I had been in an airline's operation line before and have a couple of friends in the aviation industry. The happenings behind the scene are fascinating, surprising and sometimes can be shocking. These 10 essential knowledge teach you what to observe and practice, so that you will not at disadvantage.
1) Dress Up!
Make an effort to dress well for your flight, like what you did for your first date, If your flight is overbook on the economy class, the airline will do upgrades for their frequent flyers first, followed by the rest. How they choose the remainings to upgrade usually depends on the physical appearance.
Yes, this is judgmental, so do 90% of the world population. Remember what happened to Oprah Winfrey when she got rejected by a sale assistant to view a handbag in Switzerland? It is always good to dress up anyway. You get better treatment, more attention and a new #OOTD post on Instagram.
2) Be Elegant Yet Friendly
Would you rather give a better treatment to someone who is nice to you or someone who only knows BMW (Bitch, Moan, Whine). Be nice to the cabin crews on board and other airline service ground staff, unless their attitude are getting on your nerves. Be elegant yet friendly. They will see you differently, treat you with more respect and remember you. They will go extra miles for you if you get into trouble(e.g late for a flight) or maybe get you a free upgrade next time. Otherwise...
3) Know Your Numbers Well
Instead of sweating and shaking in the taxi when you are stuck in the traffic and late for your flight, you should try calling the airline's airport office to let them know your situation. They may be willing to take the risk, get yourself check-in for your flight in advance before you reach and escort you all the way to the boarding gate when you have reached. Hence, it is useful to save their number before you travel.
4) Snatch The Best Seat In Advance
Be ready and stand by at your computer. Online check-in is the best way to get your preferred seat for free, especially when you fly on the economy. Online check-in usually opens 72hrs to 24hrs before your flight. If you are willing to pay an additional fee, most airlines sell their emergency exit seats through online or reservation line. You can always try your luck for these hot seats upon check-in.
It is easier to get your preferred seat if you are in the sliver/gold tier or equivalent in the frequent flyer programme. The airline will do a courtesy block next to your seat. Send in your seat request in advance,especially for bulkhead(just right in front of a wall partition) or emergency exit seats.
5) Always Bring Your Credit/Debit Card.
Sometimes your airline may request you to present your credit/debit card that you used for transaction for verification purpose. Due to fraud cases and other issues, this practice has become quite common. If you fail to present it, you may be asked to do some paper work or even have you to pay a full sum for your ticket again, depending on the airlines practice. Hence, always have it ready to save you the hassle and the "pleasant" surprise.
6) Know Your Rights: Delay Compensation
If your flight delays for more than 2 Hrs, your airlines will usually compensate your time loss by issuing meal vouchers that you can spend it in the airport. They may also offer you to another routing to your destination or transfer to other flights on other airlines. Accommodation should be provided for prolonged overnight delay, subjected to terms and conditions.
When you are flying into or out from an European Union(EU) country , you may receive ADDITIONAL momentary compensation ranging from 250Euro to 650Euro. That is almost 1/4 or 1/2 of the price of your ticket! Click here for more information.
7) Have A "Cheap" Luggage
If you intend to put your new 1000Euro Gucci bag into your check-in luggage, think twice my dear. Airlines are protected by the Warsaw or Montreal Convention. Their liabilities are limited, so do the compensation for your baggage.
Hence, I advise you not to have expensive items in your check-in luggage. Your luggage can get lost or stolen.
8) Use The Right Luggage
After carrying so many heavy luggage, would you drop or rather throw the next 25kg luggage or gently place it on the floor? Now you know what is happening behind the scene. Choose a luggage that is durable, instead of checking-in your bag pack or Louis Vuitton bag. Even a Rimowa luggage can receive some dents or cracks over the time. Keep your receipt for your luggage and always check your luggage for damages before you leave the conveyor belt.
Ensure your luggage is using TSA lock as the airport security has a key to unlock it. Otherwise, they will cut the lock to open it. The airport security has the right to open your luggage to conduct security check. It is usually done selectively and randomly.
9) Give Your Luggage/Baggage An Hidden Identity
Before you check-in your luggage, write your personal contact details and put it inside your luggage instead. In case your luggage is lost and cannot be traced, you will be able to retrieve it one day. The airline personnel usually open the luggage if its not identified. It is not advisable to have your personal particulars hanging outside your luggage as it may be misused.
10) Check Your Seat
If you realized your blanket is not given in a plastic cover indicating that it is sterilized, please request for a new set immediately. They are reused from the previous flight. Cleaning may be briefly done especially for a short turnaround flight, coming in from originating country, where the cleaners have less than an hour to clean the whole aircraft.
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