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AVIATION DIGEST: Preparing for air travel


Certain items, which are considered to be dangerous, may not be carried in a passenger’s luggage © imago

AVIATION DIGEST | JARED KALERA | Air travel has and will always remain a thrill for many. One of the reasons is due to the complexities associated with it, especially in preparation for travel.

Of late air travel has evolved so much that it’s an assignment of it’s own due to heightened sophistication in  travel and security measures.

In this and the next article we will discuss basics in preparing for travel by Air.

  1. Prepare Early

Get to know about where you are going. What is the nature of weather, immigration rules, health rules of the country, banking rules, customs requirements. What are their entry requirements?

Know when you want to travel. Is it off season when tickets are cheaper? If not in a hurry, could you explore connecting flights as opposed to none stop flights which will always be more expensive.

What time of day will you travel. Night or day? Night travel is advantageous because you are more likely to reach your destination either when the next connecting flight is just minutes away or a few hours to start of business engagement. Either way, waiting time is reduced.

For persons afraid of travel, night travel is good because the skies outside will be pitch black with nothing to see but most importantly, you will likely experience less turbulence.

As you prepare, have all your travel documents, passport, entry visa, air-ticket and boarding pass( better printed out so u don’t have to fidget with your phone at the controls), vaccine cards and all.

  1. Arrive Early

I have seen people arrive at the airport just a few minutes before the departure of the flight and worse still being left by their craft. With heightened security concerns, arriving early, actually hours before, is very important and just in case of any queries ,you always have time to sort yourself .

Remember that security at airports will be give you more attention if you come late and will delay you even the more. So arrive early or else you will miss your flight.

Set your alarm for home set off and boarding time. You will be disappointed if you missed your flight window shopping at the duty free.

  1. Use a Cab

Ugandan have this habit of the entire family, friends and in-laws dropping someone at the airport. For convenience use a cab. It will drop you and you will not bother people to drop you off or to pick you up when you return, say at 3am in the morning.

In the alternative you could drive your car and leave it at the airport for overnight parking. Remember though to remember where you parked it on your return. Air port car parks can be as confusing as it gets.

  1. Dress well

Due to the safety enhanced environment associated with air travel, it’s important to dress wisely. High heels, closed tight shoes, boots are a no go as they take lots of time to undo through security screening.  However they too are a health risk as they reduce blood circulation especially when traveling long hours.

Overly large loose clothes are not advised as the areas around the terminal and in the plane itself may not be as forgivingly spacious. Remember wide overly done clothes irritate security at the airport. In case of an emergency, it will be difficult for rescue teams to help you when tons of your clothes are stuck up somewhere or if there is a fire.

Avoid anything with metals belts, ear rings, necklaces, pins whether on your body or shoes. Avoid huts, but it’s good to carry a sweater or jacket plus a shawl because crafts can be annoyingly cold or you might arrive to some cold weather at the airport.

  1. Pack smart

Packing is one tricky aspect of travel. From what to pack to how much one should pack. Very important is to know where you are going and for how long. This helps save you from packing useless items.

Prepare a packing list which you may probably have way in advance of your trip. This will help you avoid toiletries which you will find in your hotel room or in a shop nearby.

Categorize your items; clothes, under garments, medicals, shoes( not to soil other items), documents. Then pack them in packed cubes or small bags for each category. Pack clothes in round or cycle form .This will keep your bag organised and saves you lots of space

For security checks, pack liquids alone, electrical items alone, documents and medicines alone too. It will be easy for airport security to go through your items at ago instead of you holding up the entire queue because of your disorganized bag.

Remember you must have a carry on bag which contains the most important items you can’t leave without such as travel documents, medication, cash, passport, Air-ticket, phone and power bank and Visa Card. Why? Because in case the checked in bags get lost, you can still survive.

Note: Always mind the weight of your bags and if you can, avoid checking-in your bags. Learn to travel light with the most essential.

Last but not least, pack a First Aid kit with pain killers, alergy tabs, bandages, sedatives, chewing gum( for air pressure ) and tissue.

In our next article,we will discuss the remaining air travel preparation tips.


Jared is an aviation researcher and trained motor rally safety official. He is the General Manager Legal Compliance and Human Resource, Muttico Technical Services Ltd and co director at Amputee Self Help Network Uganda.


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