Come Fly With Me – Get into that relaxed mindset!

Donna Rice
Donna is a serial entrepreneur focused on serving children and families.

Jun 30,2017

Remember my previous article where I got you to the airport in a calm, cool manner? No worries right? Nothing can go wrong now!!! Well…best not to be overconfident until the wheels are up and stowed safely in the belly of the aircraft! You still need to be completely aware and at the top of your game until you are seated comfortably onboard. Read the article in its entirety for a bit of a surprise ending. I goofed!

First of all, is your flight departing on time? Hopefully you remembered to subscribe to the automatic alerts that are offered by most airlines and by airports as well. You can view flight info on line and receive emails, phone calls or text messages advising you if a delay has been posted for your flight. This service is extremely convenient as I know I am more comfortable waiting at home than in the airport for extended periods.

Arrive well in advance of your flight. 90 minutes to 2 hrs in advance for a domestic flight is best. And at least 3 hours prior if you are traveling to a trans-border or international destination. Missing a flight is NEVER FUN! You may think it is easy to just catch the next flight BUT what if the next flight is the NEXT DAY! It may even be a few days later, depending on the destination. And remember, there are other people traveling; maybe a lot of other people. So even if there is another flight it may be FULL! You definitely want to make sure you arrive at the airport on time.

No matter how much you have traveled and how many airports you have traveled to and from and transited through, you still have to stay alert. Make sure you are dropped off at the correct terminal for your airline and departure. Many airports have several different terminals to which an airline is assigned. Often domestic and international flights are assigned to different sections of an airport or terminal or a completely different building. Check your flight confirmation, boarding card (paper or electronic), look at the signs outside as you approach the airport and entrance doors, and check signs and airline desks/counters as soon as you enter. Men, this is definitely a time to ask for directions if you are not sure! Keep in mind, some airlines have minimal staff to manage flights and they will completely close the check in area will in advance of the fight (90 mins in some cases). If this happens, they will not return to the check in area and you will most likely miss your flight.

You can find several websites to familiarize yourself with the airport even before going. Once there, check the departure screens for the correct gate and to ensure your flight is taking off as scheduled. When you check the screen, make sure it says DEPARTURE and not Arrival as these screens are often side by side. And LISTEN for announcements. What are you checking on the screen? Confirm the following:

·        Make sure you see the current date and not the next day. This is especially important for late night departures.

·        Check for the destination.

·        Check the flight number to ensure it matches the number on your boarding card. Many airlines have codeshare agreements and will have several different flight numbers for the same flight and destination. Be patient as all numbers associated with that flight will flash on the screen at some point.

·        Check the gate number and ensure you remember this gate while heading thru security. Sometimes it is indicated on your boarding card (electronic or paper).

These are all important things to remember as even the most seasoned traveler can make mistakes. Me, I consider myself not just a seasoned but an EXPERT. Yet, this expert traveler and my young son were recently stranded overnight because we missed a flight. If you fly thru Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, some terminals have screens that are dedicated to specific airlines. So each airline has a separate screen in some area, not clearly advertised nor indicated. Make sure you see your exact flight number on the screen, not just your destination. For Jake and me, it was quite the experience. And the airline will not offer you a hotel or meal voucher. After-all it was my fault! No sympathy there!

Once you have cleared security, look for signs directing you to the correct terminal or gate.

·        Even if you have lots of time, proceed to your gate so that you are familiar with how to get there. Once at the gate, check the sign or screen above to ensure your flight information is displayed. And check the time of departure once again to ensure that is not delay.

·        Take a walk, shop, read but go light on the “beverages”. Enjoy your time and get back to the gate at least 45mins before boarding to have time to visit the washroom and get in line for boarding. 

Almost ready to get onboard and relax like Megan and Jake in the photo above. You can tell their experience was smooth and that they feel very comfortable onboard!

I look forward to publishing the next article in this series. Feel free to contact me if I can help in any way.

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