In this episode, B and Jack continue their series about the best airport and airplane tips. They provide the 15 tips as well as provide some general consideration about the topic.
Table of Contents
1.1. The topic within the context of the Digital Nomad Life System
The Digital Nomad Life System is a 6-step meta-system created by us at Nomad Tactics that aims to explain how someone can go from living a non-nomadic normal life to living an optimized digital nomad life.
The sixth step of the system is called the “Departing Process”. This can be understood as the things that the digital nomad needs to do just before and during the period in which he is leaving his current base to guarantee a smooth departure and transition to his next base (the city you are going to). Airplanes and airports are things you will encounter when you are leaving a place. Thus, it makes sense to place this topic here.
To have a general overview of the Digital Nomad Life System you should listen to this episode.
1.2. General observations about the topic
This episode is part of a mini-series, which means we won’t provide all the tips in this episode. Rather we will divide those into a number of different episodes in order to keep the episodes under 20 minutes. Also, keep in mind that the whole thing won’t be in order. I will provide 15 tips per episode that go back and forth on airplanes and airports.
This series is supposed to be a comprehensive list. Thus it is likely, especially if you are a somewhat experienced digital nomad, that you already heard some of these tricks. Having said that I think this can be a good memory refresher and also I am sure at least one or two tips will be new to you since I have come up with this list over many years by talking to different digital nomads, reading blogs, and talking to cabin crew.
Finally, one last thing that I would like to say is that some of the tips here might be considered sneaky by some. We do not necessarily practice or enforce all these tips. Also, Nomad Tactics should not be responsible for your application with the information, it is for educational purposes only. Thus the purpose of the series is to simply provide you with the list and then it is your call what you are ok doing it or not.
1.3. 15 Airport and airplane tips
Ask to be seated in the front of the plane if you have a connecting flight: If you are going to get a connecting flight, you can ask the chick -in person or even the flight attendant to get a seat in the front of the plane. By doing so you will be able to quickly leave the plane in the connecting airport to get the next flight. Usually, the airline staff is ok making this change for you.
Be smart about when to board the plane: The best time to board the plane depends on how busy it is. The way in which you will analyze how busy if the airplane is basically seeing the line in the check-in as well as the number of people in front of the boarding gate. If the plane looks kind of empty you should be one of the last persons to enter the plane. The reason for that is because it will be simply more comfortable for you to stay as little as possible in the plane and because by entering last you will be able to select seats. On the other hand, if the plane looks full then you should be one of the first persons to enter the plane in order to make sure you can put your carry on luggage in a good position (i.e. on top or in front of you) in order to avoid delays when you leaving the plane.
You can buy a pass on the internet to access some airport lounges: We already talked about a lot of different aspects of airport lounges in this series. One last tip that I would like to give about lounges is that sometimes you can buy online from other people single-use airport lounges (e.g. Craiglist). This is advantageous because usually, you will pay less online by buying from other people if compared to buying at the airport lounge entrance.
Use the restroom just before you land: We advise you to use the restroom just before you land. The reason for that is that most people wait to go to the toilet in the airport. But this means the airport toilet will likely be busy and you will need to wait for a while to be able to use it yourself. Moreover, if you decide to go toilet just once you get to the airport instead of using it while on the plane it means you will take a while there. And therefore a lot of people will be in front of you in the immigration. This is obviously bad since you don’t want to stay in the line for long. So the advice here s to use the toilet just before you land.
Screenshot your ticket so you don need to search it: Sometimes we need to present our boarding pass confirmation to check-in. One simple trick is to screenshot the e-mail with the flight reservation. If you simply try to show the e-mail, sometimes you will have difficulty finding it on the spot. And sometimes the content of the e-mail (e.g. pdf file) will not have pre-downloaded, therefore you won’t be able to open it unless you have access to wifi or data. In order to avoid all this trouble, simply screenshot the flight confirmation before going to the airport.
Use a Ziploc bag to hold your phone as a display in front of you: Some people might find this trick a bit silly but if you want to watch something on your phone for a couple of hours, I think it is in fact useful. If you take a budget airline, they probably won’t be providing movies. Also, holding your phone in your hand for hours while tilting your head downwards might be a bit uncomfortable. So one simple trick is to get a sandwich bag put your phone inside it and then attach it to the table in front of you by first opening it inserting the tip of the plastic in and closing it once again. Basically what you do here is to create a support for your phone in order for you to watch it like a tv in front of you.
