- As any flight descends, most people have some trouble with pressure in their eardrums. That's why babies often cry loudly, having been quiet for the rest of the flight. Pinching your nose, closing your lips and trying to exhale can relieve the pressure. Another remedy is a product called "EarPlanes," which are disposable earplugs available for $5-10 at drugstores. The plugs are specially designed to regulate the pressure in your ears and can make flying much easier for people who suffer ear pain when flying.
- The reduced pressure during a flight can be dangerous if you have recently been diving; see Scuba diving for details.
- Avoid taking a flight with a destination much higher than the departure point; see Altitude sickness for details.
- Your nasal passages can dry-out during multi-hour flights...rendering you slightly more susceptible to airborne infections. Drink plenty of liquids (without alcohol or caffeine), perhaps use a moisturizing nasal spray (e.g., saline solution rather than topical anti-histamine), and consider using a simple face mask on long flights to conserve lung and sinus moisture as you breathe. (Masks otherwise offer only marginal protection against airborne disease.)
- Cabin temperature can vary, and for window seats the wall can be quite cool. Consider taking a coat, jacket or newspaper on-board. Wear warm socks, and if in a window seat, put something between you and the wall...a few layers of newspaper help considerably.
- Contact lenses. On multi-hour flights, you should use re-wetting drops frequently, or consider wearing prescription glasses instead...especially if you hope to sleep. The very-low cabin humidity can cause dry contact complications for your eyes. (As for any long trip, take spare contact lenses and/or prescription glasses.)
- Sanitizing wipes can be very useful on-board and in airports...to clean hands, tables, tray tables, arm rests, and key bathroom surfaces that have heavy use and unknown or (perhaps) neglected cleaning. Choose pre-wetted packets rather than bottled liquid for security-check convenience; avoid those only for hands (often leave a residue of glycerine); and choose those that contain sanitizing ingredients beyond or other than alcohol for more effectiveness.
Less common challenges
- If you need oxygen en-route, check with the airline to see if the type you need is feasible; if so, have your doctor, agent and/or airline arrange it well in-advance.
- If anyone in your party is handicapped in other ways (e.g., mobility, vision), you'll want the airline to know in-advance, preferably as you book your flight. With notice, they can make appropriate seat assignments, arrange assistance in the terminal, and notify the cabin crew of your needs. Beware: not all airlines are equally accommodating.
- If ill (especially with anything that might be contagious), you really shouldn't fly. In the close quarters of a plane, perhaps for hours, with 200 or more people going eventually to countless places, you could start or spread misery, even an epidemic. You should defer travel until you have recovered. If an airline or airport personnel notice symptoms, you may be denied boarding. Good trip insurance can help with the expense of delayed travel.
- If you've had surgery or a plaster cast applied within the last 15 days or so, you'd best avoid flying. Low cabin pressure can cause extremely uncomfortable swelling. Consult your doctor.
- If pregnant, consult your doctor for your particular circumstances. [] provides a fair introduction to the issues.
- Passengers on long flights may be prone to deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which is essentially blood clots forming in the veins, especially in the legs. It actually affects anyone who remains seated for long periods, e.g., train travelers, car passengers. The elderly tend to have greater risk than the young. You can take precautions to avoid it. See "Health" discussion at .
Restrictions and advice for some of these conditions can vary by airline, flight distances/times, total times to your destination(s), and availability of quality care at each stop.
Without your doctor's consultation, even good travel insurance may not cover you, especially if you fail to notify the insurer and airline. The insurer may levy a surcharge for special coverage, or may not cover for premature childbirth, pre- or post-natal complications or medical evacuation. The insurer and some airlines may also require written assurance from your doctor. (See Travel insurance.)
There are several airline quality ratings (like ) that can help you understand how different airlines operating on your chosen route compare in levels of service, timeliness and comfort. Such ratings are one indicator, but some ratings have come under criticism by air travel insiders, e.g., the Cranky Flyer, or where user comments/ratings disagree with an overall star rating. Look at a range of air travel expertise if airline selection is important and you have no recent experience with one under consideration.
Also be aware that if your ticketing airline uses code-sharing, you may actually fly one or more segments on another airline using substantially different aircraft.
由于国内航班往往比同等距离的国际航班便宜得多，如果您在国际边境附近的城市并希望到达邻国的目的地，通常可以通过越过边界节省相当多的航班土地和从该国飞行。例如，如果您在圣地亚哥需要前往墨西哥城，您可以陆路过境到蒂华纳并从蒂华纳乘坐飞机。同样地，如果你在香港需要到北京，你可以越过边境到深圳并从那里飞。渥太华和蒙特利尔的人们可以使用Syracuse N.Y.飞往美国城市的航班，多伦多居民可以飞出布法罗而不是Lester B. Pearson。
It will be up to you to find the right balance between costs of air fare and amenities...you rarely get what you don't pay for. For more advice on budget traveling, please see the article Low-cost airlines.
The airlines' basic motive is to fly full planes, and to get the maximum revenue it can for each flight; then supply and demand, yield management, and competition take over. The result can be large variations in airfares, depending on the time and date, how far in advance you are purchasing a ticket, the ticket conditions – even the time and day of the week you book and pay for them.
You are likely to pay less for a ticket if you are flexible in your travel times and routes, and you are happy to have restrictions on changes and ticket refunds. Keep in mind:
- Last-minute flights are expensive. Book as early as you can to get the best deals, as the cheap fare classes fill up fast. Also, you have no claim about a special deal until you pay for your ticket(s).
- Monday morning and Friday evening are the most popular times for business people to fly, which increases demand and can limit the available seats.
- Holiday seasons are times of high demand, because everybody else is also on the move. Worldwide biggies include late December to early January (Christmas/New Year and southern summer vacations) and July-August (northern summer vacations), but watch out for local holidays as well, such as the Golden Weeks in China and Japan. However, flights on the actual holiday days, such as Christmas day, are often discounted, as are flights against the peak travel flow.
- Direct/non-stop flights (see box for the difference) from A to B may be expensive, as some people will pay a premium for the convenience and there is little competition. Transferring at point C is a time-consuming hassle, but it can save you a bundle, as there are many options and airlines are competing to undercut each other.
- So-called budget airlines may offer attractive ticket costs. But take care with additional fees charged that may greatly reduce the cost advantage that airline may appear to have over others.
- Sites such as Expedia and Travelocity can help you explore your options, but note that these may not show low-cost airlines flights, and they are rather North America-centric, often showing ridiculously inflated (full-fare) prices for travel outside North America.
- Kayak may be an alternative. To find a low-cost/no-frills flight it can be good to check one of the comparison tools, such as e.g. flylowcostairlines.org .
- For international travel, you may get the best deals by booking from an agent at the starting point. But try travel search sites such as Momondo and Vayama to understand costs, flight frequencies and routes. If you are a student, or under 26 or over 65, some travel sites and agents are tailored to offering low fares to you.
Many airlines offer a frequent flyer loyalty program, rewarding patrons who fly regularly with them or who fly long distances. The loyalty schemes work on a segments or miles basis: you get rewards after you fly a certain number of trips ('segments') or after the total distance of your flights exceeds a certain amount. Business and first class passengers may receive bonus miles for each journey; sometimes there are available credit card and hotel bonuses for economy class tickets as well. If you are not a member of a frequent flyer program, consider joining one - especially if you travel to an intercontinental destination or plan to take additional trips. You may get something out of it, at the price of having your data profiled and used for advertisement. To join a frequent flyer program, brochures are handed out at the airport, an airline's lounge or an airline's ticket office. Submit them to the ground staff and your frequent flyer number becomes effective immediately. You can also join online. Most frequent flyer programmes don't charge a fee to join but some such as Cathay Pacific's Marco Polo Club do (in exchange for a few perks such as dedicated check-in counters and priority boarding at the base level).
