David and I are flying off on holiday on Sunday for two weeks. We’re so excited especially as we will be seeing my sister and her family. I haven’t seen them for nearly two years as they live in USA. My brother in law is from Barbados and that’s where we will be meeting up!!! We’ve never been to Barbados so our excitement is increasing by the day.
A few days before
I don’t know about you but the few days leading up to a holiday are always hectic. There’s so much to think about and remember.
- What to pack? Will the clothes all fit?
- What luggage to take – a large or medium-sized suitcase?
- What is the maximum weight we can take for each passenger?
- Are we both going to carry cabin/hand luggage on board the aircraft?
- Should we order a taxi or drive to the airport and use the long stay car park?
- Can we/ should we check in online?
- Do we need to print off our boarding passes beforehand?
- Should we change our money to the local currency before getting to our destination or could we simply withdraw money when we’re there from the ATMs (Automatic Teller Machines)?
On the day of departure
There is always the mad rush to the airport as we close the house up while the taxi waits for us. Most airlines require you to arrive at the airport 2 hours before departure time. If you have an early flight like 0650 and you need to check in at 0450, that is no fun at all. Luckily our flight is at 1040 so our check-in time is at a civilised hour.
A lot of airlines now have e-tickets rather than paper tickets so all you need is to show the booking reference when you arrive at the check- in desk. In a lot of cases you can check in online which means that when you get to the airport you simply check in your hold luggage (not to be confused with hand luggage).
You have to ensure that your hand or cabin luggage fits the size requirements of the airline, otherwise the airline will not allow you to take the luggage on board. You will have to check it in as hold luggage instead which can be a nuisance especially if you don’t have a lock for the bag.
Many airlines now allow you to select your seats from their website. You can choose an aisle, window or middle seat. My husband prefers an aisle seat which always means that I end up in the middle seat. This is always the case with the long-haul flights where the aircraft seating is divided in rows of three – four – three. I prefer the window seat as it allows me to curl up against the window and sleep. Alas, he always wins because he is very tall and needs to get up to stretch his legs during the flight.
My husband would prefer it even more if we could secure the emergency exit seats where the legroom is much more generous. However, in order to get those seats we need to arrive at the airport extra early and book them at the check- in counter.
After the check- in clerk has gone through the necessary security questions about who packed your bag and if you have any dangerous objects in your luggage, he or she prints off a boarding pass which will give you the boarding time and gate from which to board.
If you’re leaving from a UK airport, going through security can be a long process particularly in the summer. However once you’re through security, Duty Free Shopping awaits you!!!! That’s always my favourite part of the day of departure (other than arriving at my destination of course!). I love trying out the different fragrances on offer.
David, in the meantime, will stand in front of the Departures Board waiting for our flight to be called. As soon as it is, he insists that we head for the boarding gate immediately. Once at the gate and passports and boarding passes have been checked, he waits impatiently for us to board the plane. Once on board and the hand luggage is safely stowed away in the overhead locker, he is happy and ready to enjoy his flight!
I want to thank my fellow trainer, Vicki Hollett for giving me the idea for this post. Her fabulous new video on Airport Check-in gives you the language you need to help you understand the questions that you could be asked at check-in.
In the meantime, I will leave you with this song aptly entitled “Whoa! I’m Going to Barbados”. It was released in 1975 by a group called Typically Tropical. It captures perfectly how I feel.
Even though I will be on holiday, I plan to continue writing my blog so don’t go away!!!!
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Ciao for now