My last flight from San Francisco to Mumbai via Istanbul was rather exciting even though I was on a one-stop flight and my luggage had been checked to the final destination. I had a two-hour transit at Istanbul airport, which seemed to be plenty of time to make the connection. Unfortunately my flight from San Francisco left late due to a rain storm in the Bay Area. That left me only 20 minutes at Istanbul to rush from arrival gate to the departure gate for my connection.
Whether traveling on your own or as a travel companion with a senior traveler, light hearted conversation make the journey go faster. However since you will be together for a few hours, here are some do’s and don’ts.
Regardless whether you are assisting a senior traveler as their travel companion or traveling on your own, this is an opportunity for improving your social awareness skills and listening to the life experiences of others. Here are my seven conversation starters.
1. “Good morning, I am Sam”
Before the Aircraft Leaves the Gate
1. Find the seats for both of you
2. Remind the traveler to remove the comfort items like water bottle, a book or a shawl from the carry-on
3. Help the traveler put their carry-on bag in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of them
4. Stow away your carry-on bag
5. Make sure you and the traveler to put the seat belt on and keep it fastened for as much of the flight as possible
6. Acquaint them with the aircraft safety card and point out the emergency exits
When packing, put items that contain liquids inside sealed plastic bags, and then pack them in the center of the luggage. You also might consider putting underwear or other clothing in a sealed plastic bag. When you close the bag, squeeze as much air out as possible before you seal the bag. This will save space and allow denser packing in your luggage.
Leave your valuables at home. Otherwise put them in your carry-on. Keep a careful eye on your bag and promptly collect it after screening.
1. For domestic flight, a valid photo ID (driver’s license)
2. For international flight, passport valid more than 6 months beyond the departure date and a valid visa if required
3. Publish your trip with the TripCompanion app
– Tentative travel plan or flight itinerary
– Languages spoken and other preferences
– Services needed
When your parents are planning for air travel, you should also assess their mobility situation. Many seniors are no longer as agile as in their younger days. Airports are getting larger, with multiple terminals and long walks to and from the boarding gate, which the seniors may find tiring. If possible, using smaller airports would reduce the amount of walking needed within the terminal. Knowing the layout of the airport, you should assess the appropriate level of support for them and learn what sorts of assistance may be needed.
Besides packing basic things like a first-aid kit, tickets and passports, you can also add some things that can help traveling with kids:
1. Ear plugs or cotton balls
2. Comic books, story books
3. Battery-operated video games or small toys/dolls
4. Travel pillow
1. Check-in online and select your seat
2. For international flight, arrive at least 2.5 hours ahead of departure time
3. For domestic flight, arrive at least 1.5 hours ahead of departure time