The frequent flyer rewards typically include:
- Free flights and upgrades. Once you have earned enough miles/points, you can claim a flight and/or an upgrade award. The mileage cost of the award will vary depending on your itinerary. Take note though that although the fare is free, you will still have to shoulder government taxes and surcharges collected at the point-of-ticketing.
- Redemption of free goodies (such as consumer goods and hotel stays) on other non-flight partners.
- If you collect enough points in a year you can become an elite member, which can include additional perks such as check-in at the first/business class counter, early boarding, priority in waitlists, complimentary upgrades, and access to airport lounges. Lounges are also available to holders of some credit cards: Diners Club ; GlobeCard Platinum; Master Card; and American Express.
Not all fares are eligible to earn miles so ask the ticketing agent or read the fare rules at the time of booking. You can usually claim miles for flights up to 12 months after you've taken them, as long as you were a member when the flight was taken, but you will need to keep your boarding pass stubs. It's easier to log-in using your frequent flyer number prior to booking.
Currently only Travelgrove's  meta search engine is showing the miles that can be earned for each flight. In cooperation with MileBlaster, extras like credit card bonuses, hotel bonuses, special offers are also available, and the results can be ordered by the percentage of the free flight that can be gained by booking the given flight, so it is definitely a good choice for frequent flyers looking to collect enough miles for a free flight.
Your airline of choice may be a member of an airline alliance, which allows you to earn and use your miles on other airlines in the same alliance as well. The big three alliances are Star Alliance , oneworld  and SkyTeam . With the many frequent flyer programmes out there, it's simpler to be a member of one programme per alliance, at most.
Being on a frequent flyer programme of a particular carrier makes it more convenient to make bookings with that carrier. When you log-on using your frequent flyer number and book a flight, your details (such as name, passport details etc.) are automatically filled-in whether the flight is mileage accruable or not.
You may also be able to claim points from other sources. Credit cards affiliated to a program are particularly useful, as you'll typically get miles every time you use the card and this can quickly rack up to a free trip per year, but hotel stays, car rentals and even mobile phone bills may also garner you points.
Direct vs. non-stop
In the airline world, a direct flight means that it uses the same plane and flight number, but there may still be a stopover along the way — this means that you may have to disembark the plane with your carry-on luggage and, in countries like the US, even go through immigration. Look for a non-stop flight if you want to get from point A to point B in one flight.
Flying from point A to point B often involves a connection in point C, where you have to disembark, find your connecting flight and climb on board again. If both the A-C and C-B flights are on the same ticket, the airlines are responsible for broken connections and will (try to) get you on the next flight if you miss your flight. This may also be the case if you are flying the same airline or airline group (One World, etc) and you have allowed the required connection time between flights. However, if you book separate flights (especially on different airlines), making the connection is solely your responsibility. If you are flying on an airline or fare type that doesn't permit last minute changes, you may lose your fare when one airline's delay makes you late for the next one. Paying a little more for a flexible fare on the final connection can not only avoid this risk, but can also let you catch an earlier flight if you make the connection quickly.
Airlines may consider a connection as tight as 35 minutes to be valid, and if you don't have to clear customs or exit and re-enter secure zones between flights, and the arrival and departure gates are near each other, this may be reasonable. However, you can get unpleasant surprises at unfamiliar airports. For example, your gates could be at opposite ends of the building, or even in separate terminals. If you're traveling through an airport you don't know well and travel time is not critical, consider allowing at least an hour and a half to make each connection, particularly if it involves clearing customs (in which case two and a half hours is safer). If you are not delayed, you can use this slack time to eat at the airport, where the food is likely better than what you may (or may not!) get in the air.
Many on-line travel arrangers show statistics on how often a given flight arrives on time. Use this information to help you decide whether to risk problems with tight connections, etc. Generally, the last flight of the day into a given destination will be delayed more often than earlier flights, as the airlines use that flight to "sweep" travelers whose inbound connecting flights run late. Of course, the statistics alone won't tell you whether your particular flight is likely to be delayed, but it's still useful data.
With international connecting flights, check to see if the country you will be making a connection at requires a transit visa to go through their airport. Some countries, such as the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom require all passengers to pass through customs and immigration even if they are just transferring between international flights. You may find it easier if you can avoid passing through these destinations, particularly the United States which has the same requirements for a transit visa as for a tourist visa. Others, such as Hong Kong and Australia will require certain nationalities to obtain a visa even if they plan to remain in the sterile area. You are responsible for procuring all the necessary visas before you fly; request them as early as possible.
Phonetic alphabet - it's useful
When calling an airline or travel agency to make changes, the fastest way to find your ticket is to tell the reservations agent that you will give them your Passenger Name Record (PNR), and spell it out with the NATO phonetic alphabet (Alpha Bravo Charlie Delta Echo Foxtrot Golf Hotel India Juliet Kilo Lima Mike November Oscar Papa Quebec Romeo Sierra Tango Uniform Victor Whiskey X-ray Yankee Zulu). This is much easier than trying to spell out your last name, and you will gain some instant respect for sounding like a pro.
From the moment you first book your flight to the moment you step on the plane, there's a lot going on in the background. The following may be helpful in understanding what is happening especially if you intend to book flights the old school way (i.e. physically going to a carrier's ticketing office or your travel agency).
The first step is to make a reservation for your flight. This is done by contacting the carrier or your travel agent by the phone. No payment is necessary at this point. When making a reservation, the airline will hold a seat for you until a given date, typically a week or so after the reservation. If you do not pay up before the expiration date, the booking will be canceled and somebody else can grab the seat. Reservations can be changed and canceled freely. This is useful if you are awaiting the outcome of certain procedures (e.g. approval of a visa for your destination). You will be given a six character-long alphanumeric code called the passenger name reference or PNR which you may quote when you're ready to purchase the ticket.
- A seat reserved for you will be listed as confirmed in your reservation, and will not be taken away, at least not until the time limit given to you has expired. However, you can't fly yet until you purchase the ticket. You can confirm only a single seat in each direction per ticket.
- If a specific flight is fully booked but you want to try to get on it, you can make a waitlisted reservation. If the waitlist "clears" (somebody else cancels and you get their seat), the waitlisted reservation becomes confirmed and your previously confirmed seats on other flights are canceled. You can usually waitlist multiple flights, but really cheap nonchangeable tickets may not allow any waitlisting at all.
Turning a reservation into an actual ticket is called issuing the ticket or ticketing. An issued ticket must be paid for with cash/credit/debit card or redeemed with frequent flyer points/miles and - depending on ticket type - some or all of the following restrictions may now apply:
- nonchangeable/nonrebookable: you cannot change the flight time and date (at least not without paying a heavy change fee). In cases of rebookable flights, whether there is a rebooking fee or not, you will still need to pay for the fare difference.