Use the app Baggify to check luggage allowance: This is an app that gives you all the rules concerning carry-on and checked-in luggage, both in terms of the dimensions and the weight, for many different airlines. The app is really handy since even though there exists more or less a standard for luggage, some airlines deviate from the standard. Thus, you might face a situation where you need to pay a lot of extra money for your luggage if you do not check beforehand the exact rules. The only downside of this app is that it has not been updated in a while and some information might be a bit outdated. Nonetheless, since I haven’t found a good replacement app/service I would still recommend this one.
If you are traveling with a budget airline consider bringing your own food: So most of us like taking budget airlines because of the cheap price. However, if you decide to eat on the plane, most likely you will need to pay. And the catch is that usually, the food in budget airlines is not cheap, because there is no competition. They can get away with it. So the trick here is to bring your own food whenever you take a budget airline.
Be strategic about when you pass security control: Simple trick, yet useful to keep in mind. Whenever you go through security, put electronics on the top of the carry-on luggage in order to quickly take it out and put it back in when you pass the security. Also, another good thing is to wear a jacket with pockets, so you will be able to put everything inside one pocket. (E.g. passport, keys, phone, wallet, etc) So when you pass through the x-ray, you will not forget anything there.
Don’t cancel your non-refundable ticket even if you will lose your flight: Even if you are not going to be able to make it for the flight, you should not cancel the ticket anyway. This is because if you bought the ticket with a credit card, sometimes you will be entitled to get some sort of refund for your flight, depending on the reason why you missed your flight, even when the ticket is non-refundable. But if you cancel your flight, in many instances, you will not be entitled to this compensation anymore. So the tip here is to simply lose the flight but don’t cancel the ticket.
Don’t plastic wrap your luggage: This is a travel tip we got with a follower of the podcast. She told us that if you shrink-wrap your luggage, which simply means putting the tightly packed plastic around your luggage, you risk destroying it if someone from the immigration wants to check what is inside. The reason for that is that sometimes the immigration agent will not take the time to unwrap the shrink-wrap, rather he will simply cut through the whole luggage with a pair of scissors. This is obviously bad news for you since most likely the luggage will become unusable. So the tip here is to stay away from shrink wrap.
Use the Traveldoc website to check the required documents and visa for your destination: This is a service that provides you with information about all the documents you might need when you are flying to a certain country. Many of the airlines themselves use this website, so the information here tends to be very reliable. The service does not restrict itself by telling you if you will need a visa or not to get inside the country. Rather, the service provides you with a much more detailed list of requirements, like the necessity of onwards ticket, other custom forms, covid rules, etc. This service is especially important nowadays due to the Covid rules that spread worldwide.
Use the service Seat Guru to select the best seats on your flight: You probably know by now that the seating arrangements of different airplane models can vary quite drastically. Also you surely already know that there is a big difference when comparing business and economic seats. What you might not know is that the same airplane model might have different seating arrangements depending on the airline you use. For example, in some airlines, an airplane, say an Airbus A380, might have an economic class seating configuration 3, 4, 3, while another airline might use the same airplane model with a different sitting configuration 3, 3, 3. Even lesser known is the fact that there might be a difference in comfort within the same travel class of a given airline. In other words, there might be a difference between the two seats both located in the economic class. This difference in seating will usually have to do with the leg space, degree of decline of the chair, how far it is from the toilet, among other things. Seat Guru allows you to see all these details and consequently allows you to choose the best seats on the plane. The only thing you will need to do to check such information is to provide your flight number.
If you have a delayed or canceled flight, use the service Air Help: With this app, you can get compensation for a delayed, canceled, or overbooked flight. If you submit a claim via our website or app their team will take care of the entire process on your behalf. That saves you the stress and paperwork of claiming by yourself. They only charge a small fee for the whole process. But the best thing of all is that they operate on a no-win, no-fee basis, which means that they do not charge you unless they win your case. That means there are few risks for you and no advance payments are required. The only limitation of Airhelp is that they will not be able to help you in some countries. Whereas in the EU I have personally used and it worked.
