be tempted and sure, your mind is going to convince you that you need certain things when you just don’t, but think about the long term repercussions. If you don’t, then you run the risk of forgetting about the purchase before checking your bank balance a day or so later and feeling very silly.
5 Long Haul Nap Timings
If you’re on a long haul flight then the odds are good that your time zone is going to change pretty drastically. As a result, when you land, your body is going to be feeling something entirely different to your mind – and you need to put preparations in place to deal with it.
The best way to cope with this is by having a scheduled nap that you’ve planned out prior to the flight, and if you can, then do your best to stay awake in the meantime. This will adjust your body to the correct time zone, and it will minimise the amount of jet lag that you eventually end up struggling with (yes, jet lag is real).
4 Prepare Your Entertainment
Whether it be your in flight entertainment or a Netflix movie downloaded onto your phone, you need to ensure that you’ve got your entertainment at the ready. Even if you were planning on chatting to friends or a family member, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have enough to talk about for the duration of an entire flight.
Even if you just pre-prepare podcasts that should work, mainly because the majority of airlines don’t actually have wifi for you to purchase. Even then it’s quite expensive, and by that point you’ll just be annoyed that you didn’t take our advice earlier.
3 It’s Okay Not To Socialise
Some folks enjoy the spirit of human interaction, which often means that they’ll turn to you and try to communicate with you. That’s all well and good but not everyone has great social skills, so it’s absolutely fine to politely tell them that you don’t want to socialise.
That may change throughout the course of the flight, but more often than not if you’re in that mindset, then you’re going to stick with it, and we can completely respect that.
Nobody is going to think any less of you if you’re on your own, and it’ll allow you to listen and watch your entertainment without disturbance. If you’re with family or friends, they’ll likely understand too.
2 Flights In The USA Are Different
When we say different a lot of people automatically think we mean better, but that isn’t the case. Aside from the fact that passengers tend to be louder (on average), the one key point that we’ve picked up on is what happens when the flight finally touches down at your destination: The passengers clap.
The passengers actually clap the pilot for doing a great job and while we appreciate the enthusiasm, it just seems a bit odd. You never see people clapping the mailman for delivering the mail and while we understand there’s an absolutely massive difference there, it’s still quite unique in comparison to European flights.
1 You Are Perfectly Safe
Safety is paramount in any activity you do, and that has never been more true than when you’re on an airplane. It’s completely understandable to panic in these kinds of situations and many have done so in the past, but rest assured, nothing is going to happen to you.
Everyone reads up about these accidents and thinks that the exact same ordeal will occur on their own flight, when in reality, all of the proper precautions have been put in place to avoid anything like that happening. So breathe, stay calm, and enjoy the flight to the best of your abilities.