How to Survive the Airlines

5 October 2010 By Tim Davey

Perhaps, it seems a bit unfair to pick on the airlines, but sometimes their dedicated staff hired to help you can drive you mad, not to mention all of the other hassles of airplane travel. Your journey begins long before you get to the airport, but with these tips in tow, your travel experience just might go a little smoother.

1. When possible, carry hand luggage only. It not only saves time at check-in and at the carousel, but it also ensures you'll have your luggage at arrival, as the airline cannot lose bags you have not checked. Your journey will be much less strenuous if you’re not lugging around heavy bags. However, in the yachting business that’s not always a possibility. Keep in mind, Spirit Airlines has started to charge to take carry-on bags on board and place them in overhead lockers. Let’s hope this trend doesn’t catch on.

2. In the event that you must check your bags, getting them off the carousel first is always a time saver. Ask the check-in counter person to place a label on your luggage as fragile (it may be requested that you sign a paper stating that the company is not responsible in case anything is broken). Three times out of four, your luggage will be (among) the first to get off the plane.

3. Going through security can be an ordeal as well. Most of the security staff look bored or disinterested and some of them are wearing an I’m-looking-for-a-fight expression. In order to alleviate any issues, know the airport in advance. Is there more than one check point if the security lines are long? Look at your fellow travelers in front of you; don’t get into lines with families, wheelchair passengers or “Mother-in-laws.” Wear slip-on shoes so that you're not trying to juggle your carry-on bags while untying your laces. Avoid wearing jewelry and accessories made of metal. Stay organized; place your cell phone in your carry-on bag until you get out the other side of security, as it will be one less thing to remember. Above all be polite and friendly to the security staff, follow their rules and instructions.

4. Now you’re through security, but your flight is delayed or canceled. Don’t stand in the line at the airline counter with everyone else. Use your cell phone or a pay phone to call ISS GMT or call the airline's reservation center direct; you’ll get better service.

5. If you’re flight is on time, the same rule applies as when in the security line. Line up in the correct line for your class of service, but try to avoid queuing behind families and passengers that need assistance.

6. Once on board, if you use the bathroom often or like to walk around should ask for an aisle seat. Avoid requesting seats at the back of the plane, where the bathrooms, engine noise and cabin crew make it nearly impossible to sleep. If you are carrying on your own bags, try to board early to ensure enough space for your bag in the  overhead bin.

7. The flight will be more pleasant for everyone if the cabin crew is in a good mood. When dealing with flight attendants, be gracious, cooperative and help them out when you can; they may reward you with some extra service – unless you are flying Jet Blue; then the flight attendant will become annoyed and jump out of the plane.

8. In most cases plane food leaves much to be desired. When possible, to compensate for boredom and bad food choice, pack your own picnic. It’s the fastest way to make friends around you (or annoy them because they are jealous).

9. Dress correctly. Bloating and swelling are common during long flights; wear loose, comfortable clothing and shoes. Bring layers and warm socks because planes often are cold – extra clothes can always double as a pillow. Earplugs or headphones for music and a facemask are must-haves.

10. Airplanes in the air lack moisture. Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water and avoiding alcohol, (yes, even though you’re on “vacation”) coffee and tea.

Tim Davey and his team at ISS GMT have been focusing on providing the best fares and best routes for persons working in the private yacht industry for the past nine years. Open 24 hours a day, there is a great advantage to using ISS GMT. Utilizing your registered phone number or email address, you can always make a new booking or change an existing booking. Refundable and changeable Seaman’s tickets are a specialty, however through the ISS GMT global network they are able to purchase other very competitive rates . For more information to go, or send a request to