I have done a bit of traveling in the last couple years and thought I would post my Airline Travel tips.

1) Be the very last person to board the air plane. This way you can pick any open seat available unless its a full flight.

2) When they announce they are starting to board this is when I head to the can and for a min. Usually take out my Treo and check email or fire off some txt messages. Just don’t fall asleep. You have plenty of time what else you going to do stand and look at the other retards who think its important to board first?

3) Dress for security speed. Wear easy to slip on shoes with socks and no belt. A jacket is fine. Put everything metal in your laptop bag or purse. Watches, moneyclips, phones, everything it makes it really easy.

4) Be respectful of the TSA people. These guys deal with jackasses all day. I always address them as Sir or M’am and that seems to go a long way.

Feel Free to chime in with your airline travel tips 😉

Continuing Travel Tips – If you like this post you might also want to read my post on Conference Travel Tips and Rebecca Kelley’s post on Conference Travel Tips Redux: The Directors Cut.

By Jeremy Schoemaker

Jeremy "ShoeMoney" Schoemaker is the founder & CEO of ShoeMoney Media Group, and to date has sold 6 companies and done over 10 million in affiliate revenue. In 2013 Jeremy released his #1 International Best selling Autobiography titled "Nothing's Changed But My Change" - The ShoeMoney Story. You can read more about Jeremy on his wikipedia page here.

85 thoughts on “Airline Travel Tips”
  1. Right on.

    1> Never take the last flight of the day, how you gonna get home when United sticks it to ya!

    2> In bad weather always take the first airplane out heading towards your home *or* away from the weather. For example, you are in Chicago heading to Richmond and it is snowing. A flight to NYC is bad, a flight to Dallas is marginal, and a flight to Charlotte is great.

    3> Check your d*mn bag.

    I am sure there are more.


  2. Shoe, you are right on and these are exactly the same things I do and have done for years. The other thing I do, drive whenever possible! I can get from Raleigh to central NJ or ATL in almost the same time driving as flying.

  3. I traveled to the U.S. last week and someone almost picked up my digital camera from those little trays that go through the x-ray machine. If I wasn’t looking, it would be long gone. :p

    As far as security and TSA – it went pretty quickly without a hitch. I always wear shoes which are easy to slip on/off while flying somewhere.

  4. If you are traveling not on a direct flight and one of your stops is in UK remember they only allow 1 hand luggage instead of two… so just travel with one in that case and it will save you a lot of problems.

  5. I agree with all of your tips above, really good ones…especially about security.
    Airport security are looking for terrorists and really stupid ignorant people. It’s good to not be one of those. Recently some chick didn’t clear security because she had nipple rings…c’mon people!

  6. Actually, #4 is a great tip for almost ANYONE you deal with.

    If you’re talking to them, it means that their job is to deal with the public, which means that they’re talking to jackasses all day. Be incredibly respectful and polite, and it will get you far.

  7. @Davide: As if it was that simple. Now some airports allow two pieces of hand luggage while others still don’t. Even travelling within the UK is extra interesting now.

  8. >Be the very last person to board the air plane.

    Gotta disagree with you on that one. Maybe it’s cause I fly mostly out of JFK or LGA but being last to board on the plane usually means any luggage you carry onto the plane or jacket you want to put into the overhead bin will end up about 12 rows away from you. Makes it difficult to disembark smoothly.

    Hey what kinda SEO are you, you totally missed the opportunity to link this post to your airport bathroom review post 😉

  9. if you’re in the security line, when in doubt just put it in the basket and walk thru the scanner. it’s ridiculous when people ask if they should take off their belt, shoes, throw change in th ebin… just do it. the time it takes to ask and get an answer is longer than the time it takes to just do it.

    it’s like people can’t understand the simple rule – all metal, unless it’s under skin, goes into the basket.

  10. Umm, given most flights are full these days and checking bags is a nightmare, I would not recommend boarding last. Get on board quick and get your overhead space other wise you will delay yourself on the other end significantly.