- nonendorsable: you cannot fly another airline if your airline has problems (for serious cases like flight cancellations this is usually overruled by local legislation)
- nonrefundable: you cannot get your money back if you don't fly (in North America the unused fare might be able to be used as credit for purchasing another ticket after a penalty/administrative fee is deducted if cancelled beforehand; in most other places though the entire fare may very well be forfeited)
- nonreroutable: you cannot change to another route, even if the destination is the same
- nontransferable: you cannot sell the ticket to somebody else
- non mileage accruable: you cannot earn frequent flyer miles on that ticket
- nonupgradable: you cannot upgrade to a more premium class using frequent flyer miles
These various restrictions (or lack thereof) play a large role in determining the price of that ticket. As mentioned in the section finding a cheap ticket, a rule of thumb is that higher prices mean fewer restrictions.
Take note that if you intend to book a flight online (either through the carrier's website or consolidator websites like Travelocity and Expedia), the reservation and ticketing happen at the same time. Hence payment (usually by credit/debit card) or redemption (if using miles) is required immediately. However there are some advantages to booking online:
- these websites are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (except for rare occasional maintenance) so you don't have to wait until the next business day to go down to a ticketing office or travel agency to be ticketed for a flight or even make enquiries about available flights/promos
- a service fee is levied by some carriers for ticketing done through phone or in-person booking; you can save yourself this money by using the online facility instead
- a good number of promo fares nowadays are offered exclusively online so check with them
If you are still waitlisted for a flight that you would like to board, or if you would like to take an earlier or later flight than you're booked on, you can try to fly standby. This means simply showing up at the airport check-in counter and asking to be put on the next flight. If there is plenty of space, you'll be checked in right there. However, if the flight is looking full, you will have to wait until the flight is closed (typically 30-60 minutes before departure) and the airline can count how many seats it has left. Don't count on any special ticket savings if you fly standby and conversely, don't count on flying standby if your ticket is highly restricted.
If you don't check in by closing time, you will be declared a no-show. Your seat can now be given to somebody on standby. The result depends on your ticket restrictions and conditions, which can be either total loss of your fare, or on some flexible tickets you can just book onto the next flight.
Here are other important notes regarding reservations and ticketing:
- While a reservation guarantees you a seat, it does not guarantee the fare that was quoted. Hence the fare at the time of reservation may differ from the one given at the time of ticketing. The fare quoted is only guaranteed if you're ready to book right away.
- Flight restrictions can be draconian — some companies even ban standby changes — so you'll have to pay (sometimes dearly) to make any change; some also do not allow refunds. Check your conditions carefully.
Most airlines today exclusively use electronic tickets (e-tickets). An e-ticket is an electronic record of your booking details which is stored in the airline's computers; you will not receive a paper ticket, which consists of a booklet of flight coupons. In most cases, an itinerary receipt containing your flight details is prepared and e-mailed or printed for your reference. The itinerary receipt contains a unique six-character Passenger Name Record (PNR), which is used to identify your booking.
While an e-ticket itinerary receipt has a lot of the features of a basic itinerary, it has added features such as a ticket number, baggage allowance, computation of the fare and surcharges, mode of payment, etc. It also comes with the conditions of carriage which includes your rights in case something happens to the flights you are booked with.
In theory, an e-ticket allows you to just show a valid ID upon check-in, as your name is all the agent needs to access your flight details. However, for security reasons, some airports require you to show a print-out of the itinerary receipt as proof of your booking before entering the airport and/or upon check-in. In addition, when travelling to another country, immigration authorities often require proof of onward or return travel. So always bring a print-out of the itinerary receipt with you for easy reference.
Due to concerns of credit card fraud, when you purchase e-tickets over the Internet with a credit card, some carriers require you to show the credit card used to purchase the tickets at the airport or their ticketing office for verification. Take note of this especially if the credit card holder is not part of the travelling party - they need to see the credit card, not the authorised signature of the credit card holder. Failure to do so may lead to re-issue of the ticket with the same (or higher) fare, and refund for the original ticket after many weeks or even months (if refundable; refund fees may apply).
In the rare event that you are issued with a paper ticket, you must present it when checking in for your flight. Look after your ticket; you cannot check in without it. If you lose the ticket, expect a lot of paperwork and/or hassles: you may be required to buy another ticket for the flight and have to apply for a refund later, or pay a re-ticketing fee. Not to mention that some jurisdictions will require you to file a police report. Hence if you're afraid of losing or forgetting your paper ticket, request for an e-ticket whenever possible. When you lose or misplace a print-out of the itinerary receipt, you can always freely and easily print another copy out from your email or request the carrier/travel agent to email it to you again.
The major advantage of an electronic ticket (e-ticket) is that because your flight details are in the airline's computers, the e-ticket can't get lost, forgotten, or stolen. Your travel plans can also be altered without the need to print and deliver a new ticket. If your airline offers online or self-service kiosk check-in, you can use these to print boarding passes, thus saving time at the airport.
The major disadvantage is that your flight details are in one specific airline's computers, so other airlines cannot access them. This is not a problem 99% of the time, but can be a major headache if a flight cancellation requires you to switch to a flight with another airline. If this happens, get an "endorseable" paper ticket from the original airline as backup before heading over to the other airline's counter. Likewise, for complex itineraries involving multiple airlines (like round the world flights), you should opt for a paper ticket, especially since inter-airline e-ticketing agreements are not that common yet.
Not all destinations offered by major airlines are e-ticket eligible. But for the destinations that are e-ticket eligible, your airline may levy a surcharge if you choose to purchase a paper ticket. Airlines generally no longer issue paper tickets for most journeys.
A few airlines do not assign seats (e.g., Southwest), but do assign you a boarding group based on how early you confirm your flight on-line within 24 hours of the flight.
As they receive your booking for a specific flight, most airlines will promptly assign you a seat. If so, consult SeatGuru (noted below) and visit the airline web-site soon after. If dissatisfied with the automatic selection, see if you can choose another inter-actively from all available seats on the plane in your cabin class. If you are checking in at the airline's counter with no seat yet assigned, you should ask if a desirable seat is still available.
What's desirable? Different seat types on a plane have advantages over others. The greatest determiner of a desirable seat will be your cabin class.
- First Class is always at the front of the aircraft to minimize engine noise, and offers luxurious seating with generous leg-room and well-padded, wide seats. On aircraft configured for long routes, the seats often recline fully to create comfortable single beds. Each may be set within walls providing some privacy. These features, plus the superb meal, drink and services that accompany them, drive the typical cost of tickets to many times that for economy class.
- Business Class will also be located toward the front of any aircraft, immediately behind first-class if any. Seating will also be very comfortable, often able to recline markedly if not fully. The newest seats also have walls for some privacy. These features, plus deluxe meal, drink and other services, drive the typical cost of tickets to several times that for economy class.
- Economy Class makes up the bulk of aircraft seating. Some aircraft will have two "flavors"...a premium economy that offers greater leg-room than the other...standard economy.
- In those flavors, seat-width and "pitch" basically determine comfort, though newer designs may have seat cushion and seat back contouring that also help. Pitch means the distance between a fixed point on one seat and that same point on the seat behind it. It basically defines the amount of legroom someone will enjoy or (possibly) suffer.
- In standard economy on full-sized aircraft, pitch can vary from 30-32 inches, and width from 17-18.5 inches. In premium economy, seats may only offer greater pitch, perhaps 35-36 inches; on many flights, that extra legroom comes at substantial cost. On long flights, these variations can be enough to make travel comfort range from acceptable to somewhat miserable, e.g., 17 inches for the portly can force them into the space of seatmates, a 30 inch pitch can cause a tall person some pain.
- In regional jets or short-haul propeller aircraft, widths can be under 17", while pitch can be 28 or so inches.
