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15 Airplane Hacks That Will Make Your Trip Easier

15 Airplane Hacks That Will Make Your Trip Easier

Most content online focuses on travel hacking as it relates to saving money on travel. While cost savings is always a key goal, there are numerous other flight hacks that can make your trip more enjoyable.

I’ve compiled all my best flight hacks from before you ever arrive at the airport to landing in your final destination. Let me know what the hardest part of travel is for you so I can include solutions on this list.

Making a trip go smoothly is especially important since you spend so much time saving for and planning it. Don’t leave your time in the air to chance. Use these tips to make your time comfortable and easy.

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flight hacks for easier trip

1. The Best Time to Book for Cheaper Flights

When you’re looking to snag the cheapest flights, timing can make all the difference. The adage about booking flights on Tuesdays for the best deal is outdated. Today, it’s essential to set alerts with flight search engines like Google Flights or Skyscanner.

Be Flexible with Your Dates

To unlock cheaper flights, maintain flexible travel dates. Fare alerts can notify you when prices drop for your chosen destination. For the best ticket price, consider one-way tickets and sometimes choosing flexible dates can reveal surprising discounts, especially if you can fly on weekdays.

Set Price Alerts

Stay ahead by setting up price alerts for your travel dates. These alerts will update you on price changes for direct flights to your destination. Remember, error fares can happen, so act quickly when a cheap airfare deal emerges.

2. Packing the Ultimate Carry-On Bag

Achieving efficiency with your carry-on bag isn’t just practical, it’s an art. Flight hacks are all about maximizing your space and organizing effectively. Here, you’ll learn how to pack like a pro, ensuring your essentials are accessible and your travel experience is smooth.

  • Packing Cubes: Use these for organized, compressed packing, making more room and simplifying unpacking.
  • Wear Bulk, Pack Light: Layer up with bulky items and pack only essentials to free up bag space.
  • Gadget Strategy: Opt for earphones and e-books over bulkier options and protect devices with cases.
  • Smart Packing for Toiletries & Clothing: Choose dual-purpose clothing and travel-sized toiletries, opting for multi-use products to save space.

These flight hacks ensure your carry-on is both efficient and compact, keeping essentials accessible and maximizing your travel experience.

packing hacks for a good flight

3. Using Credit Cards Wisely

Leverage credit card rewards to earn free flights and first class upgrades. Sign up for cards with travel rewards programs and use accumulated points to book flights. Always pay off your balance to avoid debt and select cards that offer travel perks which match your bank account’s spending habits.

Partner with the Best

  • American Express: Known for their travel rewards.
  • Credit Card Companies: Build a relationship with one to get the most out of your points.
  • Diversify: Use cards that earn the most based on your spending habits.

Begin using these flight hacks and you could be booking your next getaway or upgrade before you know it. Make your travel more rewarding by maximizing your credit card benefits.

Safeguarding Your Credit Score While Travel Hacking

4. Navigating Flight Booking Hacks

Use incognito mode when booking flights to ensure you're seeing the freshest fare rates. Airlines and booking websites often track your searches and flight prices may increase based on demand and on your browsing history. By using an incognito window, you're more likely to avoid these dynamic price hikes and find the best deal.

Remember, while this method is widely suggested, it's not a guarantee for lower prices. However, combining it with other flight hacks, such as flying mid-week or during off-peak seasons, can maximize your chances of finding a good deal.

5. Gifting Your Way to a Better Flight Experience

You might be surprised how many different ways flight attendants can make your flight more pleasant. They can serve you food first, bring you extra snacks, move you to a more private seat if there is empty space, and give you swag from the airline.

One way to get in their good graces is to give them a thank you gift. We have made goodie bags with airplane bottle openers, candy, and $5 Starbucks gift cards. Wait until you are in your seat and then ask how many flight attendants are working in your section.

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6. Choosing the Right Seat

Avoid the discomfort of a middle seat by selecting your seat as soon as your flight booking is confirmed. If you're unable to choose a seat during booking, check back frequently or set a reminder to select your seat at the earliest check-in time available, ensuring a more comfortable trip to your final destination.

In situations where a middle seat is unavoidable, make the most of it. Engage in conversation with seat mates, you might meet someone interesting. Use flight hacks such as bringing a portable seat cushion to enhance your comfort, or a lumbar support pillow to protect your back.

Adopting these strategies will not only help you secure a more comfortable seat but they may enrich your overall flight experience. Remember, a great way to ensure a pleasant journey is by proactively choosing the right seat.

choosing the right seat as flight hacks

7. Beat Jet Lag

Adjust Your Sleep Schedule

Before you fly, gradually shift your sleep schedule. If you're heading east, try to sleep earlier; if westward, a bit later.

Strategize Light Exposure

Light influences your body's circadian rhythm. Expose yourself to daylight at strategic times: bright light in the morning if you're traveling east or in the late afternoon if heading west.

  • Morning Flights: If possible, choose flights that arrive in the morning, so you're encouraged to stay awake through the day.

Stay Hydrated

Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your flight. Dehydration can exacerbate the symptoms of jet lag.

  • Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine: Both can disturb sleep patterns and contribute to dehydration.

