By Jacob Ternes – Senior Leadership Consultant
It hit me recently how many miles I have put under my belt in this past year and a half as a consultant. Two years ago I had very little travel experience, and I was the one slowing down everyone at the ticket counter and going through security. Now I feel like George Clooney’s character from “Up in the Air.” I self-check, carry-on, and scan the security lines for the groups that look like they will get through the quickest. With the holiday season coming up very quickly and all of the traveling that happens this time of year, I thought I would share a few of the things that I have learned from all of my miles and flights.
Plan ahead. It might be a little late this holiday season, but when traveling in the future, book your plane tickets as soon as possible. The earlier you book, the cheaper your tickets will be, and you will also be able to select a better seat on the plane. If you are looking for a little extra leg room, select an exit row. Often those rows are wider and you weren’t charged for that extra space.
Carry-on. If at all possible, avoid checking a bag. There are a couple reasons for this, the first of being saving money. These days airlines are charging $25-$50 to check a bag one way, and if it ends up being overweight, whoa. This adds up to a lot of extra cash spent just to get your stuff to your destination. Another nice thing about not checking a bag is that you can avoid lines at the ticket counter. Most airlines have self check-in consoles or you can check in online. Without having to check a bag, you have no need to go to the ticket counter.
Follow Directions. Airport security can be a pain, I think everyone knows that, but you can make it a lot easier on yourself if you just follow the directions. Have your ID ready with your boarding pass for the agent to check. Put your liquids in a quart baggie near the top of your bag so that you can easily pull it out during x-ray. Shoes, coats, and belts all come off and empty your pockets. Flying with a laptop? It has to come out of your bag and into a plastic bin all by itself. For me, I can remember all this because I fly fairly frequently but even if you don’t, I have good news…they have someone at the checkpoint reminding you. All you have to do is listen and follow directions!
Be Courteous. Sometimes travel doesn’t go as planned. It’s important to remember that the person working at the gate can’t control that the plane was delayed at the previous location or that your bags didn’t get loaded properly. Yelling at a person who is trying to help you work through the situation and care for all of the other passengers does not do anyone any good. Take a couple of deep breaths before you say anything, smile, and thank them for their help. All of this will make for a much more pleasant experience for everyone. The gate agent may be so appreciative that they may throw in a little something extra for you (I recently got a $100 voucher for a future flight)
Make a friend. I see so many people sitting in the airport or on the plane with their noses in a book or staring intently at their laptop – completely surrounded by people but yet utterly alone. Don’t be one of them! Strike up a conversation with the people sitting around you in the terminal and once on-board, introduce yourself to your seatmate. All of these people have some story and you may meet someone that you connect with. Sometimes the world can be a small place; I have met someone on a plane with whom I shared a mutual acquaintance. You could even make a business connection that could pay off later in life. Even if it just turns out to be a “single serving friend” and you don’t talk again, it at least made that flight go by a little quicker.
Jacob is a second year leadership consultant traveling the West Region and working with colony development across the country. He is a graduate of Emporia State University in exotic Emporia, Kansas. Jacob graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Education with Teaching Fields in Social Sciences and Physical Education. Jacob recently got engaged to his college sweetheart, Elissa Hadley, and they will be married this summer. Being a native of Kansas, he is a fan the Kansas City Chiefs and the Kansas City Royals, even through the bad years. Jacob is an avid outdoorsman and would spend all of his time camping, hiking, mountain biking, or just grilling out on the patio if he could. Jacob is extremely proud of the fact that he became an Iron Phi in May of this year when he participated in his first ever full marathon during the Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon and he plans on running the Pig again this year. He is enjoying his travels in the Western half of the United States and working with the colonies of the Fraternity.