SeatGuru  and other sites can provide seating maps/details (and other information rarely shown on airline web sites) to help you judge whether particular aircraft and seating will be comfortable for the travel you plan.
Beyond cabin class, other considerations include:
- Window seats, popular with many flyers, as they allow you to look out the window, rest your head against it while sleeping and not be disturbed by other passengers. The major downside is that you'll have to clamber over a seatmate or two to reach the aisle for any purpose. You may also have slightly less floor space due to the curvature of the plane, and the wall can become quite cool.
- Aisle seats, the choice of some road warriors because they make it easy to get out and off the plane, provide more leg space, and make it easier to get up and stretch your legs. On long flights, though, it's hard to sleep with people walking by, seatmates climbing over you, and the risk of your elbow being hit by a service trolley passing by. Planes usually disembark row-by-row, so a seat further forward will often get you out at your destination quicker than an aisle seat farther back.
- A third possibility is middle seats, which combine the disadvantages of both aisle and window seats without the advantages of either, although taller passengers may still be able to see the view from the window.
- Many double-aisle/wide-body aircraft may have just two outer seats near the windows, with four or so between the aisles. These outer seats are desirable for couples and friends who can easily "coordinate" needs to get to the aisle. The middle seats may be useful for families.
On well-equipped aircraft, some seats in each row may have entertainment electronics installed underneath. These can compromise foot room for those seated behind. Poor foot room can be a major annoyance and source of discomfort on long flights. SeatGuru/other site details can help you avoid them.
There are also some special seat rows:
- Exit row seats are next to the emergency exit rows, and have significantly greater legroom than standard seats. You also have easier access to the aisles regardless of whether you are sitting in an exit or the aisle seat. A disadvantage of these seats is that the tray tables are tucked into the armrests on some aircraft and as a result, you can't lift the armrests between seats. This shouldn't be much of a problem when you have occupants beside you, but if there is none you may want to but can't spread out a bit. In addition, many carriers may require all your hand baggage to go in an overhead compartment; there are no seats directly in front of you under which to store items. Passengers in these seats are required to help attendants with the door in an emergency. If you are physically unable to help, if you are deaf or blind, if you are a child or supervising a child, or if you are pregnant, you won't be allowed to sit there . Because of the desirability of exit-row seats, some airlines now charge extra for them, using the name "Economy Plus" or similar. If you're quite tall, you may sometimes get these seats without paying but don't count on it. Ask specifically at check-in and state the reason you want/need one.
- Bulkhead seats are in the first row of each section and thus have no seat reclining into you.
- You may face a wall, and thus will have no seat in front of you to store carry-ons; like exit rows, you'll have to store all your baggage overhead.
- Legroom can be different from other seats...sometimes better but sometimes worse.
- They're often the only seats that can be outfitted with infant bassinets, so most airlines reserve them for families with small children. You may be able to snag one on check-in (some airlines assign them as regular seats without request) or even at the gate, but then you run the risk of sitting next to a baby or infant for your entire flight. They also have the tray table built into the armrest. Portly people can have difficulty folding the table into position for use.
- Some bulkhead seats have a bulkhead immediately behind them. That often means the seat back cannot be reclined at all...not a problem if you always sit upright.
Those wishing to avoid airsickness should choose seats over the wings of the aircraft, near the center of gravity. Occupants of those seats tend to feel less turbulence than passengers in seats toward the rear.
Passengers who want a bit more elbow room (even in economy class) should consider the last row of window seats on the plane. Due to the curvature of the plane, window seat passengers near the end of the plane may have a tad more elbow room on the window side...sometimes enough to fit a medium-sized totebag. However, per some notes in SeatGuru/etc.,:
- "Window seats" in the back row may in fact offer nothing more than a blank wall.
- If close to the lavatories or a galley, you may be bothered by waiting passengers or odors.
In addition to obvious the choice between window seats (good views), aisle seats (more freedom to move) and middle seats (lacking the advantages of either window or aisle seats) there are several other considerations for choosing a slightly more comfortable economy class seat.
How close you sit to the front or back end of the plane is a mixed bag of benefits and drawbacks. In most jet aircraft, seats in the back experience more cabin noise; the difference can be significant enough to cause discomfort, and it's one of the reasons why first class is always located in the front. In wide-body aircraft, rear economy window seats will provide you with a better view than in the front of the economy section, where the view is obstructed by the wings. The effects of turbulence are weakest near the leading edge of the wing, in the middle of the aircraft. Finally, US National Transportation Safety Board data from accidents in which some passengers survived and others did not, indicate that seats at the rear of the plane are statistically safer.
Airplanes also have "ordinary" seats that are less or more desirable for some reason:
- seats at the tail end of the plane often have no middle seats, which gives you more room to spread out
- seats just before the exit row and at the end of a section may not recline
- seats next to the toilets may be smelly and have lots of people trooping up and down to them, or queuing outside of them.
- seats next to the galleys may be noisy especially when flight attendants prepare and roll-out the meals, and surprisingly smelly from steam-heated food
- certain rows may have the electronics for the seat-back entertainment under the seat in front, stealing leg room. Check the sites listed below to identify them
It is possible to simulate the comfort of first class by securing a row of unoccupied seats in the middle section of larger aircraft, and raising the armrests to form a makeshift bed. Be on the lookout for these rows as you get on the plane, and be aware that others will be too. The flight attendants are also aware of these rows, and will also use them to relocate people.
Try to be one of the first ones to board, and "secure" the seats with open newspapers or magazines--the object is to make the row seem uninviting until the doors close and seat assignments are more-or-less frozen.
If you want to sleep, fasten your seatbelt over your blankets so that it's visible; otherwise, you'll be pestered by the flight attendants should the "fasten seatbelt" sign turn on mid-flight. Seating arrangements vary greatly between airplanes and airlines, so you'll need to consult detailed seat maps to figure out the good and bad ones. There are a few online sites that provide detailed maps for in-service aircraft and can help when choosing the best seat:
If you know what type of aircraft you are traveling on, you can look up the seat map on all of these sites. SeatExpert also offers a unique feature that allows you to find a seat map by entering your flight information (airline, flight number, date of departure). SeatGuru also helps to find out what aircraft type you'll be flying  (although it gives little help beyond US airlines).
Sometimes aircraft scheduled to fly on a certain day for a certain flight may be substituted for another aircraft at the last minute. Therefore it is a good idea to take a look at all possible aircrafts and their respective configurations to find out the number of your preferred seat. Furthermore, an airline may have a certain kind of aircraft with different configurations. For example, the front row in one of Airline X's A330s may be row 1 but in another kind of A330 of Airline X it could be row 11 even if the front row of both A330s are of the same service class. It is also worth knowing if the an airline's aircraft is 2nd hand or leased from another airline as the seat design may have significant differences from in-house aircraft.
If there is something wrong with your seat, say the electronics don't work, or if you are sitting next to someone who takes more than their share of the seat, or who is obviously ill, then bring this to the attention of the flight attendant. Usually they can reseat you if they know about the problem early enough.
Once you have confirmed your flights, be sure to let the carrier or your travel agent know if you have any special requests. Typical examples include:
- special meals (vegetarian, kosher, medical restrictions, allergies, etc)
- special seats (exit row seats for tall people, bulkhead seats for baby bassinets)
- airport assistance (wheelchair or unaccompanied minor)
You can check to see what meals to expect on Airlinemeals.net .