    Also, if you are a frequent traveli do upgrade as much as possible. 1st is not what it used to be, but it does give you a free pass around some of the hassle.

  11. haha im the bad seo kind =( I think my perspective is skewed cause I always have to fly on CRJ 200 or the like (very small planes) and always connecting so I always check my luggage.

  12. lol. Nice tips. When recently I was flying for the first time. I was looking for tips. At my forums, every teenager had some or the other tip to give me. It was an awesome experience.

  13. heh see I read your “B seat” post too and without even reading said what is he doing sitting in the middle? I always go C or D (aisle) unless traveling with the family

  14. I’m heading to Hong Kong next week. Going to it up Cathay for a seat upgrade once I get to the airport. Anyone have any luck with that?

  15. Always dress nicely. This doesn’t mean suit and tie, but don’t wear cut off jeans and flip-flops.

    I noticed the one time I dressed down I got “randomly” screened. I’ve flown dozens of times and always dressed nicely (slacks and a dress shirt) without any problems.

  16. Always schedule yourself where you leave at the last possible minute and fly back at the earliest available opportunity. There is always another trip if you want to do more, you gain points with the fam, and look more important to whoever you meet with(lingering travelers look like amateurs or tourists). I am usually asleep before the plane takes off. Sleep is something you can always use more of. Working on the plane is a waste of time. The noise cancelling earphones working pretty well and it is nice to have some music. At a minimum it helps keep the occasional taltkative person sitting next to you at bay. A few sheets to review, magazine, or a book to read when you wake up. A pen with a little paper for any notes. Leave the laptop in your bag. It is clunky anyway. If you drink, save it for the trip home especially if you are meeting with clients when you arrive. Loosen your shoelaces when you sit down( you swell in pressurized cabin ). take your own water (you also get dehydrated). Decline any kind of steak in 1st class it always sucks. Any take a carry on only. schedule a car to pick you up if possible(in many cities town cars are just a few dollars more and definately worth it in NYC whatever the cost).

  17. Your tip 1 & 2 are dumb. Tip 1 – most airlines except Southwest give you the seat numbers, and if you are the last person, you probably have to keep your laptop bag under the seat in front of you, since all the compartments are probably full. Also, if you are the last person, you are probably travelling bitch.
    Tip 2 – why hit the can? Why not send txt or emails right where you are? Plus, you can also do that while you are in your seat, you know you have good 10-15 mins wait at the gate.

  18. If you’re travelling to Australia from the US and you’d like to look around San Francisco for free, then book a day early. I guarantee United will offer you a free upgrade to business and a night’s accommodation in SF in exchange for your seat on the first night. Worked well for me.

    I’m also an early boarder. I boarded late on one flight and my carry-on ended up 19 rows away from where I was sitting.

  19. I guess you could also argue that there is no real rush to get off the plane either, the difference between first and last to get off is maybe 5 minutes total…

    I always have the aisle though, and right as a plane is getting close to landing, I usually go to the overhead bin, if it is far from me, and grab my luggage and stuff it under the seat in front of me. Then it is accessible right away…

  20. The belt tip is the biggie there. Every belt pretty much has metal in it, and it is so natural to wear a belt that I get caught out everytime.

  21. Travelling sucks – and that’s why all conferences should be held on the web via video broadcast.

  22. during intercontinental flights i go to the bathroom so often that a corridor sit is a must move around the plane without bothering anybody

  23. The last time I was the last person to board I was wedged in between 2 passengers that really should have purchased 2 tickets each. I mean they were “oversized”. It was a 4.5 hour flight and I couldn’t move an inch much less use my laptop. Didn’t help that the guy on the left of me obviously had just finished an Italian feast and reeked of garlic…it was literally coming out his pores. Never again will I be the last to board.

  24. I agree with the posted above – if you are carrying on bags you need to get on the plane as soon as possible (assuming you are in coach, and the flight is full).

