Traveling by air in Nigeria is usually a struggle. You might probably think it’s not, because it’s more expensive than the other means of transportation, but it’s not. I mean, it’s way more comfortable and time saving, but is pretty more complicated than buying a bus ticket. Traveling by air comes with a substantial amount of frustration. From getting to the airport, to checking in yourself and your luggage, to getting on the plane, the trip, and checkout is a hassle sometimes. I’m sure everyone has airport and flight tales to tell and so do I. Sometimes, your flight is delayed, sometimes your luggage is sent on a flight different from yours (really, this happens more often than you think) or you could be seated close to the plane’s engine and have to suffer blocked ears for the remainder of your trip. Despite all these downsides to flying, it is still the most preferable means of transport, as journeying by road is significantly more dangerous. Traveling by road is unpredictable, as the situation throughout the country is dire and the significant risk of terrorism, crime, inter-communal clashes, kidnappings and armed attacks have been on an all-time rise in recent times. If this is your first time flying, or you’re looking for tips to make your flight trip more enjoyable. In this post, based on my own experience, I’ll be giving a detailed guide on how to fly comfortably in a Nigerian or foreign airport, minimizing unnecessary drama and discomfort. The first time I flew, it was with Air Peace airlines and I was flying from Imo State to Lagos state. The second time, it was from Lagos to Calabar State using Ibom Airlines. My experience with each airline was different, and after reviewing both journeys, I came up with these ultimate tips to make your flight better at all times.
1. Mask up.
Staying safe, protecting yourself and others from Covid 19 as well as other airborne diseases or parasites. It is compulsory to wear a mask in all Nigerian airports, so make sure to wear a mask to avoid having to buy one at the airport.
2. Travel documentation.
Having the necessary travel documentation ready before you even get to the airport is very important, as it is easy to misplace your passport. ID or your flight ticket. It’s advisable to have those documents scanned on your phone for emergencies.
3. Go to the bathroom before your flight.
Honestly, using the bathroom before any journey at all is the key to enjoying your trip. That way, you won’t want to pee earlier than usual, or need to go to the bathroom. Do a number one or two at home or at the airport lounge bathroom, because doing it on the plane might be uncomfortable.
4. Book a choice seat.
Your seat on the plane is important, because that is where you’re going to be seated for the duration of the flight. Window seats are usually reserved before other seats because they are more comfortable than the middle seats and because of the view. The first time I flew, I booked a window seat because I wanted to see the famed view. I wasn’t disappointed. The downsides of a window seat are that it’s the farthest from the aisle, and you have to pass the other passengers if you need to use the restroom. For taller people, an aisle seat or an exit row seat is the choice seat for more legroom.
5. Check your luggage in early.
Checking in your luggage early has a distinct advantage over checking it in closer to the time of your flight. This is because the sooner your luggage is checked in, the sooner you will move to the waiting lounge to make one or two important calls before you board the plane.
6. Stay far away from the restroom.
The bathrooms on the plane are usually rowdy on the flight because there is usually a line of people waiting to enter and air hosts and hostesses moving in and out of the kitchen. There is a lot of movement around that area so if you’re looking for a quiet leisure trip, it’s advisable to seat closer to the front of the plane.
7. Get packed wayyyy before the time of your flight.
For real, you need to get packed long before your trip to the airport. This way, you have more time to put all your stuff together and also remember the things you forgot. The earlier you pack, the more organized you will be.
8. Get to the airport at least 45 minutes early.
I cannot emphasize this enough. It’s very easy to get stuck in traffic or for your taxi ride to be a couple minutes late. Avoid the temptation to dally. The recommended arrival time for domestic flights is an hour, and for international flights is two hours. A lesser period of time is not enough to check in, go through security and find your gate. If you’re late, you might miss your flight and trying to get on the next flight will definitely put a hole in your pocket.
9. Wear layered clothing.
Depending on the current temperature, wearing layered clothing is kind of essential when flying. You might get seated close to the air conditioning vent, or you might be feeling too warm and might need to take a few layers off. My go to advice, wear a tank, comfortable bottoms and a jacket.
10. Have a go pack or bag.
You need your essentials! Don’t forget to pack up items you might need for the duration of your trip. These items are essential carryons, and maybe your laptop, if you’re planning to use it during your flight. These items are in the bag or carryon you take with you. Common essentials may include:
- Your medication. If you have any conditions that require instant medication, taking it with you on your flight is the most important (after your ID, of course).
- Head phones or earplugs. These are like so important if you’re going to use your phone to do anything that involves media/entertainment.
- Hand cream.
- Lip balm or Chapstick.
- Power bank.
- Nose inhaler (if you suffer from motion sickness).
11. Leave metal canisters in your checked baggage.
You might be asked to take objects of a certain kind to your luggage, items that might be in pressurized containers. This is because some might be aerosol cans which are flammable, because of the propellant gases used in those cans. You are allowed to carry some medicinal aerosols like a bronchodilator inhaler, or other prescribed medication, in checked luggage in cans less than 18 oz (500ml) in carryon luggage. The changes in pressure and temperature can cause aerosols to leak, ignite or possibly explode. These items may include;
- Shaving cream.
- Body spray.
It’s better to pack these items into your checked baggage, not in your carry on.
12. Don’t rush to get off the plane.
When the plane has landed at its destination, there is usually a rush to disembark, you may feel the need to hurry up or may be pushed or jostled, but calm down, make sure you didn’t forget anything in your seat and that everything is in order before you leave.
13. Stay hydrated.
The air in a passenger cabin is pressurized, but not to sea-level pressures, so there is still less oxygen getting to your body when you fly, which can make you feel drained or short of breath. The fact that you will be sitting for a while doesn’t help. Prepare for your flight by buying or taking a bottle of water before boarding the plane, and sip it throughout your time on the plane. The Aerospace Medical Association suggests to drink about eight ounces of water for every hour in the air.
We are at the end of this list! Apply it to your to-do list for your flight and have a comfortable experience! I really enjoyed writing this post because it’s based on my personal experience in Nigerian Airlines.
Here are some extra tips for turbulence and airplane ears:
- During your flight, your plane might run into some turbulence which might end up making you feel a little queasy; you could use your nose inhaler, to help with the motion sickness.
- During takeoff, you might experience a rush of pressurized air into your ear canals, blocking them and giving you a blocked feeling in your ears. Well, I haven’t tried this but I did some research, and these tips are what I came across:
- Yawn and swallow during takeoff and landings.
- Consider buying earplugs.
- Stay awake during the planes ascent and descent.
I hope this information helps!
Thank you for reading this article. Join the squad and subscribe to my email newsletter for updates. See you!