Flying is notorious for its slew of stressors: long security lines, flight delays and unexpected turbulence, to name a few. But there are a handful of ways to ease the chaos of air travel, and no one knows those anxiety-reducing tricks better than frequent fliers.
We talked with aviation sources, cabin crew members, miles and points gurus, travel agents and travel bloggers to learn their hard-earned tips for improving the art of air travel. The result? This, our jam-packed AARP Smart Guide to Air Travel — a resource that promises to make the journey almost as good as the arrival.
says. “Choosing public holidays or flights in the middle of the nightare your best option, as you’ll be able to avoid the business traveler rush,” he says. “Since these types of flights are usually full of families, you’ll have an even better chance of landing a free upgrade if you’re in a couple or flying solo.” Of course, these free upgrades are far from guaranteed; your chances will increase even more if you’re a frequent flier with a specific airline.
More eco-friendly travel ideas
Carbon offsetting is one increasingly popular option for the sustainability-minded crowd, but Etti says it’s far from the only — or even best — way to travel green. She recommends road trips or train travel when possible. When you do have to fly, minimize stopovers and follow a lesser-known piece of sustainable travel advice: Pack light. “Weight has an impact on emissions,” Etti says. “Fuel consumption goes up with the weight of an aircraft.”
map to the one your airline gives, to make sure everything is accurate.” And if you’d rather sleep without being bothered, Slotnick suggests the window seat. If you want the flexibility to get up and stretch or use the facilities at a moment’s notice, go the aisle route. SeatGuru belongs to the TripAdvisor family. Other similar apps include SeatExpert, ExpertFlyer, SeatLink and Skytrax.
Fearful flyer? Tell the cabin team
Mid-flight bumps can make even the most seasoned jet-setter uneasy. But if you find turbulence particularly spikes your nerves, let the cabin crew know as you board. “If a passenger tells us they’re worried, we will keep an eye on them,” Lee says. “We will try to explain to them what is happening during the flight, especially if we encounter significant turbulence.”
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