  25. Gotta love RDU. I like the advice and recommend all of the above. If you fly southwest out of RDU, don’t be the last to board.

  26. If you should travel with EasyJet or RyanAir (Europe), you should want to be first on board, last passengers must sometimes wait for next opportunity.
    By the way – did you hear about Agloco2 ?

  27. wait until the last second to get on the plane. if they don’t tlike it, tell them to **** off…

  28. I usually just dress down and don’t check anything. Even on a 2 week trip, I can fit everything I need in two bags. Make one of your carry on items a backpack. It makes it so much easier to move around and deal with stuff both on the plane and in the airport.

  29. They have those special scanners at some airports that they are testing where they can see through your clothes. They give you a metal plate to cover your private parts if you want/

  30. This gives me an idea…I wonder if it would be possible for me to purchase 2 tickets, or a whole row for that matter, so no one sits next to me to prevent something like this happening. lol

  31. I have a good one, Keep you eyes on your wallet and keys. I once got pulled aside for a more thorough security check after I put my stuff in one of those bins. I then left the security area and was putting on my shoes when a security person walked up to me and handed my wallet and keys to me. Boy I felt like a dummy.

  32. Yea, Iike being closer to the first to board so I can find an overhead bin right above my seat. I hate having to wait for the last guy who boraded to find his carry on when disembarking.

  33. I am always armed with plenty of business cards. If those next to you are in the mood for a chat, you can start talking about business and leave your card with them and write notes on the back. If you have to work in flight though but the dude next to you wants to talk, start talking about Amway or something – shuts ’em up every time.

  34. 5) Don’t wear nipple rings.

    I read a news article about a woman who got stopped by TSA and had to take them out. :\

  35. I always do 1 and 2 as well. I thought I was the only one, seems like everyone else is lining up to get on right away. I guess great minds think alike.

  36. Last to board the plane or not? It all depends, if you are traveling with an upgraded tickets, it’s all good to be the last to board the plane as the fight attendant will most likely be very helpful to find a suitable place for you to store your luggage.
    Also, try to get a seat assigned when booking the ticket or when checking in through the internet (something which should be done as soon as it opens up).
    Traveling a lot? Get a frequent flier card with your most used airline and start enjoying the perks of elite status.

  37. Nice tips, but the second one will be right for any life situation. Just always keep in mind that you don’t must acting like others 🙂

  38. I’ve blogged about quite a few lesser known tips to follow before you get on that plane!

  39. you used to be able to….maybe not anymore with the TSA restrictions. better to just ask the gate agent to block it for you. The will if the flight isn’t full and you are a member of thier freq. flyer program

  40. Have to agree with others about being last on board. I’d much rather get on the plane earlier and have overhead storage right above me. Not to say it’s wrong just not for me.

  41. Normally they don’t want you to pick any seat. The stewardess usually do a seat check so they can tell the pilot how the person load is so they can properly balance the plane for takeoff.

    One tip my boss gave me was to try and pack clothes into your carry on. All the flights I’ve ever been on allow for 2 carry-ons. That way you don’t need to ‘checkin’ your luggage nor do you have to wait at the carousel when you’re done your flight.

    Another tip is when going through customs (this is for Canadians going into the US) when you’re going down to work, just say you’re going down for ‘Business Meetings’ This also works for when you’re headed for conferences and don’t want to be subjected to a bunch o questions. One Custom Official asked me what my purpose was and I said Business Meetings and all he said was: The magic phrase, have a fun flight! I was on my way without any delay! lol

  42. Park outside the airport and get a park and ride to save money. If you do have to get there in a hurry organise a meet and greet, its way cheaper then internal parking. Ideally pre book early on to get the cheapest best place.

  43. Its called a carry on. If you can’t carry it on or feel the need to roll it – check it. Don’t overload youself that as you walk down the asile you take out someones shoulders already sitting in an isle seat. Traveling is time consuming. Being gracious and reasonable costs nothing. I hate it when people feel the need to carry on 2 weeks wroth of luggage. Just check it.

