Last updated: 09:00 AM ET, Fri March 18 2016

Common Air Travel Tips: A Reality Check

Airlines & Airports | Chris Owen | March 18, 2016

Common Air Travel Tips: A Reality Check

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

No offense to the well-intentioned folks who share their secrets with the world or agencies that compile lists of advice, but some of the tips about flying we see in print and online just don’t make sense. In some cases, they are not even safe.

In the end, thinking beyond the attractive tip and into the world of reality just makes more sense.

Bring Boxes Of Candy Or Gifts To Bribe Your Way Into Their Hearts

It’s a nice thought and we may have the very best of intentions, but a box of candy, homemade cookies or pretty much anything edible given to a crewmember for any reason is most likely going in the trash. Why? What if those delicious delights were laced with a bit of something as simple as syrup of Ipecac, that over-the-counter medicine parents keep on a high shelf in their home for years, just in case one of the kids swallows something awful to make them throw up? Not a good scene. Fast forward to now, couldn’t a terrorist get their hands on something worse? 

A better idea: Thank them for keeping you safe in the air; their primary responsibility that often goes overlooked.

READ MORE: 8 Tips For A Faster And More Enjoyable Flying Experience

Check Your Seat And The Surrounding Area For Personal Belongings Before Exiting The Aircraft

On the surface this sure makes sense. We don’t want to get home and find we left our smartphone on the plane. That would be dumb, right? True, but the time to check for that is before the aircraft begins its final descent. Smartphones are one of the most common items left behind as passengers deplane. Why? When the aircraft lands and the pilot hits the brakes, they go sliding. We look around before exiting, see nothing left behind and logically assume we have all our stuff. Maybe not.  

How to be sure smartphones and other important flat items like passports make it home? Have something with a zippered compartment that never leaves you. A travel vest, backpack or purse with a place for things we travel with all the time takes care of that. An even scarier loss that happens from time to time: also-flat passports.

Aviation Buffs Can Sweet Talk Their Way Onto The Flight Deck

Partially true, but there are times when all the sweet talk in the world won’t open that door, highlighted by federal law.

First is the Sterile Cockpit Rule, an FAA regulation that keeps pilots focused on the task at hand during critical parts of the flying process, usually taking off and landing. During those times, we really want the people flying the plane to concentrate on doing just that, not allowing someone in there to play with all the buttons and knobs.

While the thrill of the process may be the stuff of dreams come true for fans of aviation, the most likely time to be allowed on the flight deck will be well after the aircraft has reached a cruising altitude.  Most likely to be admitted: kids.

The Flight Crew Will Assist You Getting On And Off The Aircraft

Nope. While the aircraft door is open and passengers are boarding, federal regulations require a minimum number of flight attendants to be on the aircraft.  They can let one off the plane as long as that flight attendant stays within the immediate vicinity of the aircraft.

READ MORE: Five Airport and Airline Secrets and Tips You Should Know

Those people that help handicapped passengers on and off the plane? Not a nice thing the airport does, it’s a federal regulation.

Did I miss any? Readers, what are some of your flying advice reality checks?


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