So you were a good Do-Bee and showed up to board your flight the recommended two hours prior to scheduled departure (or three hours if it is an international flight), you flew through airport security and now you find yourself at the boarding gate staring at the minute hand on your watch. What to do? Myself, I have a little preflight ritual that helps pass the time that I quite enjoy. I hit the shops! No, I am not advising you to go on a shopping spree. These days where the only real estate in the country being snatched up is the space in the overhead compartment above your seat, this kind of move could be detrimental to your in-flight well being. Once fellow passengers catch you stuffing bags into their storage territory, um, you‚Äôre on your own. (Many shops will assist you in arranging for bulky items to be delivered to a destination or to be collected from a designated kiosk upon returning from your trip, but to err on the side of simplicity, I‚Äôm going to list smaller and more essential airport buys.)
When the aircraft reaches a cruising altitude of about 35,000 feet, your ears will thank you for this purchase. You will also feel confident striking up a conversation with those seated next to you because your breath smells minty fresh. (If you typically experience ear pain due to air pressure changes when flying, consult your doctor for other alternatives that aid in alleviating this type of discomfort before you travel.)
Books & Magazines
A trip to the airport bookstore is an absolute must for me. I look forward to this shopping experience, and I do not worry about which books are supposedly on a best sellers list beforehand. The shops already stock their shelves with top reads, and I like to take a bit of time perusing the book jacket blurbs in search of a novel that piques my interest. For good measure, I normally pick up a magazine as well. Oh, and when everyone else is being instructed to turn off their electronic devices, this good old paper standby won‚Äôt let you down.
Healthy Meal To Go
Yes, you could pack a little something from home to eat in flight, but beware of liquid regulations and be prepared to potentially slow down the line at the security check point. Short flights may not offer their passengers anything more than ¬Ω an ounce of peanuts or sell an expensive box of junk food. I like to grab a sandwich to munch on during the flight. (If flying internationally, do know that you may not be permitted to bring certain foods into another country. You may have to part with produce, meat, and other possible edibles at the customs counter). I would not suggest buying a large beverage prior to boarding either. Most airlines will serve a complementary small drink, and do you really want to squeeze past the person seated by your side to use the phone booth sized restroom mid-flight?
I actually look forward spending some time meandering through the terminal in search of these things before boarding an aircraft. For me, this makes having to arrive at the airport early worth the slight inconvenience. These items are relatively inexpensive and will not take up much space in your carry-on. While waiting to board your next flights to Paris or Amsterdam, add a little shopping to your pre-departure routine.