    Its like those aggressive drivers that change lanes and run up on other drivers bumpers only to end up next to you at the stop light anyway.

  44. I try and get dropped off so that I do not have to park and I also try and fit everything in my carry on bag so that I can get in and get out as fast as possible.

  45. If it’s really your Birthday, ask for a free drink. I did on my way back from the Underground Conference yesterday, and actually got it! 😉

  46. Take your laptop out of it’s case while waiting in line. Will speed things up and will not annoy the people around you! I hate when people spend a 30 seconds or a minute talking it out while everyone is waiting for them to get through.

  47. The best tip I learned was not to carry bubble gum lol. I had winter fresh in my pockets and it made them search me for about 10 minutes … That was fun

  48. Some good info. I have used before when I travel….I need to travel more to practice my skills.

  49. Thanks! I’ll see if they will do that. Sometimes when you are on a flight you just need your space.

  50. You know what: the most important in each situation of life is to give esteem to the people you meet, then you’ll get esteem back.

  51. I was just going to make the same comment. I make it a priority never to check a bag so I can move around in the airport quicker (check out onebag dot com for more on this). If you’re last on at LGA or JFK, your bag is going to be miles from your seat. Sometimes they even make you check it, defeating the purpose of just having a carryon.

    Another tip: Ipod video + noise reduction headphones + good movie = quick flight.

  52. That last passenger tip does not work for Southwest on most flights. The cheap fares are great but the cattle calls at boarding sucks.

  53. I SOOOOO disagree with the board late!
    I have only had horrible luck with this one! If ALWAYS go early and ask for bulkhead – lots of legroom and no one sitting in front of you. The few times I have been late I have been stuck in last row near bathroom and people having on to my seat while they waited or in middle of two people.

    If long trip take a change of clothes. At the 6+ hour mark or in the morning, etc I freshen up/wash face/put on moisturizer, and totally change my clothes. Makes me feel less gross and think it MAY help with jet lag.

    I ALWAYS remember to drink lots of water. Makes huge difference. Pack lip balm for long flights.

    If short trip pack everything in carry on and check no luggage.

  54. Agreed. The overhead storage problem is huge. People carry on so many things, and the bags they bring on board are huge. If you’re last on the plane, you’re out of luck in terms of storage.

  55. i dont travel by plane that often but i’ll be sure to remember the tip about what to wear

  56. I agree with everyone who says get on early. I always carry-on because I don’t trust the airline to not lost my stuff, and I certainly don’t trust the baggage handlers to not steal my stuff. So I always get right up front and board first to thwart the people who bogart the overhead storage.

  57. I hate boarding last – no overhead space. Last night, coming home from Las Vegas, I watched 5 or 6 passengers doing the “overhead bag wander” going up and down the crowded aisle looking for an overhead space. Get on early and you have ample room.
    Which brings up another complaint about fellow travelers.
    One bag in the overhead, the other under your seat! I don’t know how many times I have watched somebody shove their rollerboard, laptop bag and coat in the overhead and take up the whole darn thing.

  58. thanks for the tips… im usually the one who lines up first and board the plane first… now i know better.

  59. i always make fun of people who fight to line up first also. makes no sense because the plane takes off with everyone together.

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  61. I like to show up without any sleep so I can hopefully fall asleep on the flight. I have a really hard time sleeping while flying so I either need to be completely exhausted or drunk. 🙂

  62. Being the last to board can be a problem if your carry on is large and the plan is kind of full. Used to board late and put my carry on in the overhead near the front of the plane and grab it on the way out. This way I wouldn’t have to manuver it through the aisle on the way out.

  63. As far as respecting the TSA staff…a smile will get you a long way! I love being able to tell that I’ve brightened their day, and hopefully it will help any snafus I may run into go more smoothly.

  64. You are absolutely right on with your tips. I have actually seen the TSA people get fairly rude back to people who are not very understanding of the rules. It pays off just to do what they say, be respectful, and try to move along quickly and get out of their way.

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