A Guide to Checking-in at the Airport
Airport check-in is an art. For most holiday-makers it is a stressful, painful experience, especially when travelling with a family. As a backpacker it is your duty to make it a fun part of your trip. There are loads of helpful hints and tips to make sure you get the most out of your airport experiences, so make sure you read this guide.
Airport check-in for long haul is usually two hours before the flight, and short haul is an hour before the flight.
Tips on Airport Check-in
- Get there early to avoid the queues and to get good seats.
- Always ask politely for an upgrade - you never know!
- Always try to get the seat you want (see below) to avoid the middle seat between a flatulent nun and a screaming baby miles away from the TV screen for 14 hours.
- If there are long queues invent or play the ‘people-watching game’ or make your backpack into a comfy seat and read your book.
- No matter what happens, chill. Nothing is every achieved by stressing and having a go at people who can’t change anything.
- If they have over-booked the flight immediately offer to put your seat up in return for compensation. The best we have ever heard was a night in a five-star hotel followed by a First Class seat the following day from Bangkok to London. Let us know if you beat this... unlikely!
Getting the Seat You Want
Things to think about which should help you decide exactly what seat you want:
- Communal TV screen vs. screen in the back of the seat in front. If communal too close is impossible to see and will keep you awake. Too far away means you can’t see it. Ask for at least five rows back. Screen in the seat? Sit anywhere.
- Seats near the toilet get loads of people walking by and a lovely odour, especially after curry dishes are served.
- Window seats are great to lean against and to get the view as you take off/land, but will trap you in.
- Aisle seats are great to stretch your legs out, but you will get disturbed by others wanting to get out.
- Middle seat - avoid at all costs, unless you have a mate you can lean against.
- Empty plane? Get seats at the back, preferably the whole section, so you can make a bed for the best night's kip.
- Front seats and emergency exit seats are always worth pitching for, just as long as you aren’t right in front of a screen - leg room is great.
- Try and pre-book seats if you can from your travel agent.
- If you are over 6’4' you are classed as having a 'disability' and so can claim one of the seats with legroom.
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