Think of all the reasons you might travel on a domestic flight: an exciting weekend getaway to visit somewhere new, or maybe a business trip for that all-important face-to-face meeting. Whatever the reason, flying today is mostly about convenience, a way of getting from point A to point B.
Domestic airlines in Australia do a wonderful job of getting us where we want to go and, while some of the little conveniences that airlines used to provide may have disappeared, there’s no reason why your next flight can’t be a hassle-free and enjoyable experience. Consider taking these 10 essential items with you on your next domestic flight for a smooth journey.
Let’s start with the essentials. These are items that can make or break your trip.
Luggage– Unless you want to get hit with some potentially expensive baggage fees, be sure to only take the amount of luggage that is allowed under your fare type. Each fare type has an allocated baggage allowance, and exceeding this could cause added expense and a delay at check-in. Make sure to place your name and contact details on each bag in the rare event they go missing.
Travel documents – Get through check-in and security quickly and effortlessly. Have your travel itinerary and driver’s license or passport ready for inspection and keep your boarding pass or mobile device in a safe but handy spot for when you’re ready to board. Take note of the seat number on your boarding pass and be prepared to show it both at the gate and when entering the aircraft.
Toiletries and Medication – Small, travel-size toiletry items are always good to have on hand, especially when stuck in a middle seat between two strangers. Having some tissues, chewies or lollies, lip balms or any other necessary items in your cabin baggage will go a long way if needed.
Medications should never go in checked luggage. Always keep your medication and any prescriptions with you in your cabin luggage. This way, treatment can still be administered in the event of a delay when checked bags can’t be readily retrieved from the cargo hold, or if they go missing in transit. The same goes for car and house keys. It’s always best to keep these items in your carry-on luggage in the rare event that your checked baggage doesn’t make it on the flight with you.
Now that the essentials have been covered and the contingencies have been planned for, what about the little ‘desirables’ that help to make a flight just that little bit more enjoyable? Here are some items that travellers may want to consider bringing with them in order to pass the time.
Pen or pencil – How often have you been caught without a pen or pencil? It happens more often than you think and while there may not be immigration forms to fill out on a domestic flight, there could be many occurrences when a pen may be useful – even if it’s just for the word and number puzzlies in the in-flight magazine!
Reading material and personal entertainment – There’s nothing like a good book to help pass the time. A personal electronic device such as a tablet or mobile phone helps too and many airlines today offer in-flight entertainment such as movies and TV shows through onboard Wi-Fi systems. Just download the airline’s entertainment app to your phone or tablet and voila, you’re ready to enjoy a wide range of programming. Be sure to remember your headphones.
Head rest or airplane pillow – Next to a book or tablet, nothing makes the tight and narrow economy seat more relaxing than a contoured airplane pillow. Perfect as a head and neck rest, these cushy comfort items offer a level of support for when you’re ready to close your eyes and get some rest. Oh, and it also prevents your head from falling onto the shoulder of the person sitting next to you.
Food and beverage – Even on airlines that do serve a complimentary “meal”, the typical muffin or shortbread cookie often does little to satisfy. If you’re one of those travellers who can’t bear to spend a few hours on a plane without eating, you're best to take a little snack or personal picnic lunch with you. Airport food can be quite expensive, so consider packing a little something from home.
Jacket – Some flyers can wear shorts and flip-flops on a plane and never get cold, but if you’re like me, I usually freeze. No matter where I sit, cold air seems to blow on the back of my neck from some constant but mysterious source. For that reason, I always bring a light jacket or hoodie. On the rare occasion that I don’t need it. I simply fold it up and place it in my carry-on bag. Chances are you might even need it at your destination on those cooler days.
Games, books for children – It’s not always easy for children to sit in a seat for a sustained period of time, so if you’re travelling with young kids you may want to bring along some favourite toys, books or tablets with movies loaded and ready to go for entertainment – with headsets, of course. As a general rule, keep the kids away from sugary foods and drinks before and during the flight to prevent sudden bursts of energy. There’s little room on a full plane to expend that energy burst.
Patience – Let’s face it, busy airports, full planes and tight connections are a recipe for anxiety and stress. But with a little forward planning and some patience, even long flights can be enjoyable. Many of us today take flying for granted, but next time consider the art and wonder of flight and take notice of the amazing scenery afforded from above the clouds. That is definitely something we can all appreciate. Enjoy your flight!