Airlines not providing meals in the price of your ticket can be viewed here inflightfeed.com .
With some airlines, you need to remind the crew about your special meals order before the meals are served, to save them from browsing the passenger list and finding you in the cabin (or even finding your special order after serving you regular meals). Travel agencies have a tendency to lose track of the many requests they get, so if it's really serious it's wise to contact the airline directly and make sure the message has gotten through, and to mention it at check-in.
If all the above planning, flight trade-offs and ticket purchasing seems complex (especially for international travel), look for assistance.
- You may have friends with practical experience. Ask them what they've done to plan, choose airlines, make such arrangements, and prepare for your kind of trip. Objectively balance their experiences with particular airlines with your on-line and other research.
- Consider using a travel agent. You may pay a small premium, but it will often be worth avoiding the hassle of finding and booking the best, practically-usable tickets by yourself. He/she has access to air travel brokers or consolidators, not usable by the public, at times offering better deals. He/she can also arrange special requests (special diets, baby bassinets, wheelchair assistance, etc) directly with the airline. If you wish, they can advise you on accommodations, airport transfers and guided tours that may save you money (perhaps as a package) compared to arranging each need separately. The fee (if any) you pay for such services is real but often "built into" better airline fares and flight selections.
For flying, there are two basic types of luggage: checked and carry-on sometimes referred to as "hold" and "hand" luggage, respectively, even "cabin baggage". Checked luggage is usually given to airline staff at check-in time and, after electronic or hand screening, transported by airport crew to temporary storage and loaded into the hold of the aircraft. Luggage limits for both types are discussed below.
Carry-on luggage is taken on board the flight with you, e.g., a medium backpack or small roll-on suitcase. The weight and size limits for it can be restrictive and can vary by airline (e.g., budget versus major carrier) and size of aircraft. Some may let you carry little more than a few essentials for comfort and small, easily damaged items. There the challenges start.
- Never put high-value or irreplaceable items in your checked luggage. Somehow you need to personally carry all your official/valuable papers, cash/bank cards/passports and high-value items (e.g., jewelry, electronics, Rx or irreplaceable medications) with you. Most insurance policies and airlines will not cover these items when placed in checked luggage. Moreover, emergencies may happen unexpectedly during the course of your journey, and you may need immediate access to some such items.
- Understand what liquids you're allowed to carry on-board, e.g., see the TSA 3-1-1 rule , with metric equivalents adopted worldwide. This includes foods made with syrups/gels/pastes, e.g., peanut butter, jams, jellies. If you consider packing such, keep them within the 3-1-1 Rule.
- You may want or need to include some comfort items (discussed below).
- For vacations, you'll likely want a camera and perhaps a laptop or tablet. (Their support accessories can go in checked bags because not valuable per se, so not interesting to thieves.)
Fortunately, cameras, laptops/tablets, purses and outer garments may fall under separate allowances to give you some relief and packing options, e.g., in addition to a backpack or small suitcase,:
- You'll probably be allowed to carry on a modest camera bag.
- The purse allowance doesn't specify gender.
- Women can choose one that is rather generous...but not outrageous.
- Men may be allowed a modest shoulder bag, small backpack or durable sack.
- Some travel-item sellers offer coats and vests with many pockets, able to hold many small items. You may already have one.
All may help increase what you can carry-on, and (except for budget carriers) probably won't be protested or result in a fee unless you over-do it.
IATA guidelines apply the 3-1-1 limits (in metric equivalents) to all international flights. They impose 100ml or 3.4oz limits on all liquids, gels and pastes in carry-on baggage. This includes aerosols, toothpaste, deodorant/antiperspirant sticks, all drinks (including water), etc. that you try to carry through the personal security check.
- All containers for those liquids must fit in a single clear bag/pouch smaller than 20cm x 20cm or 1 quart. Each container inside must meet the 100ml/3.4oz limit, (e.g., a 250ml toothpaste tube with only a small amount of toothpaste left is not allowed). If you want to fill your personal bag to the max, freezer bags are more sturdy than basic quart "zip locks"..
These restrictions are usually enforced at terminal security checks. If you want your own water on-board, take empty bottles through security and fill them from an air-side drinking fountain. Some exceptions are possible, e.g., for medical necessities or baby care items. Sanitizing wipes individually sealed in packets are allowed and highly useful in-flight. (Bottled or in packets, sanitizers designed for hands tend to contain large amounts of glycerine to help prevent drying skin. They should not be used on other surfaces...will leave an undesirable residue.)
Duty free items purchased within the secure area of any airport that exceed the 3-1-1 limits may be allowed on-board. But be careful of en-route aircraft/terminal changes where you may have to re-check through security. Even though sealed in a tamper-proof sack, containers of liquids originally bought "airside" may not be allowed through "re-check".
Place all medications and the bag of liquids where they can be easily seen at security check. Ensure all medications are clearly labelled and kept in small bottles wherever possible. Place all other liquids not meeting the 3-1-1 Rule in your checked luggage. You may be required to demonstrate the harmlessness of any liquid you're carrying on request by security officials.
Expect to discard all liquids and gels you carry through the security checkpoint that don't meet that country's regulations. Details for the United Kingdom can be found at the Security Control section of the official Heathrow Airport  website.
Pack no sharp or weapon-like objects in carry-on baggage; if seen (likely), they will be confiscated. Even "convincing looking" toy weapons are illegal in many countries.
- This includes pointed scissors (however small), pocket knives, Swiss Army knives, screwdrivers or similar tools, baseball bats, martial arts weapons, and so on.
- Pack sharp items in your checked bags in ways that don't create risk for baggage inspectors.
- If passing through the USA, check the list of prohibited items at TSA.
Food/water: If your flight goes to the United States, Australia, or New Zealand, take no more fresh or un-packaged food than you will eat before you arrive...as carry-on or checked. Those countries have strict rules about bringing-in food. It will be seized, and may generate an immediate fine. On longer flights there will probably be a meal or snack served (or offered for purchase) anyway. Check at least before boarding, if not sooner.
If you are hypoglycemic, diabetic, or have blood-sugar issues, you might take a few non-perishable packaged snacks. Again, don't count on being able to buy such items at any airport. If you have a tight connection, you may have no time to buy what you need en-route to your gate...even if a shop has it.
If you feel need for your own bottled water while flying, you might purchase it after you pass through personal security inspection (but check the airport description in-advance to ensure such a shop is available), or you might bring an empty bottle and refill it after security check.
Pressurized containers, explosives, hazardous materials and weapons (or items that look like weapons) are prohibited entirely. For the USA, see the TSA's guide to Transporting Special Items . Note also "Carry-on Contents" below.
Amusements. Unless you sleep easily on flights, you might want to keep yourself occupied, especially on long flights. Five "empty" hours may be tolerable, but much longer can go beyond boredom. Some planes have the latest in-flight entertainment systems, recorded music/movies/TV episodes, and on-board games...with visuals presented on a small-screen TV. Others may have little or nothing. Visit your airline's website or SeatGuru  to check. You'll need earplugs or earphones to hear entertainment audio. For long flights, some carriers offer earplugs...often for a fee. If you plan to use your own headphones/earplugs, ensure you have plug adapters. The airline's web site should list permitted electronic devices; on-board, look in the in-flight magazine. Perhaps even better, treat yourself to a good book.
Comfort items (some mentioned elsewhere):
- For warmth, consider a light jacket, vest, wrap or small blanket; if clothing, wear it aboard (won't be counted as a carry-on item) then remove it as you take your seat if not needed. If you have a window seat, have something to shield your legs from the cool wall.
