7 Tips for Air Travel Over Spring Break

Through the thick of exams and assignments, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and that is spring break! Soon enough, you may be chilling by the pool and soaking up every ounce of your hometown you can get, or you may be spending your vacay in another paradise away. Wherever your travels may take you, if you are flying over spring break, you might be experiencing a little more traffic than you're used to. If you are among the airport dwellers this travel season, here are some helpful tips to make the most of your flying experience.

Avoid checking a bag if you can

Having to schlep your bags through a crowded airport can be the most annoying aspect of flying. Often, suitcases and backpacks get left behind or stolen in airports. So if you can, check your bags with the airline you are flying with, so you don't have to worry about keeping up with a carry-on. It is best to have one large suitcase to check and then have a small purse or backpack with personal essentials to carry on the airplane with you. Almost all airlines offer two free carry-ons, and some will even offer to check your first bag for free! So basically, it's a win-win.

TSA Pre-Check = your BFF

If you’re prone to running late for flights or just don't like to deal with an endless line of people, TSA Pre-Check might just be your saving grace. Through the $85 Pre-Check program, you receive five years of expedited security screenings through airports. You don't have to remove your shoes, belt or jacket and you can leave your liquids and laptops in their bags. Almost every domestic airport and airline company have opted-in to this program; all you need is your government issued photo I.D. and boarding pass when you arrive at the security check-point. No need to show extra documentation as you will be assigned a Known-Traveler Number that can be linked to your airlines’ rewards accounts.

Sign up for rewards programs

Since you’re paying a lot for a plane ticket already, you might as well get some free stuff out of it! Many airlines such as Delta and American Airlines offer rewards programs that earn you miles or points for flying. After accumulating a certain number of miles, you can redeem them for free plane tickets! You can also earn miles just for signing up for their free programs. Although it will take you a while to get enough miles to redeem, you will get perks in the meantime. For example, Delta's SkyMiles program consists of medallion statuses that offer rewards such as a seat upgrade or priority boarding. The more miles you get, the higher your status rises and the better your flight experience will be! With United’s Mileage Plus program, in addition to free plane tickets you can redeem miles for merchandise such as a Keurig or Beats Headphones.

If you can pick your seat, cherish the opportunity

If you are flying for an extensive amount of time, having a good seat can make your flight more enjoyable. For a quieter and more peaceful flight, pick a window seat towards the front cabin of the plane. Being away from the noise of the engines towards the rear and the comfort of being nestled between the window and (hopefully) somebody you know, can help you drift into a nice nap or ease your nerves. If you have a tight connection between flights, you may want to choose an aisle seat in the front on the left side near the exit door. Some airlines will charge extra for exit row seats because they offer the most legroom, but if you can, try to snag a seat there if you need that extra space.

Bring a neck pillow and blanket

Let's be honest: an airplane seat is the most uncomfortable place for trying to sleep if you are in economy seating. If you plan on sleeping, it is always nice to bring a neck pillow to avoid straining your neck from turbulence. The cabin can also get chilly, so if you plan on wearing shorter pants, it may be best to bring a blanket so you don't freeze the whole time. Socks are also great for keeping your feet nice and warm.

Stand up often

Sitting on a plane for an extended period of time can be harmful on the body, so it's important to stand up and walk around about every hour when it is safe to do so. The window seat can be tricky to get out of if you are in a row of sleeping people, but if you are nice and ask politely, usually they will let you out.

Be nice to the flight attendants

Being a captain or a flight attendant can be a stressful job. They are the backbones for making your flight the smoothest it can possibly be, and frankly, they are underappreciated. Whether you encounter your flight staff while ordering a beverage or getting off the plane, make sure always to say thank you because it genuinely makes them feel more appreciative of their jobs.

As you embark on your journey through the hustle and bustle of an airport, following these simple tips will help make your flight more bearable. Let the spring break vibes begin!