Be strategic about getting free business class upgrades: Based on my experience, if you want to get a free upgrade to business class you want to do three things. First thing is to dress up smart. Usually, they will only upgrade you if you have “the look” of a standard business-class passenger. This means dressing slightly smarter than usual. The second thing has to do with being a member of the airline program. It doesn’t really matter how many points you got in the airline as long as you are a member at all, even if you have a higher tier membership like silver and gold perhaps. Third, you need to ask for a business upgrade, but there is a specific way. If you simply go to the counter and say “hey, can you upgrade me for free?” this will very likely fail. The best way to ask for an upgrade, in my opinion, is by first creating some chit-chat with the person at the check-in counter, like asking how are, referring them by their name, etc. After that give your passport and all then you can ask how much to upgrade, kind of implying you might pay for it. After the person says how much you say “Oh, no this is over my budget. But I really wanted to get some sleep on the flight… Can you help me out this time? Can’t you give me an upgrade?”
Mr. B: Hey guys just before we start the episode today I would like to say that today's episode is part of a small series that I and Mr Jack decided to record about the best airport and airplane tips.
Mr. B: I hope you find the series useful.
Mr. B: Hello welcome to the nomad tactics podcast.
Mr. B: Here we provide a complete how-to guide for digital nomads.
Mr. B: I'm your host B. and I'm joined by the co host Jack.
Mr. B: Today we gonna talk about airports and airplane tips part four.
Mr. B: I will start with a quick summary of the episode first me and Jack gonna talk about exactly what is the aim of today's episode.
Mr. B: After that we going to contextualize the topic within our digital nomad life system.
Mr. B: Than we gonna provide some quick clarifications regarding the episode.
Mr. B: And finally we gonna provide fifteen tips to do with airports and airplanes.
Mr. B: I hope you enjoy the episode.
Speaker 2: So hello Mister B..
Mr. B: Hello Jack.
Speaker 2: So as the title of this episode already tells in this episode we are going to provide you with a comprehensive list of all the best tips and tricks about airplanes and airports.
Mr. B: Yeah that's right and we decided to do these as a many series which means that we won't to provide all the tips in this episode rather we will divide into a number of different episodes five or six perhaps in order to try to keep the episode under twenty minutes or thirty minutes let's see.
Speaker 2: I think as usual we should put this topic into our digital nomad life system and for people who don't know what the digital nomad life system is it is a six step system aims to help people going from a nonnomadic lifestyle into a optimized digital normal life so Mr B where would you put this topic into which step of the system.
Mr. B: So as you can probably guess today's topic going to be placed on the departing process step and this departing proces step can be understood as all the things that a digital nomad needs to do just before or during the actual period in which he's leaving his current base to guarantee a smooth departure in transition to his new base i.e. a new city in which you're going to be living in so of course replaced this topic within this step of our system because airports and airplanes is something that you're going to deal with when you are departing from place to go to the next place it's quite obvious there.
Speaker 2: Yes so Mister B. before we go into the the exact tips as usual I think you have some clarification you wanna make.
Mr. B: Yeah that's right so just a few quick things I'd like to say in today's episode we're going to provide fifteen tips but there is no let's say logical order for when I'm presenting those so perhaps I'm going to start with an airplane tip and I'm going to go to the airport there and then I'm gonna go back to an airplane tape so don't try to see a coherence in the order of things.
Mr. B: Another thing I would like to say is that as Mr Jack said the aim of this mini series is to provide you with a comprehensive list it's very likely especially if you are already someone can experience digital nomad that you already heard some of the things that we are about to say having said that this can be let's say a good memory refresher if you are an expert nomad perhaps you heard about it before but kind of forgot and now you're gonna recall those.
Mr. B: But also I think that we came up or we research some very unique things that I haven't seen many people talking about online so I'm pretty sure that in every episode there will be at least one or two tips that we will be new to you even if you are an experienced digital nomad because in all this list I gather over you know quite a long period of time.
Mr. B: Either by talking to different digital nomads reading blogs within each and some of those I got by talking to cabin crew which are kind of the experts on area one could argue finally one last thing that I would like to say is that we're going to provide a lot of tips and some of the tips that we might mention might be consider a little bit sneaky by some people so you know people differ on terms of the kinds of things that they are okay doing or not so I just would like to make it very clear that we at nomads tactics do not necessarily practice or endorse all of the tips Nomad tactics should not be responsible by the application off any of the information provided in today's episode because today's episode is for educational purposes only.