- For sleep on longer flights, you might want a neck pillow or something that keeps your head upright.
- For very long flights, savvy flyers bring something to pad the small of their backs (e.g., cushion or roll) and slippers.
For your consideration...
- If not interested in entertainment audio, consider a pair of foam earplugs. Even on short flights, engine noise or a restless small child near you can be bothersome. The announcements can also be annoyingly loud, because they have to be clear even with engine noise. Plugs can reduce the noise level but still allow you to hear instructions in an emergency...or
- If you're a frequent-flyer or going on a very-long flight, consider quality noise- canceling headphones or earplugs. They help much more than foam earplugs. Choose carefully for long-term comfort.
- Sanitizing wipes: If you'll be using your seat tray-table, use sanitizing wipes on your tray, armrests and hands. Also use wipes on key surfaces before you use the aircraft bathroom. Several may be needed on long flights. Again, avoid using glycerine-based hand-sanitizer on hard surfaces.
- Lightweight blanket. Many airlines no longer offer them, especially for flights less than 5 hours or so.
- Newspaper, for reading, and to insulate against the cabin wall if needed.
If you put electronics (e.g., music player, headphones, laptop, cell phone) in your carry-on bag, electronic screening is more likely to generate manual inspection; so pack them to be easily seen. In most countries, laptops/"E pads" are scanned separately from other carry-ons; you'll have to remove it from any carry-on bag/luggage holding other items. Make sure its batteries are charged at least enough to "boot" it up for a simple demonstration.
Most regulations allow you to carry on an umbrella if it fits in your bag, the overhead bin or under your seat. If you must have a type that won't fit, consider putting it in your checked luggage or buying one at your destination.
Airline gate security may confiscate any carry-on item they feel is "suspicious", often without recourse. At that point, you would not be able to put those items in your checked baggage, because by then it would already be waiting to be loaded aboard your aircraft.
In some airports, security of checked luggage has been an issue; contents have occasionally been stolen while checked bags await loading on your plane. Such thieves focus entirely on valuables, not support items. So carefully maximize what you can wisely put in checked luggage within weight and size limits, minimize your valuables as much as possible, and be cautiously creative about satisfying the limits for carry-on. (Note also discussion below on securing your bags.)
As you choose any case for travel (at home or at purchase), mind its empty weight, dimensions, ease to carry and apparent durability, e.g., well-made rollers and comfortable handle.
- Lighter cases allow you to pack more.
- Very large pieces (even lightweight) tempt packing too much or violating size limits.
- Experts recommend large cases with lengths of just 25-26 inches to avoid accidental overload (weight) when fully-packed. Fixed-shape designs from major brands will be dimensioned to meet standard airline restrictions. They come in two basic types:
- Hard-shelled cases completely enclose contents, thereby offering best protection for properly padded breakables. They are clamped and/or locked closed.
- Hard-sided cases have one or more otherwise soft compartments that protect contents well. Better designs include expansion capabilities on trips when weight or size aren't limited.
- For greatest ease of carrying, you might choose fixed-shape wheeled luggage. Two quality wheels should track well and last the life of the bag. Four wheels eliminate carrying any weight while rolling the case.
- Some luggage makers offer capabilities to pull two wheeled bags in-tandem as one. However, negotiating stairs, escalators, even ramps can be challenging.
- Experts recommend large cases with lengths of just 25-26 inches to avoid accidental overload (weight) when fully-packed. Fixed-shape designs from major brands will be dimensioned to meet standard airline restrictions. They come in two basic types:
- Carry-on luggage must fit in overhead bins or under the seat in front of you. To preserve your foot room (crucial on long flights), you'll want to put as much in the overheads as possible.
- Fixed-shapes from quality brands will be sized precisely to fit "standard" overhead bins, e.g., for large Boeing and Airbus aircraft, up to 22 inch long roll-ons.
- Many flights within Europe and elsewhere use "regional" jets with small overhead bins and little room under seats. The "official" "Euro" standard is 20 inches, but even that may not fit in their bins.
- Soft, partially-full bags may fit in smaller or nearly-full bins where fixed-shape luggage can't. Pack them carefully to protect contents.
How much should you pack?[编辑]
Once you have booked your flight(s), go to the airline's web site to fully understand its baggage limits and fees. Most legacy US carriers and low-cost carriers outside the US levy fees for checked bags; at least one airline also charges for carry-ons. Fees paid on-line, in-advance may be slightly less than when paid at check-in.
With codeshare flights, luggage allowance may not be the same as the airline you are booked through, or the airline indicated by the flight code. The rules of the actual airline operating the flight apply. If you are a frequent flyer with status be particularly careful, as any increased baggage allowance you have when flying with your airline will usually not apply to the codeshare flight.
Unless you own a business that does a lot of shipping, you probably won't have a scale able to weigh baggage and large packages. The easiest alternative is to purchase a cheap luggage scale that consists of a handle, a small electronic scale, and a large hook...not bar. Hook the scale to the handle of the bag, and lift it up totally off the ground using the scale's handle. The weight will be shown on the display. Avoid buying any scale that won't measure up to the airlines' surcharge limit (e.g. 50 lbs.), or can't switch between pounds and kilograms. You can also indirectly weigh items using a bathroom weight scale. First weigh yourself holding your bag completely off the ground, then without the bag, and calculate the difference. Unlike luggage scales, this method can be inaccurate if the scale is placed on a carpet or other soft surface. Also, be sure to "zero" the scale when it's empty, and step onto the scale a few times after it's been picked up and moved to another location. It may then need to be reset to zero again. This applies to both mechanical and the newer digital bathroom scales.
Don't take more luggage and contents than you can carry/roll by yourself...to include items needed for infants/small children or the elderly.
- Airports generally have baggage carts for rent, but you'll need local currency (usually coins) to "rent" one. In some countries (e.g., the United Kingdom), you cannot take these carts through security checkpoints into secure/airside areas.
- Some airports offer free carts...more often in areas for arriving flights.
- Nearly all airports and hotels have porters, usually working for tips.
- Elsewhere, you'll likely be entirely on your own. Too many bags or too much weight can become a major burden.
- With separately-booked flights to a destination, you may be wholly responsible for claiming any checked bag(s) at the end of each flight, taking it to the airline check-in counter, re-checking it for the next flight leg, and getting to your next flight on-time...if it's possible.
If tempted to take as much as you are allowed, purchases on you trip can make your bag(s) overweight when you return...resulting in airline fees beyond those for starting the trip. This can greatly increase the real cost of even the best buys. Some experienced travelers with shopping plans even take and use some presentable but older garments, then donate or discard them before returning home.
Checked luggage is often tossed about in transit. If you have something that might not survive such handling and it's allowed on-board, carry it on-board. Otherwise, leave it home. Travel insurance often will not cover fragile items broken in checked luggage. Placing a FRAGILE sticker provided by the carrier is rarely sufficient to change the way baggage handlers care for bags.
- Carry-on luggage most anywhere: 1 piece (in Europe, maximum weight 7, some airlines 12 kg), maximum size 20x40x55 cm (9x14x22 inches)...in Europe, often 20 inches length.
- Checked luggage on international flights outside the United States: 1 piece, maximum 20 kg (44 lbs).
- Checked luggage on international flights to/from the United States and within the United States: 1 piece, maximum 23 kg or 50 lbs.
