This post is an entry into the Virgin Australia Competition (@virginaustralia) in conjunction with ProBlogger (#pbevent).
Have you ever wondered why some people get more help from Airline staff?
Over the years as a passenger on a variety of different airlines I have picked up some travel flying tips.
Let me share with you what I have learnt to help you get the most out of your next flight.
1. Be Polite & Show Respect
From the moment you make your booking to the time you have collected your bags at your final destination remember to be polite. Showing respect by saying please and thank you can get you that little bit extra help.
Wear a smile, no one wants to help or even be around a grumpy snappy person. If you have been polite from the outset and something goes wrong then the Airline staff will help you in preference to the grump. By the way the Airline staff also have the ability to make a notation in your booking if you have been particularly unkind.
It’s all about having the right positive mindset before you even start.
2. Get Organised
About a week before you fly ensure you have booked any extras you may need like: special meals (including children’s meals), wheelchair, or assistance through the transit lounges. It is too late to ask for these once you get to the airport.
Choose your wording carefully when asking for assistance, Airline staff are not porters and most Airlines do not permit their staff to carry bags or children. However they may be able to help with pushing a pram whilst you wrangle with the toddler and bags. Larger airports can organise a buggy to take you to your next departure gate.
Make the most of on-line check-in and ensure you get the seats you want prior to getting to the airport, saving you time, disappointment and frustration at the check-in counter.
I know your bag is supposed to end up at your final destination with you, however sometimes baggage gets misplaced. Help the airline to reunite you with your bag as quick as possible. Add personalised luggage tags with your name and phone number. I also think it is a good idea to include a copy of your itinerary in the front zip pocket (that’s not locked) of your bag just in case all bag tags come off; providing lost luggage staff with not only your name but where your bag is supposed to be.
PS remember Point 1 – stay polite, the lost luggage staff didn’t lose your bag they want to help you.
3. Be Prepared
When packing your suitcase check the weights before you leave home, compare them to your ticketed allowance, if you can’t find it on your ticket refer to your Airline’s website. Thinking you can argue for a few extra kilos is not going to get you anywhere. It is the same rule for all the passengers. Also remember for Occupational Health and Safety laws individual items cannot weigh more than 32kg.
The last thing you want to have to do is repack your bag at the check-in counter having your undies out for all to see, holding up other passengers as they roll their eyes, and the check-in agent glares at you.
In addition if you have extras like a pram and/or car seats again check you allowances. Fold down all protruding parts and if wheels can clip off, then take them off and put the whole lot in a pre-purchased bag from a baby retailer.
The last thing you want is a damaged pram on arrival for your holiday. Whilst the Airline does it’s best to store your pram safely during the flight, help them to keep your items as safe as possible.
4. Pack to Entertain
Be physically prepared for the flight. Anybody who has travelled with kids will tell you – pack snacks and activities in your hand luggage for the kids, no matter how long the flight.
Whilst full service airlines will do their best to provide child’s meals and children’s in-flight entertainment, it may not always be suitable for your child. Remember it is an aircraft, they cannot carry every conceivable choice, take your own child’s preferred snacks and activities.
If you are travelling with a discount carrier you will just have to pack a bit more and be aware of their rules regarding bringing food and drinks on-board.
Also don’t forget yourself. Pack a book, magazine or e-reader. Sometimes the in-flight entertainment systems don’t work. If this happens remember Point 1 – be polite and tolerant, the flight attendant did not break it, but she/he will do their best to try to fix it. In the meantime you will have something else to keep you entertained.
5. Check your Presentation
The last thing to do before leaving home is – check your personal grooming.
Have a shower and use deodorant, it can be a long flight with many people crammed into a confined environment. Be kind to those around you, body odour is not attractive to anyone: staff or fellow passengers.
Dress smart casual and for comfort, being mindful of the climate at your final destination. You don’t have to over do it with a suit and tie or stiletto heals, just dress as if you were going to your friends for dinner. But not like you are going clubbing later. No-one want’s to see your underwear or more; and a final note mini skirts are an absolute no no they will ride up to your waist the first time you try to search for comfort during the flight.
By the way, for various reasons Airlines may offer an upgrade to Business Class; a major consideration for staff when choosing a passenger – grooming and attire.
6. Arrive Early
Arrive to the airport at least 2 hours before departure. Allow time to park your car and get yourself checked-in and through security without being flustered.
Being at the airport early allows you time to sort out any issues you may have en-counted with the on-line check-in, like not being seated together or as I experienced when flying with Singapore Airlines – not being able to check-in my child with the on-line check-in system. We arrived with plenty of time and the ground staff were able to easily solve the problem.
Plus if you have booked special assistance you will need to allow sufficient time for staff to help you.
Lastly don’t forget before boarding prepare yourself for the flight: go to the toilet and attend to your baby and children.
7. You are Not the Only Passenger
As you board the aircraft take stock there could be 300-500+ passengers on your flight.
Be mindful that the airline industry in Australia is controlled by CASA and they do not tolerate bad behaviour or threats. Airline staff will have no hesitation in calling ahead to have the aircraft met by Federal Police to escort you away.
Prior to departure the cabin crew are busy making sure that the aircraft is safe for take-ff. If you have a request ask politely and add “when you get time”. If they know you are not pushy they will help as soon as they can.
Once the aircraft is up in the air the crew are preparing everyone a drink and something to eat. This is not the time to bother them with “can you hold my baby” or “please heat my baby milk/food” . Just because you paid an airfare does not entitle you to a personal butler. However the crew will be more than willing to help you after food service.
If you know your baby/toddler will be hungry early in the flight take something that does not require heating (pre-packaged food and/or formula with room temperature water). Also take all your own utensils for your baby or toddler.
Finally remember that the crew are not a child minding service/kids club – your child is your responsibility, if the crew has time to give you a break from your child they will offer.
Basically getting the Airline staff to help you is all about helping them. Have a respectful attitude not one of entitlement, be organised, keep your cool when things go wrong, and remember you are on an Airline asset worth $320 million with professional staff attending to you – try to enjoy the experience.
Have you got any more tips for helping the airline to help you?
*DISCLOSURE: this post is an entry into the Virgin Australia Competition (@virginaustralia) in conjunction with ProBlogger (#pbevent).
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