Speaker 2: So the first tip you wrote here is asked to be seated in the front of the plane if you have a connecting flight.
Mr. B: If you're getting a connecting flight you can either ask the person at the check in counter or even the flight attendants once you board the plane to be seated in the front by doing that you will be able to quickly leave the plane once you get to the connecting airport therefore you will dramatically reduce your chances of losing the connecting flight.
Mr. B: Usually in my experience if you ask anyone from the airline nicely they will most likely re accommodate you to date preferred seat in the front of the plane Speaker 2: next tip you wrote here is be smart about when to board the plane.
Mr. B: So the best time to board the plane typically depends on how busy the flight is.
Mr. B: And the way in which you can check or analyze how busy certain flight is is basically either you're gonna look at the check in line to see if there are many people or also you can simply look at the amount of people in front of the gate just before the boarding starts so in my opinion if the plane looks kind of empty the best thing for you would be to be one of the last persons to enter the plane and the reason for that is because by being one of the last person's number one is kind of more comfortable you're going to be able to you know stay outside a little bit longer and because nobody wants to stay in the plane if they don't need to and perhaps more importantly if you are the last person to board the plane you gonna be able to check which seats are available and perhaps select an alternative more comfortable seat on the other hand if the flight looks really full Than I would suggest you to be one of the first persons to enter in the plane if that's a possibility in your specific flight at least.
Mr. B: And the reason for that is because you want to try to place your carry on luggage in a good position and the good position it's generally place just on top of you are in the place just in front of you What you want to avoid is to place your luggage in the seat behind you because by doing that sometimes you're gonna need to allow everybody to leave the plane and then you can walk backwards in the plane get your luggage and just after that you're gonna be able to leave the plane so in order to avoid these extra delayed deboarding you should be really mindful about where you're going to position your carry on luggage whenever the flight is full
Speaker 2: So the next tip here is sometimes you can buy a pass on the internet to access airport lounges.
Mr. B: So we already talked about a lot of different aspects of airport lounges in the series but assuming that you don't have free access to this lounges through your credit card one last tip that I would like to give you about airport lounges is that sometimes you can buy online from other people single-use airport lounge passes and the websites that usually you can find those are like Craigslist.
Mr. B: This is advantageous to you because usually you gonna pay much cheaper to buy a this single use airport lounges that you can find online if compared to when you actually go to the airport lounge and you pay to get inside.
Mr. B: So the next tip here is use the restroom just before you land.
Mr. B: So the reason why we advise people to use the restroom before landing instead of using the restroom once you get to the airport is because if you wait to go to the restroom in the airport most likely it's going to be kind of busy so you're gonna need to wait for a wide since a lot of people going to do that but the problem is that if you take this time in the toilet you gonna allow a lot of people from the airplane to go in front of you in the queue of the immigration therefore in order to optimize the whole process and go through immigration faster my advice here is to use the restroom just before you land and then once the plane land you go straight to immigration and probably you won't have any quene since you know you're going to be one of the first persons to get there
Jack: so the next tip here is use the App baggyfy to check airline luggage allowance.
Mr. B: So we already talked about this app Baggify back on episode number twenty-three.
Mr. B: And the basic idea behind the app is that baggify allows you to see all the rules both in terms of dimensions of the luggage as well as the weight concerning carry on luggage and checked luggage for many different airlines so the app is really handy because by using it you can simply check the specific luggage regulations for the given airline in which you're traveling with and therefore avoid paying a lot of extra money for luggage that do not conform to such regulations.
Mr. B: So next to tip here is make a screenshot of your ticket so you dont find that.
Mr. B: So sometimes when we are checking in to a given flight you gonna need to present your boarding pass or you yuor reservation.
Mr. B: One simple trick here is to screen shot the email with the flight reservation.
Mr. B: And this is because if you simply try to find the email sometimes you might take a while because you know you get so many emails and it's not that easy to find and even worse sometimes the reservation is within an attached file to the email like a PDF file and you won't have internet.
