There was a time when air travel was considered a real luxury and only people who had money (gained legally or illegally), could afford a trip.
Those quaint 50- to 70-seater aircraft with huge propellers, often resting tilted, were few and far between. People who flew in these often received VIP treatment on their way out or way in.
Friends and relatives would throng the airport, some mere sheds, with garlands to send off or welcome their traveller.
It was very thrilling to say the least. The anticipation, the spotting of the flight, the landing and eventually your man or woman on the top of the stairway would culminate in much handshakes and smiles around.
That idyllic scenario is now consigned to old films. Today, airports are busier than a railway station and travelling by air has become very common.
At the same time it has also become a nerve-wracking exercise which may eventually lead you to seek solace in the mountains.
From entering the crowded airport, to painful security checks and scrutiny, all these are tailored to will tire you endlessly. There are rules and regulations and more rules and regulations to follow.
So here are a few tips to ease the pain somewhat but results are not assured due to the fluidity of the situation:
Quick Fix: Even seasoned travellers get a bit nervous before flying. So get drunk the night before, get a hangover and travel. Nothing can perturb you. Don’t misbehave though with the staff or else you will be caught out.
News: Don’t read about any air crashes or watch about it on telly. You will be besieged with nightmares if you do. And please don’t look up the history of the airline you are travelling in for any accidents involving them.
Weight: Weigh your baggage after packing at home then minus 2kg from it to get the correct weight and avoid arguments with the bullheaded airline staff. These airline chaps have weighing scales that are so sharp that they display the weight absolutely correctly to the dot.
Silence: Silence about the exact time and date of the trip must always be a secret. Else friends and other relatives may have parcels for you to carry. The small parcels usually assured by them often turn out to be huge and weighty. Once committed, you cannot refuse.
Checking In: Before leaving home, always check passport, visa and date and time of travel. The latter is very important as a flight departing 0005 Thursday or any other day can cause confusion.
Scanner: Dump all the stuff in your pocket, including wallet, keys etc into your handbag or laptop bag to avoid unnecessary questioning during scanning.
Security Check: Be kind and polite at all times but be firm if they harass. Put on a tough front and they will do their jobs.
Immigration: There is always a chance that you may get a rude immigration officer on duty that treats you like a criminal. Talk to the point, don’t get nervous to his questioning and remember there is always an officer above him if he causes unnecessary problems.
Boarding: If you have hand baggage, then hover around the boarding desk and show athleticism and deft footwork to get to the front of the queue. You don’t want be seated on row 20 and your luggage on the rack of row 2.
Seating: Avoid window seats unless you are on a long journey. Else, you will have the head of the man on the center seat on your chest and his leg closing in on yours. And you can’t use the toilet either because to get there a bit of gymnastic skill would be required.
Religious Books: Only God can help you if you reach this stage.
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