Whether it’s traveling for work or pleasure, get your trip off to a great start by avoiding these pre-flight faux pas.
Not using the lounges
With the numerous airline frequent flyer programmes out there, it can be confusing what membership gets you into which lounge. But there’s no need to register for several; once you enroll in one airline alliance programme you’ll earn and be able to redeem miles across all partner airlines, meaning gaining access to lounges becomes that bit easier. For example, travel on any of SkyTeam’s 19 member airlines and you’ll earn miles to qualify for ‘Elite Plus’ benefits, giving you access to over 750 lounges worldwide. You can even invite a guest to join you as a plus one.
Forgetting to accessorise
Invest in a pack of zip-lock bags and get into the habit of placing your liquids inside before you arrive at the airport to avoid the usual hassle at security. Another recommended accessory must surely be a refillable water bottle. Most airports now have public drinking water fountains, allowing you to stay hydrated without splashing out on bottled water.
Going over your luggage allowance
Double check your cabin and checked baggage allowance before you leave for the airport, and don't forget to factor in extra weight you might be required to bring back. An easy way to avoid getting charged? If you are a member of an airline alliance frequent flyer programme, when you reach a certain tier you can qualify for additional allowance - typically an extra 10kg.
Not organising your paperwork
Air travel requires a certain amount of paperwork, whether it's visas or landing cards. Don't simply stuff the forms given out by cabin crew into your pocket and leave it for later - complete them immediately and place them inside your passport. We don't mean to sound like your mum or dad but always keep a pen to hand, as well as the details of your hotel and the reference number of visas you've already obtained so you can fill out your landing card before the immigration line.
Getting stuck in queues
Queues are a pain, but sadly, they're hard to avoid at airports. However, there are a few things you can do to minimise your time in them. The obvious one is to check-in online and avoid the queues at the desk. Another is paying for priority boarding. However, if you’re well-travelled and have reached the required member status with an airline alliance, you might well qualify for priority boarding for free.
Not working out your route to the gate until the last minute
You've passed through security and you're enjoying your favourite pre-flight meal. You suddenly realise you only have ten minutes to get to the gate, which you then discover is five miles away. Okay, an exaggeration - but you get the point. A top tip? Consult online airport maps such as SkyTeam's handy airport guides available via its app, and familiarise yourself with the layout of the airport in question.
Eating the wrong food
We're not talking about ordering a burger but forgetting to tell your waiter to hold the mayo. We're talking about being mindful of avoiding food which makes you feel sluggish and bloated during flights. Stick with a light meal, with plenty of vegetables, salad and lean protein. Avoid anything fried which takes longer to digest and can cause bloating and discomfort. Eating foods such as chickpeas and lentils will compound the issue.
Running out of charge
We've all been there - you're at the airport, about to send an important email and your phone dies. Always keep a fully charged power bank and a lightning cable in your hand luggage. Also, some computer manufacturers now make compatible portable laptop battery chargers that will charge a laptop when you’re on the move – something worth investing in if your machine is past its peak. Needless to say, keep an adaptor with you to minimise the risk of your laptop dying on long layovers.
Not expecting the unexpected
Cancelled, delayed or diverted flights are an inevitable part of traveling life. But don’t panic. If you find yourself in this situation and you’re an airline alliance member, they should be able to help you out. For example, if you’re flying with SkyTeam then all of its 19 members can help you, thanks to their Rebooking service. This allows partner airlines to rebook customers onto the next available partner flight.
Not logging your points effectively
If you are a frequent flyer, it's highly likely you'll fly with a wide range of airlines. And with a bit of forward planning you can maximise your points and miles and save a ton of money. So before you log your points with an airline sign up to a frequent flyer programme to start earning and redeeming miles that can be used against a wider range of carriers and ultimately get free flights to where you want. It’s worth noting that some frequent flyer programmes, such as those from SkyTeam, allow you to add your miles retrospectively as well.
Find out about the benefits of signing up for SkyTeam frequent flyer programmes to start earning and redeeming miles with all SkyTeam member airlines. No need to register for several programmes, our alliance-wide offer has you covered. Find out more…