Whether you are a frequent traveler or not, travel is stressful.  No matter how often you may have traveled or how familiar you are with the airport or boarding process, every encounter is different.  This is one of the reasons why many travelers experience stress.  However, there are stressful situations that are entirely avoidable.  Taking the stress out of travel can be helped by simply knowing your seat, utilizing the overhead bin space effectively, not going to the bathroom during boarding, or taking your assigned seat.  Below are a few ways why these can be stressful.

Where is my seat?

Generally, there is only one way to get on and off an airplane; the boarding door.  I have never seen airplane seat numbers that weren’t sequential, 1,2,3,4….etc.  In addition to paying attention to your boarding group number, remember your seat number.  Have your ticket out, so you know exactly where your seat is.  Almost always, the seat number is at eye level, either to the right or the left.  Every seat also has a letter, and the seat number and letters are also located on the armrest of every seat.  It should not take you any extended length of time to find your seat.  The faster you get seated, the more chances of an on-time departure and getting you to your destination as quickly as possible.

Which overhead bin should I use?

Overhead bin space is shared space.  The overhead bin space does not correspond to a seat number.  Put your belongings in an overhead bin that is convenient for you, and try not to take up the entire space for just your items.  Remember that the area is shared space, and another passenger often has to check their bags because you selfishly took up all the overhead bin space without regard for your fellow passengers.  Look ahead as you board, and if you see that the overhead bin space is full above where you estimate your seat to be, place your belongings in the first overhead bin you see that has space (in your cabin).  It’s always better to get to your luggage as you leave the plane if it’s ahead of you than to try to go against traffic to retrieve your carry-on luggage.

Bathrooms during boarding.

Generally, try to go to the bathroom in the airport rather than on the airplane.  Public restrooms will often be cleaner and more spacious than on the aircraft.  Going to the restroom during boarding is almost always inconvenient as you will push past people in the opposite direction.  In addition, the door to the aircraft can’t close until every passenger is seated, which will slow down the boarding process and may delay departure.  I have experienced having to return to the gate to remove a passenger because there were more passengers than seats.  This can happen if someone is in the bathroom and unaccounted for.  It’s also why some airlines do not allow the bathroom to be used during boarding.

Switching seats.

Seating is a commodity on most airplanes, and airlines sometimes charge different pricing for seat allocations. Most airlines will allow you to choose your seat when purchasing your ticket. If not assigned a seat when purchasing your ticket, a seat will be given at check-in.  Most of the time, the airlines will try to keep families and groups together, so it’s best to check in early to ensure your seating. Asking fellow passengers to switch seats is not often an issue, but it can annoy some people. Requesting that someone change a seat with you simply for your benefit is an inconvenience to that person, even if they may not verbalize that fact.  In addition, it can be annoying for other passengers and flight attendants simply waiting for you to settle down and be seated.

Knowing some basic travel information goes a long way to relieving stress from your travel experience.  I hope these ideas help.  Let me know in the comment section below.