Incorporate these flight hacks into your routine to help minimize the disruptive effects of jet lag. By preparing your sleep schedule and managing light exposure, you can adapt more quickly to new time zones. Remember, proper hydration is key.

Travel Hacking 101: An Introduction for Beginners

8. Perks from Frequent Flyer Programs

Earn Points

Accrue points for every flight, which can be redeemed for upgrades, hotel stays, or even free flights.

Priority Boarding

Your frequent flyer status can grant you earlier boarding, ensuring you have ample overhead bin space for your carry-on luggage.

Also read: Utilize These Frequent Flyer Secrets to Always Travel in Luxury

flight hacks to priority boarding

9. Global Entry and TSA PreCheck

If you're a frequent traveler, making your way through airport security efficiently makes all the difference. Global Entry and TSA PreCheck are valuable flight hacks for zipping past the usual bottlenecks. Here’s how to leverage these programs for a smoother journey.

Global Entry is your shortcut in international travel. Once approved, you’ll enjoy expedited clearance upon arrival in the United States. Remember, approval requires a thorough background check and an interview, so plan ahead. The $100 application fee covers you for five years, and many travel credit cards offer fee reimbursement.

TSA PreCheck is a boon for both domestic and international flights, providing you with faster security screening. No more removing shoes, laptops, or liquids from your carry-on. It's less invasive and quicker. TSA PreCheck requires a background check as well, with a fee of $85 for a five-year membership.

Apply for both programs using these tips:

  • Initiate Early: Start your application well before your next trip to allow for processing time.
  • Credit Cards Help: Check if your card offers the application fee as a perk.
  • Check Your Status: Use online tools to monitor your application's progress.

Incorporating these flight hacks into your travel routine will save you time and stress, making your airport experience much more pleasant. Maximize these programs, and your travel savvy will have you breezing through airports with ease.

10. Smart Luggage

When planning your next trip, consider one of the top flight hacks: investing in smart luggage. High-quality, multi-functional luggage can transform your travel routine. Choose bags with built-in USB ports for charging on the go and look for designs that feature multi-directional wheels for easy maneuvering. Smart luggage often comes with built-in scales to avoid overweight fees, making them a prudent, long-term investment.

11. Long Layovers? Turn Them into Opportunities

If you find yourself faced with a long layover, see it not as time wasted but rather as a bonus destination. With a little planning, you can turn this interval into an adventure and capitalize on flight hacks. Here's how to make the most out of your long layover.

Lounge Access

With a long layover, access to an airport lounge can provide a comfortable space to rest. Use your frequent flyer status or consider a day-pass.

lounge access for long layovers

Venture Out

If the layover is long enough, consider exploring the city. Always check visa requirements and the distance from the airport to ensure a stress-free return for your next flight.

Airport Facilities

Modern airports are more than transit hubs; they're mini cities packed with entertainment. From duty-free shopping sprees to yoga studios and spas, you can find ways to pamper yourself and pass the time.

Make it a Mini-Holiday

With a free stopover policy, airlines like Emirates or Icelandair encourage you to extend your layover and explore their home city. This could be an opportunity for a mini-vacation without the extra cost of flights.

Your layover can become memories instead of just wasted time. With these tips, you're equipped to make every hour count and add more stories to your travel diary.

12. Stay Connected

Pre-purchase Wi-Fi Plans

Some airlines offer discounts on Wi-Fi if you purchase before boarding.

See also: Complete Guide to Using a Cell Phone on a Plane

wifi flight hacks

Join Frequent Flyer Programs

Membership may include complimentary or discounted Wi-Fi access.

13. Dining Aboard

To ensure a better dining experience, pre-order your meal. This often guarantees you get your first choice, which can be similar to the offerings in business class. Proactively contacting customer service ahead of your flight can also alert them to any dietary restrictions or preferences, ensuring a more personalized travel experience.

14. Creating Comfort in Your Own Zone

For a tailor-made in-flight zone, invest in noise-canceling headphones, a great way to immerse yourself in your own cocoon of comfort. You can also bring an ergonomic pillow or a soft blanket to enhance your seating comfort, turning your economy experience closer to that of a higher class without the upgrade cost.

15. Communication

If you have a tight connection or your current flight was delayed causing reduced time between flights, I've got one word for you, communication.

Being able to access internet when you land will be a huge plus for navigating the new airport and having access to any flight updates. You will need access to your boarding pass and gate number ASAP.

Depending on what airport you are connecting in, getting on wi-fi can be a nightmare. This is why getting local SIM cards and installing them en route is always your best option.

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The second core element of ensuring your able to get on your next plane is communicating with your current flight attendants. Let them know your situation and ask them to allow you to de-plane first.

You know that as soon as a plane arrives at the gate everyone immediately stands up. The flight attendant can announce that they all stay sitting while only you stand up and rush off to your next gate.

making friends with flight attendants

Globetrotting Made Easy

Embracing flight hacks can revolutionize your travel experience. With these strategies, you're equipped to navigate the skies more affordably and comfortably.

Adopting these tips ensures you're not just reaching your destination, you're also crafting a journey that's as stress-free as possible. Safe and happy travels!

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  • Veronica Hanson

    Veronica Hanson blogs from whatever country she happens to be in at the time, currently she's hanging out in Japan. She's been living as a nomad remote entrepreneur with her family since 2020.

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