Blog post #529 Travel anxiety

Travel Anxiety

I know a lot of people with travel anxiety (particularly air travel)

I can remember my first flight – from Chicago to Cedar Rapids – about 1968,  I was told to dress up and to look nice. On the flight, the stewardess (not flight attendants) gave us a simple sandwich meal, with beverages.  It was pleasant.

But, over time, with more airlines, more flights, more passengers, and more stress.

Delays are inevitable these days, with less arm and leg room.  The analogy is a “cattle car”. There are all sorts of people going all directions at once.

Today’s article gives some hints:

-Take care of yourself before you go.  Get enough sleep, eat healthy, get to the gym, stay in a normal routine.

Here are time-saving tactics:
Print out your boarding passes beforehand. Standing in line to get your boarding pass can add to your stress.

Use carry-on. Consider shipping large pieces of luggage ahead.  And, pack correctly. You can find the weather for your destination and that can help to plan for warm or cool, wet or dry.

Stay at an airport hotel or plan on getting to airport hours 2 to 3 hours early.  On our last trip with had an airport hotel the night before our trip as well as a hotel the day we got home (it was a late flight that was scheduled to arrive at 11:15 p.m. (and eventually did land at 12:15 the next morning.  It was nice not to have to drive home on a late night.)

Take an early flight. The first flights of the day are least likely to be stuck on the runway.  And, if there is a mechanical or other problem, you have all day to get to your destination on other flights.

Enroll in TSA PreCheck or Global Entry and zoom to the head of the security lines. For our last flight, we had both TSA PreCheck and Global Entry and it did help to get through security.

Pre-book airport transfers. The more you plan ahead, the less nervous you will be.  Now schedule changes can occur, but airlines tend to be big on routines as well. If your incoming flight is at Gate 57 for the whole week before your trip, you can expect to arrive at Gate 57 (again, not always true).  Likewise, if your connecting flight has been at Gate 19 for the past week, it probably will be there for you (again, not always true). Look at the airport maps.

Know your times.  Do you have a three-hour layover?  That is never three hours!! You arrive at your gate on time, but by the time your row in the back of the plane gets to deplane, it might be 20 minutes later.  

Airport restrooms can be crowded.  If the time for your next flight is close and you need the restroom it might be that a restroom close to your departing plane might be better than waiting in line for the restroom as you get off your first plane.

Try to have as much under your control as possible.  Book your rental cars carefully and you can skip the line at the rental counter when you get there.

For me, at height 6 feet and 3 inches, I prefer an aisle seat.  And as a 71-year-old male, I find that for flights over one hour, I will probably need the restroom and it is better not to climb over people to get out.  Plus with an aisle, after the beverage service is done I can slip my feet into the aisle for more legroom.

The better prepared you are, the better you will be prepared for delays, overcrowded planes and the mob of people.  If you are four hours late in reaching your destination, you will have to live with it – you are not the pilot!! Get a head pillow, relax and enjoy the trip.  Remember the destination – for your job, to see family, to see night and interesting places. Being crowded into a plane for a few hours is just part of the price of flying and getting someplace quicker than driving or taking a train or bus.

What do you do?



Posted by Bruce White

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