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Eight Tips to Prepare for Smooth Air Travel

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If you’re planning to take to the skies for a business or leisure trip, it’s important to take the time to plan ahead and get organized to enjoy the best possible experience. Follow these helpful tips the next time you’re preparing for air travel so the experience goes as smoothly as possible.

1. Pre-Select Seating Preference
When you book your tickets, go ahead and choose your specific seat. This is the best way to make sure that you get the type of seat you prefer in the location within the plane that best meets your needs. If you don’t choose a seat ahead of time, you’ll end up getting stuck with whatever no one has chosen, which will likely be among the least desirable spots on the plane.

2. Don't Rely on Airplane Food
No-cost in-flight snacks are not the norm on many domestic flights any longer. For short flights, snacks may not be available at all. For longer flights, snacks or meals may be available but the selection is limited and prices can be high. If you don't want to eat a full meal in the airport before you take off, pack a few factory-sealed nutritious snacks in your carry on luggage so you won't be starving by the time the plane lands.

3. Prepare for Popping Ears
It is not unusual to experience the discomfort of popping ears during air travel. If you think you might experience this problem, be sure pack gum in your carry-on to chew on during the trip. Chewing gum is still one of the best – and easiest - ways to keep ear problems at bay during a flight.

4. Pack Sound Protection Devices
Ear plugs or noise cancelling headphones are must-have carry-on items for air travel if you want to make sure that you’re able to tune out ambient noise, crying children or chatty neighbors. If you opt for headphones, they can serve double-duty for music listening or enjoying in-flight entertainment.

5. Follow Carry-On Size Restrictions
Check your airline’s website before packing to confirm exact carry-on luggage size options and pack accordingly. According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), for most airlines, the carry-on cannot exceed a total of 45 linear inches (the combination of height, width and depth), though some have specific maximum measurements in each direction. Personal item size restrictions also vary by airline.

6. Review Current Carry-On Content Restrictions
Before heading to the airport, make sure that you have not packed items in your carry-on luggage that you are not allowed to take on the airplane. Review the current Transportation Security Administration (TSA) prohibited items list before each flight to know what either has to go in your checked luggage or stay at home and stick to the requirements.

7. Be Aware of Baggage Fees
While it used to be the norm to be able to check one bag at no cost when traveling by air, that is no longer the case with most airlines. Verify your airlines specific policy and fee schedule before deciding what and how to pack. You won’t want to be surprised by unexpected baggage fees when you arrive at the airport.

8. Use Advance Check-In Feature
To save time at the airport, utilize your airline’s website or mobile app to check in for your flight and print our download your boarding passes before leaving home. This can help keep you from having to stand in long-lines at the check-in counter when you arrive at the airport. You’ll be able to do curbside baggage check-in (if you are checking bags) and go straight to the TSA screening line.

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