Mr. B: The problem is you won't be able to open such attached file as I said like a PDF file and therefore you won't be able to show the confirmation so in order to avoid all these possible problems you should scream shot whatever confirmation you got before you get to the airport
Jack: so the next tip here is it Ziplock bag to hold your phone.
Mr. B: So some people might find this trick a little bit silly but if you want to watch something on your phone for a couple of hours say a movie I think it's in fact a useful tip so let's say you're taking a budget airline.
Mr. B: If that's the case is very likely you won't have the screen in front of you would like your private display or TV also holding your phone for hours as you tilt your head down words might be kind of uncomfortable if you do that for so many hours so one simple trick that you can use is to get a ziploc bag the conventional ones that you can put like a sandwich or nuts and put your phone inside.
Mr. B: Then you're gonna get the ziplock bag attach it to the tray to the table in front of your seat the way in which you're going to do that to simply opening the tray slipping the plastic the tip of the ziplock bag in and then closing it again and then you're gonna have like the Ziploc hanging in there it's going to be like in front of you like a little TV.
Mr. B: I know that this might have sounded a bit too abstract so what I'm gonna do is to put in the show notes exactly the position in which I am suggesting you to put the ziplock bag
Jack: So next tip here is use the travel talk website to check the required documents and visa for your destination.
Mr. B: So this is an extremely useful websites that provide you accurate information about the documents you might need when you're flying to a certain country.
Mr. B: And the most impressive thing about the website is that it does not restrict itself by telling you if you need a visa or not to get inside the country and the visa specifics.
Mr. B: Rather the services provide you with a much more detailed list of the required documents such as if you're gonna need an on words tickets if you gonna need to fill any other custom forms the specific Covid rules for the country and which sort of documentation you might be required to provide yes so check the service travel doc it's an extremely useful and reliable service
Jack: So the next tip here is if you are traveling with a budget airline you should consider bringing your own food or snack in order to avoid extra cost.
Mr. B: So most of us like taking budget airlines because it's so cheap however if you decide to eat in the flights from a budget airline most likely you're going to need to pay for your meal and the catch is that usually the food in budget airlines is not that cheap of course they have no competition so they can get away with any price they set.
Mr. B: So the trick here to avoid paying for overpriced food is simply bring your own food or snack whenever you are flying with a budget airline.
Jack: So the next step here is use the service Seat Guru.
Mr. B: So yes it Seat Guru I recommended in a previous podcast episode I believe was episode twenty-eight.
Mr. B: And seat guru basically is a service that going to tell you exactly how the seat configuration in a giving airplane model is so say in the airbus three hundred eighty in the ecomic class the seating configuration might be three four three And in another airplane model he might be three three three so it's kind of hard to know in the specific flight that you're getting and how it's going to be the seating configuration so what seat guru does is you gonna simply input the information about your flight so the flight number the departure city and destination city and then they going to show you the specific airplane seat map in which you're going to have for your plane in there it's gonna provide you suggestions of what are the best seats and the worst seats for you to select
Jack: So the next tip here is be strategic when you are passing through security control.
Mr. B: So this is a very simple trick yet useful in my opinion whenever you gonna go through security control you should always arrange luggage in such a way that your electronics like your laptop your iPad stuff like that is on the very top of your carry on luggage therefore you're going to be able to access those to take out for them to check in the X. ray and then put it back in very quickly.
Mr. B: Another good tip here is to be wearing a jacket with many pockets therefore you gonna be able to take everything out from your pants pockets like your passport your phone your wallet keys whatever.
Mr. B: Put in the jacket and by doing that you gonna make sure you not going to leave anything in the tray you're not going to lose anything finally one last thing that you can be mindful about when you're passing through security control is the type of shoes you are wearing so you should look for shoes that you can take off and put back in very quickly it shouldn't be shoes with like very complicated set of laces or stuff like that perhaps a Chelsea boot would be just great.
Jack: So the next tip here is do not cancel your non-refundable ticket even if you can make it on time for the flight.
Mr. B: So this step might sound slightly counter intuitive but what I'm advising you here is that even if you not going to make to your flight for whatever reason say a medical reason or family problem or you simply got too late you didn't track time you know you're not gonna make it.
Mr. B: You should not go to say the airline website or call the airline and canceled the ticket this is because if you bought the ticket with a credit card sometimes you will be entitled to get some sort of refund for the flight depending of course on the specific reason why you missed the flight.
