I have successfully completed my first round trip Transatlantic trip across the pond. The flights were really well overall and I think I planned the best that I could. There are some tips that I was able to come up with along the way that I will hope to help you.
Booking the Flight
-Make sure you research the airlines that you are booking on, especially if you are looking to book economy. Different airlines have different versions of economy like basic economy and economy plus. These names make a big difference. There is a big difference between these versions of economy. Some of them have limitations on carryon and/or checked baggage as well as not having the ability to pick your seat.
-For the sake of going across the pond, I recommend booking a flight that leaves in the later evening. Heading to Europe was a six hour time change for us. I liked that my flight left at 9:30pm and was at my connection in London at 9:30am. I was able to get a descent amount of sleep on this flight so it made jet lag much easier to deal with.
Prior to Departure
-If you have a long layover (4+ hours) check to see what kind of lounges your connecting airport has. It could be nice to grab a shower, grab a quick bite to eat and enjoy a nice cocktail in between flights. If you call your airline, they can sometimes tell you which terminal you will fly into and where your next flight terminal is so you can research.
-If you booked an economy ticket that does not have complimentary checked bags, go to the website and make sure you check out the size limitations on their carry on and personal bags. I flew British Airways over and they were checking everyone’s bags to make sure they were the right size.
-You need to have your passport with you at the gate when you are about to board. Make sure you have your passport open to the photo page, it will make things go much faster.
During the Flight and in Route
-About 90 minutes after take off will be the first meal service. In economy we were allowed complimentary beer and wine with our meal. These are pretty good size meals. They aren’t gourmet but they were edible. If you have a dietary specialty, you need to let the airline know at least 3 days prior to your flight.
-If you have a connection in Europe, you need to be prepared to go through security again. In London Heathrow, we had to put our liquids into a clear plastic bag that they provided and go through all the xrays again.
-Get a good neck pillow. This is a long flight and the last thing you need when you get to your destination is a sore neck. My chiropractor recommended the Trtl pillow to me and I’m a huge fan after this particular flight. You can click on the photo below to check it out.
I hope that these tips will help you when you are booking your flight to Europe from the US or whichever is your equivalent. This was a new experience for me and I searched the depths of the internet to find some answers. Good luck and wheels up!