My love/hate for the airport process in 8 points.
Before I write-away, can I just say that I find it incredibly awkward 'greeting' people in written posts. I mean, I just feel like it makes me sound like a... I mean, makes me sound rather 'pretentious' (because using the word d-bag would be rude). So from now on, no more "hello you wonderful blog followers" I'm just going to dive straight past the 'polite' greeting and write. K. Cool. An airport might be my favorite place in the world. No matter which country I'm in. The hello and goodbyes. The excitement and heartbreak. Airports hold diversity together and that's what makes them beautiful. On the other side of beautiful there is a process, which to make it a smooth and comfortable ride, you all need to know about.
- WEIGH YOUR BAG. You're about to leave the house, excitement in your voice and your bag is oozing with your travel essentials (which no doubt you laid out on your bed before packing so that you could get you classic hipster travel photo for Instagram). In and amongst all of this buzz, save yourself airport embarrassment and make sure your bags are NOT overweight. You don't want to be the person holding everyone up at check in/bag drop because you forgot to check the bag allowance for your flight! The airline website will be up to date as to how much you can take. (Standard allowance is 23kgs & then 30kgs for Emirates.) Again.. You do not want to be this person >>>
- LIQUIDS. LIQUIDS. LIQUIDS. Almost every time I pass through airport security, someone either behind or in front of me is being stopped for liquids in their carry on luggage. This security rule has a lot to do with 9/11 terrorist attacks which my dear friends, was pretty much 14 years ago. We've all had enough time to wrap our heads around the fact that ALL liquids go into a plastic/clear little bags, & each item shouldn't be over 100 ml. Ps. If you're travelling through countries like the US & UK these rules are taken VERY seriously. Be prepared!
- SECURITY IN GENERAL. If this wasn't obvious, don't say the 'B' word in an airport. Couple years back a friend of mine was returning home from college in America so we went to meet him with homemade signs at the airport, one of them read "You da bomb" ... we decided to leave that one in the car and take in the one that said "You da best!" Anyway, it's hard to get security in an airport right because they are always changing the rules. So my advice is to just make it as easy for yourself as possible. If you aren't sure if something is allowed in your hand luggage, play the safe card and don't pack it. While you're in line waiting to pass through security; get out your laptop and iPad, take off any jackets, belts, jewelry & depending what shoes you have on, you might need to remove those too!
- BOARDING PASSES Vital, but also highly annoying. As soon as I put my boarding pass away, I seem to be asked for it again, which is awkward because I then spend at least a minute digging through my bag to find it. So my advice would be, right from the start - pick an easy access spot for both your passport and boarding pass. You're going to need it a few times at security, at passport control, if you're buying anything once you've gone through and of course then when you're actually boarding the plane. Personally I think they should be called everything passes because clearly they hold way more power than just making sure you board the right flight! Getting hold of one of these passport & travel wallets would be a good idea as they are both cute and useful! This one is from a uk based boutique, Aspire Style, which is owned by childhood friends, Sam & Emma.
- RULE: DON'T SPEND ANY MONEY. EVER. This rule only applies to broke-ass-students/backpackers and/or anyone travelling with a weak currency. Airports are renowned to be overpriced. I recently just paid £5 for a small green juice in Dubai airport!! To give you some context, that same green juice is about £2.50 on Oxford Street in London. So unless you're after a massive bar of Toblerone for your bestie because you forgot to pick up a souvenir on your trip, do NOT spend your hard-earned adventure money in Duty Free.
- EXCEPTION TO THE RULE. BUY WATER! If you didn't bring an empty bottle of water with your through security, maybe splurge some of that adventure money on getting yourself one before you board your flight. Although you get free water on the plane, flight attendants don't just lose their patience with people who ask for too many peanuts, but also with those of us who continuously ask for tiny cups of water. So having a bottle with you will solve this problem as you'll only have to ask them to refill it once (or twice) AND the chance of you spilling everywhere is considerably less - yes, this has happened to me numerous times.
- DELAYS. The worst thing is seeing your flight status roll from ON TIME to DELAYED.. or worse, CANCELLED.. If you're delayed, there's nothing you can do but wait. Depending on how many hours you're delayed, ask about food vouchers or if the airline can put you up in an airport for the night. They have insurance for things like this, if you're not sure if you qualify for the freebie, ASK!! If the delay isn't long enough for the above, all I can advise is log on to some free wi-fi, make a grumpy status about being delayed on facebook, FaceTime your folks and get over it because unfortunately there's nothing you can do about it.
- JUST CHILL. When your flight status changes to BOARDING, don't break your neck to get to the gate. Chances are that once you're there you'll wait in line for half an hour before you actually get on the plane. Take your time and remember they cannot leave without you! You'll hear your name on the intercom WAY before they decide to take your bag off the plane & ditch you at the airport. (If you are the one holding up your flight, expect a sarcastic applause as you walk down the aisle to find your seat.) Basically, what I'm trying to say is if you're fortunate to be at the gate and inline right at the start of boarding, then carry on, board the plane & get comfortable. However, if you're still on the toilet when they announce your flight is boarding, just chill, find a seat next to the gate and wait for the line to go down before you try board.
I hope this was helpful in someway, please feel free to give me your feedback in the comments below and be sure to follow Beyond Paper Planes on your favourite social media platform! We're pretty much on it all!
Happy travelling and may you never lose your wander! Ash x