- If you're traveling domestically in the United States, keep in mind all airlines (apart from low-cost carriers JetBlue and Southwest and a few regional commuter airlines) charge, e.g., $25 for the first checked bag and $35 for the second. Originally confined to itineraries wholely within the lower 48 states, fees for each checked bag are now assessed on virtually all itineraries that do not cross an ocean: still plan on paying if you're flying to Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, some South American destinations (usually flights to "deep South America" i.e. Argentina, Brazil, and Chile get at least one bag for free.)
- Elite frequent flyers are usually permitted between one and three bags free of charge, depending on airline and tier.
- First and Business Class passengers may be allowed three bags for free.
- Air Canada charges checked bag fees on "transborder" flights to or from the United States. Unlike US carriers, they do not assess bag fees on Canadian domestic itineraries, or flights to Mexico, the Caribbean, or other destinations in the Western Hemisphere.
- Some European low cost carriers (e.g. Ryanair) have no free checked luggage allowance and charge per kilo.
- On any airline, you'll be charged if your bags are over weight or over sized. Low-cost carriers in-particular often have lower limits, higher fees for overages.
The smaller "carry-on space" on regional jets may force you to check an item at the counter, gate or aircraft entrance that you can usually carry on-board other aircraft. Most airlines don't charge for such checking. But this checking creates increased risk of theft if it contains valuables...handlers know that most such pieces do. And on the wrong airline(s), "extra" airline fees can sometimes be punitive. So, if in doubt, check in-advance with your agent or airline about all flights and aircraft types on your itinerary.
Check the packed weight of each "to-be-checked" case before leaving home; it will likely be different from any previous trip. For follow-on or return flights, you might take a hand-scale with you or ask hotel staff at your destination if they have scales.
For checked luggage, every kilo over the limit is paid as some fixed fee or a percentage of the airfare. This can get very expensive.
- As above, weigh your luggage before you leave home (or, at least, before you approach the airport check-in counter). Once you place your bag on the scales at check-in, some airlines will not allow you to take out contents, and even if they do, it's an embarrassing hassle.
- For carry-on luggage, weight is usually only checked at the check-in counter, if at all. Once you pass the check-in, you'll have to look suspiciously overweight to have your hand luggage checked.
- If you were close to the allowed weights outbound, make sure you wear the same (kinds of) clothes back home. If you go to a tropical isle wearing jeans and jacket, and return wearing flip-flops and shorts, with checked bags holding the heavy clothes, etc., you could have luggage weight problems.
If you know your bags will be definitely overweight but you need to take so much, consult your airline. For a price, it may offer baggage "upgrades" before arrival at the airport for less than excess-baggage fees at the airline counter. Pre-booking excess baggage online can come with discounts.
You might consider shipping luggage as cargo, also known as unaccompanied baggage. Many airports have companies that will arrange this for you, and aggregators like xsbaggage  can find one for you. This has its trade-offs:
- Fees charged can be quite high.
- Your bags will be shipped separately...necessarily a few and perhaps several days earlier. Instead of claiming them at your destination airport, you'll have to arrange collection or delivery somewhere else, e.g., pre-arranged with the hotel where you'll stay. For international locations, you may also need to do Customs declarations/claims for your unaccompanied bags, which can be a hassle.
Tips as you pack[编辑]
For contents of your to-be-checked luggage, pack as much as possible in resealable plastic bags (2-5 gallon except for bottles of liquids).
- They will greatly help security inspections and repacking your luggage. And they'll protect contents if your checked luggage is exposed to the elements while waiting to be loaded or offloaded at your aircraft.
- Before you seal them, thoroughly press out all air ("burp them"); otherwise, at altitude the bags will burst.
- They are equally useful returning, plus they keep soiled items separate from other content.
- Use burped and sealed, resealable gallon, liter or quart-size bags for bottled liquids in-case bottles leak during flight.
Place heavy items toward the bottom of any to-be-checked bag (as it stands upright), and avoid putting any heavy item in the same bag with anything fragile. Any content likely to trigger a manual inspection should be placed where it will be quickly seen as the bag is opened.
For significant liquid quantities in your checked luggage (e.g., shampoo), choose rugged screw-capped bottles with tops not designed to pop open...even if you must buy them separately and manually fill them at home. Otherwise, use new/unopened bottles of product still sealed, and tape any pop-open cap tightly to the rest of the container as well as the opening. As above, put such bottles in separate, burped and sealed plastic bags to protect other luggage contents. If you are weight-constrained and can conveniently purchase such items at your destination, consider buying them there rather than packing them.
Never put any kind of unprocessed film in checked luggage. Any existing exposed images, and any ability of the film to be later exposed, will be completely and permanently destroyed by the x-rays used in scanning.
Place identification on both the outside and inside of your bag.
- Rugged, well-attached luggage tags are crucial...at least name, address, phone. Those that have a flap to cover your identity are preferred.
- Copies of your trip itinerary inside and in an outside pocket can be equally useful. Pertinent information should include: name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, flight number(s) and date(s) you are traveling, point of departure, aircraft/airline changes, and all en-route/destination airports, hotel names/address(es) and dates/times of stay. This information can prove crucial for airlines or others to locate you or forward your luggage if your tag or the airline tag comes off (called a "tag off") or the luggage gets miss-routed.
- If packing a box, put your name, address and phone numbers in big block letters and numbers on at least 2 opposite sides, plus an itinerary sheet inside. Do not use a return address unless you are shipping something as air freight. Checked luggage should have only ONE address.
If an airline loses bags, it will often lose one rather than all (except for major delays and flight cancellations). So distribute clothes and other necessaries for everyone in your group among all the bags you have. Delayed baggage coming in on a later flight is far more common than truly "lost" baggage (over 24 hrs.) Take a color photo of all your checked baggage so you won't have to verbally describe it. This is especially important where language barriers might be a problem. Lost and delayed luggage is more common if you depart from a larger airport than a smaller one. This includes any transfers, but the size of your arrival airport doesn't matter. Non-stop flights also help minimize the chance of luggage hassles.
- As a last resort, airlines can search a worldwide database of the contents of bags that have been misdirected...based on passenger declarations of contents at lost-luggage offices. They do not catalog each item inside a bag, so declare one unique, easily-seen item in your bag to help the airline find it.
- All the more reason to place copies of your itinerary inside and outside your checked bags.
You should consider reinforcing your to-be-checked luggage so it won't break open due to rough handling. Two ways include:
- Tightly applying brightly-colored security straps. Ensure any strap-ends are well-secured/tucked-in so they won't be snagged in handling. The colors will help you find your checked bags at baggage claim. Otherwise, consider customizing the outside of your checked luggage with brightly-colored tape/ribbons/etc. so bags don't look the same as hundreds of others at luggage claim.
- In major airports, you may find a luggage-wrapping service. If so, for a fee, they will wrap any piece of luggage in multiple layers of clear, tough plastic sheeting. (Such wrap is not permitted if your baggage will go through U.S. and some other countries' security screening; they must be able to quickly inspect contents manually.) Wrapping occurs before you present the luggage at the airline counter to be checked. So, make sure the weight of the wrap doesn't make the item overweight. Also make sure your name tag is clearly visible...preferably outside the wrap.
If the number of your outbound checked bags doesn't reach the limit, and you know you want to purchase items for return, consider packing a soft bag in your checked luggage. You then use it to pack unbreakables as an extra checked bag for return.
