4 Ways to Reduce the Stress of Flying

Photo (cc) by MattHurst

A new survey of air travel habits shows a lot of passengers are jerks – although fortunately not the majority.

Franchise firm Travel Leaders Group asked more than 850 consumers what they would do in a variety of in-flight situations. The responses ranged from kindly to passive-aggressive to, well, just aggressive. What would you do in the situations below?

If a nearby passenger won’t turn off his cell phone?

  • Call a flight attendant to handle it – 34.3 percent
  • Say something directly – 27.1 percent
  • Sit quietly and say nothing – 23.9 percent
  • Not sure – 14.7 percent

If a child passenger behind you kept kicking your seat?

  • Say something to the parent or child – 62.8 percent
  • Call a flight attendant to handle it – 10.2 percent
  • Sit quietly and hope the parent stops it – 9.7 percent
  • Ignore it – 6.7 percent
  • Turn around and glare at the parent or child – 6.1 percent
  • Not sure – 4.5 percent

If a couple asked to switch seats so they could sit together?

  • Gladly move without question – 44.7 percent
  • Move if it was not to a middle seat – 27.2 percent
  • Move if it was to an aisle seat – 13.6 percent
  • Not sure – 6.4 percent
  • Move if it was to a window seat – 4.4 percent
  • Move if it was closer to the front of the plane – 1.8 percent
  • Move if the new seat had extra leg room – 1.3 percent
  • Refuse to move, period – 0.6 percent

If you were traveling with someone but only you were offered a first-class upgrade?

  • It depends on who I’m with – 38.4 percent
  • Pass it up and stay together – 29.9 percent
  • Not sure – 11.8 percent
  • Give it to my companion – 7.8 percent
  • It depends on the flight length – 6.3 percent
  • Jump on it – 5.8 percent

If you put a small bag in the overhead bin and someone asked if they could put a much larger one there instead?

  • Gladly move my bag beneath the seat – 54.6 percent
  • Do it, but grumble because the other passenger should’ve checked the bag – 22.1 percent
  • Politely decline with an explanation – 9.9 percent
  • Politely decline with no explanation – 6.9 percent
  • Not sure – 6.5 percent

While the results are pretty funny, we all experience situations like this when flying. What can you do to make the flight go more smoothly? Here are some ideas…

1. Pick your seats online

Most ticket-booking sites let you choose from available seats when you buy. If that option isn’t there, if it costs extra, or if someone else handled booking, just check in up to 24 hours early – you can do it at the airline’s website, before leaving for the airport – and pick the best seats then.

2. Travel light

Less baggage means less stress, less time wasted (checking, dragging, and stowing), and fewer fees. For trips shorter than a week, I almost never have to check anything – because you’re allowed one small carry-on bag and a “personal item.” My “personal item” is a laptop bag that I cram half my stuff in and always manage to fit under the seat. If you do check bags, make sure you know how to handle lost luggage claims.

3. Use the sandwich trick

This isn’t about bringing food on-board – it’s about using psychology to earn yourself a little extra room. If you’re traveling with multiple people, pick an empty row and claim the window and aisle seats, leaving the middle open. Because most people hate sitting in the middle, you’re more likely to end up with an empty seat between you unless the flight is full. (If someone shows up and you want to sit together, just offer to switch.)

4. Learn to avoid delays

On delayed flights, everyone’s a little more stressed and grumpy. The best ways to avoid flight delays include flying nonstop, skipping the traffic-heavy hub cities (like Atlanta or L.A.), and flying in the morning (because delays cause a chain reaction throughout the day).

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
This Is the Best Age to Buy Long-Term Care Insurance
This Is the Best Age to Buy Long-Term Care Insurance

If you wait too long to apply for coverage, you could be denied. So, when’s the sweet spot to apply?

21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss
21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss

Start off the new year by implementing these small-but-smart savings strategies. They’ll soon add up.

Watch This: Organize Your Home With Dollar Tree Products
Watch This: Organize Your Home With Dollar Tree Products

Here’s how to organize every corner of your home using only items from a dollar store.

America’s Most Reliable Appliance Brand Is a Surprise
America’s Most Reliable Appliance Brand Is a Surprise

Have you heard of this appliance manufacturer?

11 Secret Uses for Everyday Items That Will Save You Money
11 Secret Uses for Everyday Items That Will Save You Money

These are simple solutions for life’s irritations.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco

This leader in bulk shopping is a great place to find discounts in the fixed-income years.

Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines
Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines

Fall is the time to schedule vaccines that can keep you healthy — and even save your life.

11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous
11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous

When you get the impulse to stockpile these everyday items, pay close attention to their expiration dates.

8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies
8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies

In this age of higher-priced drugs and complex health care systems, a trip to the pharmacy can spark worry. Freebies sure do help.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older
11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older

There is no need to wait until you’re 65 to take advantage of so-called “senior” discounts.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America
The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America

A new model parks atop the list of vehicles that thieves love to pilfer.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

9 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday
9 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are all steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020
The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020

Based on dozens of metrics tied to affordability, quality of life and health care, these are not ideal places to spend retirement.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income
26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income

These states won’t tax any of your Social Security income — and in some cases, other types of retirement income.

10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62
10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62

If you can, here are several good reasons to retire earlier than we’re told to.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

7 Surprising Features That Boost Your Home Value
7 Surprising Features That Boost Your Home Value

You can add value to your home without hiring a contractor to do expensive renovations.

5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles
5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles

Pushing your car to 200,000 miles — and beyond — can save you piles of cash. Here’s how to get there.

5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees
5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees

Retirees agree: These are the things that give them purpose and fulfillment in their golden years.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.