10 Best Tricks for Improving Your Flight Experience

03/20/2015 01:56 pm ET | Updated May 20, 2015
Serg Myshkovsky via Getty Images

Flying can be a miserable experience but we've got the 10 best tricks for rocking up to the gate like a superstar. Indoor sunglasses optional.

Did you know you can take a water bottle through security? Or you could even take a tour of the cockpit if you wanted? Here are some tips and strategies for making the most out of your flight experience. Information is power and, in this case, we've got it in spades.

10. Decide Whether You Should Check a Bag


It's easier to go without checked bags but should you have to, it's hard to even know where or what airline to begin with. Even worse, most airlines hide the cumulative cost of bags after the first checked bag. Hopper has built a handy airline fees calculator that reveals the true cost of flying on any airline. Traveling with two checked bags? Maybe don't purchase that $80 flight on Spirit. Only have a carry-on? Well, that Spirit fare is looking pretty good now.

9. ...or You Could Just Gate Check

Most gate agents are willing to gate check your bag for free to free up overhead space if it's an especially full flight (which is almost like every flight). It's a quick way of bypassing the checked bag fee if you don't want to haul your giant bag through a connecting airport, but don't bet the farm on being able to do it every time.

8. Beat the Gate Agent When Times Get Tough

Don't be at the mercy of your flight if it gets delayed. Certain apps like WorldMate and TripIt offer the ability to search for alternate flight schedules in case something like this happens. If you've really got to get somewhere on the time, this way you can request the gate agent to put you on a specific flight or departure that you want to take and have all the details handy.

7. You Can Still Bring That Water Bottle

Liquids, shmiquids. You can actually still bring that water bottle through security but the catch here is that it has to be empty when you pass through the scanner. There's no law that says you can't refill it at a water fountain or ask the flight attendant to top it off for you during the plane. Besides, no one should go un-hydrated.

In general, collapsible water bottles like the Vapur Element or the Platypus PlusBottle are less likely to raise eyebrows from the TSA officers but they're also great to have around because they're extremely portable.

6. Try To Get an Entire Row with a Friend


If you want the Holy Grail of seating, try grabbing the aisle and window seat in a row with a friend. With some luck, if the flight's not too full, no one will opt for the middle seat... and if they do, just ask to trade seats. Chances are they won't say no.

5. Get Some Passable Sleep with an Eyemask

It's one of the no-brainer tricks in the book but it's amazing how many people forget that an eyemask can work wonders for getting some rest. The biggest impediments to sleeping well -- besides being forced in an upright position all the time -- are noise and light. The quality of your sleep can improve drastically once you begin stowing a pair away in your carry on. In fact, there's a whole set of things you can bring that makes a substantial experience in improving your overall comfort level on a flight.

4. Be Nice and Smile

People respond to kindness -- and can you imagine how many irate customers and travelers airline people have to deal with day in and day out? It's not easy being in customer service and a little courtesy and appreciation goes a long way. Because when something doesn't work out in your favor, you want someone on the other side standing in your corner to bat for you.

3. You Might Not Need to Pay for Wi-Fi

Though you can opt in for Wi-Fi, certain apps have been proven to have limited functionality without needing to pay for the in-flight Wi-Fi. (You still need to be connected, however.) The list, though not expansive, mostly pertains to Google apps. But don't expect miracles and for the apps to work as well as they normally would.

2. There Are Still Free Things on a Plane

It just might not be the peanuts anymore. But you can ask for a range of things that include medicines, wingpins and some basic babysitting if you just need a minute or two for yourself away from the little ones. How does a tour of the cockpit sound to you?

1. Let Hopper's New Mobile App Do Your Flight Shopping for You


OK, so we're a little biased. But with the average traveler visiting 38 websites before booking a trip, purchasing a flight is clearly a pain point for a lot of travelers. What Hopper's app does is automate that comparison shopping experience by finding travelers the absolute best deals on flights and offering useful tips and predictions on which way the price is going to move. If the price isn't great, we'll tell you and we'll watch the flight for you. Then we'll notify you when the prices reach their lowest point.

In 95% of cases, Hopper can save travelers money on their flights (up to 40%), and a cheaper flight is definitely a better flight experience.

Liked this article? Check out The World's 20 Longest Non-Stop Flights
(perfect for trying out the 10 tips above) and The 10 Airlines with the Best Economy Class Seats.

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