7 TEFL/TESOL essential tips for flying overseas
These 7 tips will help make your journey run smoother – whether you are making the trip abroad for a teaching English position, or just for a getaway break.
1. Buy health and travel insurance before you set off.
This should really be a no-brainer, but you would be surprised by just how many people head off abroad without comprehensive health and travel insurance. Some banks offer insurance when you take out a bank card with them, so this might also be worth checking out.
Due to the current complications within the airline industry, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we strongly recommend buying travel insurance that covers cancelled flights. If you take a look at https://www.airlinequality.com, you can read the many angry complaints from customers who have had their flights cancelled last minute. A significant number of flyers have complained about not being able to get through to an airline’s customer support, complained about being offered vouchers instead of a cash refund, and complained that their flight was cancelled a few days before their scheduled date of departure. A good travel insurance policy should cover you if you find yourself in a similar situation.
2. Do something nice for your future self and choose a great seat.
When you have paid for your flight, you are then usually directed to choose your seat.
We recommend checking which type of plane you will be flying on, and then going to https://www.seatguru.com to take a look at which seats are recommended for your flight – and which seats are best avoided. As a general rule, the most uncomfortable seats on a plane are the ones located next to the toilets, middle seats, and the seats in the last row of the aircraft.
A lot of people prefer being located over the wing as this makes for a smoother ride. Sitting at the back of the plane will mean experiencing more turbulence. However, in the (extremely unlikely) event of an unplanned landing at high speed, the back of the plane is statistically where you will have the greater chance of surviving.
3. Prepare yourself for the highly improbable.
According to 2015 statistics from The Economist, the probability of your plane going down is around one in 5.4 million. In fact, air travel is (by far) the safest form of transport around. It is, however, prudent (and polite) to pay attention to the pre-flight safety demonstration. And it is also wise to take a read through the aircraft safety card.
When a plane disaster does happen, it is the passengers who paid attention to the safety instructions that are more likely to survive. Examples of completely avoidable deaths when a plane did run into problems were passengers inflating their life vests inside of the plane, and passengers who couldn’t work out how to unbuckle the seat belt – both examples having been explained in the pre-flight safety instructions.
Another good tip regarding safety on board, is to count the rows of seats from the nearest exit as you make your way up the aeroplane aisle. This way, you will be able to make your way safely out of the plane in that rare event of a total blackout on board.
4. Don’t get juiced up on alcoholic drinks.
Because a lot of people are nervous flyers, they tend to rely on alcohol to calm themselves when flying.
If you do need to drink, we recommend just having the one. Well, perhaps two is also fine 🙂 One thing you really don’t want to do though is to drink more than two, because then you will arrive at your destination feeling pretty dreadful.
There is a saying that ‘one drink in the air is two on the ground’ – meaning that you’ll experience an alcohol double-whammy when you have a drink on the plane. Flying at high altitudes also dehydrates the body, so alcohol is really best avoided completely.
Our advise for any nervous flyers out there, is to contact your doctor and ask them for a one-time prescription of valium. Taking one valium tablet before your light will help with the flying nerves and you won’t feel so terrible when you have arrived at your destination.
But, NEVER mix the medication with alcohol!
5. Be nice to the flight attendants.
A lot of people seem to quite naturally assume that flight attendants live the glamorous life of international travel, 5-star hotels, and high salaries.
The reality, however, is that the job of a flight attendant is more often than not excessively demanding. The salaries are relatively low, there is often very little time for sleep once the plane has landed and a long journey home has been spent pondering a next-day early morning departure, and some flyers can be less than pleasant. On top of all this, flight attendants are expected to look their best at all times on board, and are expected to be alert and approachable throughout the flight.
When you first board your plane, we recommend giving the flight attendants a friendly smile and saying ‘hello’ to them. Continue this respectful behaviour on board and you will find that they will be much more ready to help you out with any questions or requests that you might have during the flight. And besides, it feels good to make someone else feel good too 🙂
6. Mid-flight theft is a thing.
A lot of people board the plane, place their belongings in the overhead compartment (the bag or case which was too valuable to place in the hold) and then promptly forget about it until the plane arrives at their destination.
In an ideal world, this is perfectly acceptable behaviour.
Unfortunately, this isn’t an ideal world.
Some individuals take flights for the specific purpose of stealing valuables from unsuspecting travellers.
Our advice, is to keep your money and passport stashed inside a money belt – concealed under your clothing. If your carry-on luggage isn’t too cumbersome then store it under the seat in front of you. If it has zippers, consider buying a combination lock so that you can sleep with the knowledge that no stray hands will be able to open it while you are sleeping to the white noise of the plane’s engines.
If you have to place your carry-on in the overhead lockers, make sure that you are aware of exactly where it is – flight attendants sometimes move overhead cabin luggage before takeoff, in order to better organise space.
Either way, don’t assume that all of your fellow passengers are making the journey with you purely for transport reasons.
7. Fill out the arrivals card before your plane lands.
Towards the end of long-haul flights, it is often the case that you will be given an arrivals card to complete before you can pass though immigration.
Towards the end of long-haul flights, people are often tired and put off completing the card until they have reached passport control. This is when they realise that they don’t have a pen, there isn’t a pen in sight, and they probably don’t have their flight ticket stub either and so can’t remember their flight number.
To avoid this unnecessary stress, we recommend completing the arrivals card while you are still on the plane. If you don’t have a pen, you can always ask the flight attendant whom you have been polite to throughout the flight and they will likely find a pen for you.
With your arrivals card complete, you can safely stash your passport back under your clothes and walk off the plane prepared to join the immigration queue – all your documents at the ready.
For any unanswered questions, contact us via the TEFL Online Pro official school website: https://teflonlinepro.com/contact-us/
Thank you for reading this 7 TEFL/TESOL Essential Tips For Flying Overseas article.
Paul Murphy | Operations Manager | TEFL Online Pro
The Teachers’ Choice Award winner in 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022