The Essentials If You’re Leaving On A Jet Plane

By the time you read this, I’ll either (a) be sitting in the Abbotsford Airport, (b) 35,000-feet in the sky or (c) frustrated as I try to connect to the WiFi at the Calgary Airport, where the WiFi literally never works.

Over the last year, I’ve done a fair share of flying and 2016 is shaping up to involve even more aviation adventures; some for work, others for pleasure.

The process of airline travel used to be the bane of my existence – the line-ups, the people that don’t follow simple instructions, the uncomfortable seating and always feeling like I didn’t prepare properly – but with greater experience and more frequent flights has come a much more refined approach and an understanding of how to make the journey from airport to airport easy and enjoyable.

Here are my essentials for traveling by air.

Comfortable Attire

We all have different definitions of comfortable, so do you. For me, it depends on whether I’m rolling off the plane to an event or to the hotel to check in, but most of the time, I’m a jeans, t-shirt, hoodie traveller and I always wear a baseball cap, which serves as a vessel for the three or four things in my pockets when I’m going through security.

In addition to the hoodie, which is crucial because it can easily be unzipped and removed if too hot (and used as a pillow in a pinch), footwear selection is also critical because you’re probably going to have to do some walking through the terminal and if you’re heading outside of Canada, you’re going to have to take off your shoes at security, so I suggest something that you can slip on and off.

Entertainment Options

Between flights, I’m always on my computer, working on stories and seeing what happened while I was airborne, but on the plane, I’m more of a “relax and get to where I’m going” traveler than a “do a bunch of work on my laptop” guy. That means I need entertainment options.

While the in-seat television and PPV movies are always an option, I prefer magazines and podcasts, with a good book taking the bronze medal. I want things that can hold my attention, but that are relatively light and easy to digest too. I picked up the Rolling Stone special issue on The Nineties for this trip and have stockpiled an assortment of basketball and pop culture podcasts to listen to as well.

Quality Headphones

This isn’t just “for flying” requirement, but having good headphones that you really like is an overall life essential. That doesn’t mean you have to go out and spend a bazillion dollars on the top of the line, biggest name brand joints you can find, but don’t settle for a pair from the $3 bin either because those are probably going to break or be uncomfortable.

Whether you’re listening to the in-flight offerings or something on your personal devices, nothing is worse than being 30 minutes into a three- or four-hour flight and feeling like your headphones are irritating your ears. Quality options won’t do that, so invest in some and thank me later.


Yes, they’re going to come around and offer you a beverage and your choice of cookies or pretzels – and you can purchase anything from the on-board menu for the price of an economy sedan – but if you’re anything like me, that small cup of whatever beverage you choose isn’t going to last more than 10 minutes and the snack is gone even quicker, so think ahead and bring some goodies.

Water is essential and modern airports have installed filling stations that make topping up your water bottle much easier than the old “hold it at an angle at the water fountain” days, which is still how you have to proceed at the airports I frequent most. Good times. As for food, bit-sized items usually work best (raisins, nuts, crackers, Skittles) and bars of any kind are good options as well.


This is the most essential thing to bring with you on your journey because there are bound to be lots of people you’re lining up and flying with that have left this at home and if you’re not prepared for their idiocy, it’s going to be a long day.

Traveling takes time, but they’re also not going to take off without you, unless you’re really, really, really late and they’ve paged you 57 times, so don’t worry about trying to get in line before they’ve called your zone. You have a seat reserved; no one is going to take it.

Security and customs (if you have to go through customs) can be a drag, but again, you’re going to get through and if you’ve got a connection to make and feel like you’re pressed for time, chances are someone from the airline will come seek you out to expedite the process, so don’t freak out and try to shove your way through everyone like you’re more important than the rest of the people in front of you. No one likes that guy. Don’t be that guy.

Related Posts

Previous Post Next Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *