Airports, flying and immigration queues: travel’s dreaded inevitable.

What would a travel blog be without a quick “handy hints” for the airport & flying experience? From start to finish, it’s all about knowing what you’re in for…

You may have to stand on a set of scales at check-in.

Decoded, this request means you’re going on a really small plane. Don’t panic. You still have a small window of opportunity to abort mission and buy a kayak. You do value your own life, don’t you?

Some airports have different security scanning isles for males and females.

This isn’t always as obvious as you may expect. Poor signage, foreign writing, lady-boy cultures and your general travel haze could see you lining in the wrong isle for far too long. Stay alert and look out for any hints.

Overbooking a plane is common.

Due to the excessive number of people missing flights or doing a no-show, many airlines have made the economical decision to overbook by a few seats. What happens when everyone turns up? An announcement is made at the boarding gate that sounds something like this: “Ladies and gentlemen, flight MX34 scheduled to depart Cancun at 3:50 is overbooked. We need 5 passengers to come forward and take the next available flight, which is at 6:50 tomorrow evening. We will arrange transportation, meals and a nights accommodation at the Rio Palace.” It’s not like you wanted to leave anyway, right?

Boarding is a balancing act.

If you’re on first, you’re simply extending the time you’re trapped in that tiny chair. If you’re on last, the whole plane gets to watch on you as you awkwardly try to maneuverer your kitchen sink into an already jam packed overhead compartment. Board somewhere in the middle.

You may not be able to use a debit card on board your flight.

While most planes have those handy, portable EFTPOS machines (that somehow work in the sky?), you can’t always select an account other than credit. If you’re a debit cardholder, contact your bank to see if selecting the credit option will still process. If the answer is no, you may wish to have it set it up. This will come in handy when off the plane too.

Just because you don’t require an entry visa, doesn’t mean you won’t be handing over cash on arrival.

Though most people know this, it still seems to cause widespread hysteria. Before you rush off to your local currency exchange and request a small stash of dollars, yen & euro “just in case”, remember – airports have ATMs! And rest assured, if immigration wants your cash, they’ll be more than happy to assist you in accessing it. Have you ever heard of someone being shipped back home because they didn’t have 48.5 US dollars on them?

Immigration officials aren’t going on holidays. Stop expecting them to match your momentary zest for life.

Stamp, sign. Stamp, sign. Stamp, sign. It’s a tough gig. And watching you bounce in, beaming with happiness, holding 3 bottles of duty free liquor and sporting a “Hang Loose! Hawaii” t-shirt is only rubbing salt in the wound. Forgive them if they seem a little bitter.

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