Mr. B: Even if the ticket is non refundable but the problem is that if you cancel your flights with the airline in many instances you will not be entitled to any more for such compensation by your credit card so the simple advice here is that you should simply lose the flights not inform them and call your credit card to see if you can get any sort of compensation for that depending on the specific reason for why you lost your flight.
Mr. B: So the next step is provided by one of our listeners it is do not plastic wrap your luggage is.
Mr. B: Yes this is actually a new tape for me but I did some research online and it's an actual thing and the tape here is that you should not plastic wrap your luggage and buy plastic wrapping a simply means when you put that really tightly packed plastic around your luggage that is very common to see in airports and the reason why the you might destroy your luggage by using this plastic wrap is because sometimes the immigration agent will not take the time to unwrap the plastic in a very gentle manner rather he will simply get Caesar's and cut through the hold luggage if that's possible and this is obviously bad news for you because once someone cut through your luggage it's not going to be very suitable to use anymore so the advice here is to simply stay away from plastic wrapping your luggage.
Mr. B: So next imperious if you have a delayed or canceled flight use the apt your help.
Mr. B: So yeah air help is an extremely useful app that can help you get compensation for a delayed cancelled or overbooked flight.
Mr. B: In the way in which the app works is you simply submit the claim by a day apple or the website in their team will take care off the entire process to get the compensation on your behalf that's going to save you a lot of time and stress and paperwork and to do this whole process they going to ask for a fee but the best thing about that is that it operates on a no win no fee basis which basically means if they do not get any compensation you're not going to need to pay anything to them that means very little risk to use since there is no advance payments they only cavea it's about their help is that it's not going to help you all across the globe it kind of can only help you if your flight was delayed or cancelled or overbooked within certain places I have used personally within the E. U. and it worked for me sell try out this app so alas to appear is be strategic about how to get free business class upgrades.
Mr. B: Based on my experience if you want to get a free upgrade to business class they're really only three things you can do to try to maximize your chances.
Mr. B: The first thing is to dress up in a smart manner according to some flight attendants final.
Mr. B: Usually the person on the counter we will only operate someone if they have the quote unquote look off a standard business class passenger and this simply means dressing slightly smarter than most people in the plane right so usually people use some very comfortable clothes when they're taking a flight but perhaps if you want to try to go for an upgrade you should consider dressing slightly more formal.
Mr. B: The second thing you can do in order to maximize your chances off upgrading to business class.
Mr. B: Is to make sure you are member at the specific airline program from the airline in which you are flying this means thank you for taking Thai airlines you should be a member at the Thai airlines program.
Mr. B: And it doesn't really matter how many points you got proof the airline as long as you are a member at all even though perhaps if you are from hi your membership tier like silver or gold or whatever name they given the airlines it might be slightly easier but the point here you should simply register to their program because they want to operate people that are their customers so yes make sure you are registered their third thing you gotta do in order to try to maximize your chances to get the business operate is simply asking to the person in the check in counter.
Mr. B: But there is a specific way in which you should go about doing that because if you simply go to the counter and say Hey can you operate me for free to the business class.
Mr. B: Very likely this will fail the best way in which I have found to sometimes get free business operates is by you know going to the check in counter creating some chit chat with the person there you know just like basic stuff asking how are they referring them by the name simply being a slightly more pleasant person then day average passenger and then what you gonna do is to actually ask how much it is to operate for business class and by doing that you're going to be kind of implying you might pay for they operate once you ask how much of course the the person in the check in counter going to tell you the price in most likely it's going to be pretty expensive what you gonna say next is basically all in all that's slightly above my budget I really wanted to get this business class because they want to get some sleep perhaps can you help me with that this time could you perhaps give me a free upgrade.
Mr. B: N. you know there's no guarantees it's up to the person there and it's depends if they have free upgrades to give or not but in my experience by going this way by being more indirect and first implying that you might pay out of your pocket.
Mr. B: I think you are more likely to get a free upgrade I see so this sums up the fifteen tips about airplanes and airports this is the and the Febreze so please make sure to leave a review on your list on the platform this is checked thanks for listening.
Mr. B: Thank you very much.
Mr. B: The.
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