The probability of having items stolen from your luggage is very low. But it does happen. Lost or pilfered bags or items can be quite serious for you, especially as you begin a long or important trip. Other discussion about luggage tags & printed itineraries help avoid misrouting. A few steps can help deter damage and thieves.
All bags passing through airports receive either electronic or manual security inspection, perhaps both. If you're not sure about all airports you'll use, consult your agent or airline for details. All checked bags to/from or within the US receive electronic scanning at least once. This is also common within nearly all developed countries. As noted above, for security/protection of film:
- Electronic scanning of checked bags usually includes x-rays strong enough to reveal objects in relatively thick luggage. Those rays will ruin any unprocessed photographic film.
- Electronic scanning of carry-ons uses low-power, less damaging radiation. Unprocessed film may not be damaged by one or a few such scans. But repeated scanning may cause some fogging. Professional film photographers often pack film in pouches designed to protect it; when seen, the pouches often generate hand-checking, but most examiners have seen them before.
If any bag needs to be manually inspected, it must be opened. If locked by other than approved locks for that country (e.g., by TSA for the U.S.), inspectors must cut or break them (and perhaps the zipper-pulls they're applied to) to get inside. If you will check hard-shelled luggage with "built-in" locks, consult the airline or your travel agent for usability.
- After manual inspection, bags are re-packed and re-secured by inspectors, with your lock, your luggage strap and/or a strong plastic tie joining the zipper-pulls, all so that later tampering becomes difficult. If so tied, you'll need a knife, finger nail clippers, scissors or such to cut the tie after claiming the luggage. Put one in an outside pocket of a checked suitcase - the "rules" allow them there.
- You may see such ties as you claim your luggage. If contents were manually-inspected, you'll often see a paper inside to that effect when you first open the luggage.
You may also be directed to check one or more bags (that you expect to carry-on) at the ticket counter, aircraft gate or as you step board. Reasons can include:
- You've over-packed one or more of them, or have too many. (On budget and some international airlines, this can involve a major fee.)
- Part of your journey is on a regional jet that lacks in-cabin space to store them properly. (May also involve a fee.)
- If after you've boarded a full-sized plane, the cabin staff realizes that no more in-cabin space is available. They will then make the "dreaded announcement"...that those not yet seated must allow nearly all their carry-ons to be taken to the hold; they will receive special tags. This shouldn't apply to carry-ons you can fit completely under the seat in front of you (if there is one).
Because carry-ons are much more likely to contain valuables, they are more subject to thievery. You should lock them (or be ready to) anytime after passing the personal security check. If not practicable, snugly applied luggage straps will generate complexity for thieves. You'll usually claim all checked luggage at the regular baggage claim; for smaller aircraft you may have gate-checked carry-ons returned as you depart the aircraft.
Some travelers take extra precautions with checked bags...at non-trivial costs:
- To quickly locate their bags at luggage claim, they may fasten flashers/beepers to the outside that they can trigger by a device they carry.
- Others may place GPS tracking devices inside their luggage that indicate its location...helpful if lost or misrouted.
Items to wear on board[编辑]
In-flight cabin temperatures can be unpredictable and may vary during flight. Experienced flyers dress in layers that they adjust to need for comfort.
- For cabin comfort, you might use a soft jacket for warmth or as a blanket or pillow, especially since such items may not be offered on-board. The cabin wall can get quite cold from outside temperatures; if you have a window seat, you'll need something for insulation against the wall...even a few sheets of newspaper can help remarkably. Warm socks/slipper-socks can be useful especially if you wish to doff your shoes on a long flight.
- To/from disparate climes
- When leaving a cold country/region for a warm one, consider leaving major winter wear with friends if they'll take you to the airport and pick you up on return; this can also lighten your luggage.
- For travel to a cold region from warm, carry at least a lined jacket; it might be some time before you gain access to warm clothing in your checked baggage.
- Airplane interiors may not be cleaned as frequently as you'd like, especially on budget airlines. If important to you, consider wearing something in-flight that you can doff soon after de-planing, to clean it later.
- If traveling for business, don't put all work wear in checked bags. If any goes missing, you should have one complete outfit between what you wear on-board and your carry-on luggage...to conduct business well-dressed despite trouble with checked bags.
In general, it is no longer necessary to call the airline to reconfirm flights, as reservation systems are fairly reliable. Instead, just check the reservation online (see the next section) and call the airline only if there are problems.
The main exceptions are when you are flying way off the beaten track on an airline that doesn't (or looks like it doesn't!) do computerized reservations, especially when there won't be another flight for a week. Off the beaten track in Indonesia, for example, it's wise to reconfirm not just once but twice — although you may still get bumped off if a VIP and his harem show up at the last minute.
It's always good to double-check that your itinerary is still correct before you fly. Not only can you check that everything is order, but also you can see whether any waitlists have cleared, flight times have changed, your special requests are properly recorded, etc. Most major airlines offer several convenient routes for checking, such as website, smartphone app, and telephone. Check in good time, as in case of flight cancellation or overbooking an earlier flight may still be available. If your carrier makes any changes to the itinerary they or your agent will try to contact you but they may not reach you in time. There are a number of online services that allow you to check reservations; however, you'll have to figure out which reservation system was used to do the booking. This is usually printed at the top of your itinerary, but if all else fails you can always ask the agent.
- Though Worldspan also offers such information, it now is accessible only to those with a valid Worldspan server installation, and ready to use ID and GDS for sign-on.
Low-cost carrier flights often will not show up in these systems.
In cases of terrible weather (e.g. blizzard, fog) or recent airport closures, get in touch with your airline before you leave home to see if your flight will push through as scheduled or if it is delayed or cancelled. If your flight is cancelled and you have been put on the waitlist for a future flight, don't come to the airport until you have received confirmation from the airline that you will be able to fly on the flight for which you are waitlisted. You should check occasionally to learn of any progress.
To board your flight, you'll at least need an airline boarding pass, paper ticket (if you were issued with one), and certainly and some form of government-issued photo identification (perhaps less for toddlers). If your flight (or connecting flight) takes you to other countries, you'll also need a passport, often with an expiration date at least six months after the date you start the trip. Depending on countries you'll fly to or make connections in, you may need one or more visas. Check in advance with your agent or airline; without all the necessary documentation, your trip may be at risk. The credit card used to purchase the tickets may also be required to be presented for verification, so bring that as well.
Any authority looking at airline tickets, boarding passes, passports or other identification will examine names carefully. TSA and other security authorities often require that key papers precisely reflect your full name. This applies to all persons in your travel group, e.g. spouse, children. This starts by making sure that whoever books your trip accurately enters each full name on the reservations and later-generated tickets.
Have convincing documentation that all medications belong to you, e.g., labeled bottles, copy of the doctor's prescription. (Take no more than will be needed on your trip.) If any med contains a controlled/narcotic ingredient, make absolutely sure you will not violate any law of any country you'll enter, even as a through flight passenger. This may include having the country's written permission to carry the meds within its borders. Otherwise, the consequences can be severe, e.g. immediate confiscation, possible imprisonment, and even execution in a few jurisdictions if quantities are substantial.
And if you bought travel insurance, bring something describing the coverage, policy number and how to contact the insurer wherever you are.
一些航空公司和车站提供了多方式来办理登机手续。例如新加坡航空公司允许你使用自助服务亭、短信、手机应用或在Marina Bay Sands酒店办理登机。德国汉莎航空公司也提供短信办理登机手续。如果使用服务亭，你可以输入信息、刷卡或扫描你准备好的二维码来快速办理。