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21 minute read

Flying 101: FAQ about air travel with Odysseys Unlimited

October 11, 2022

The roar of airplane engines, the drag of suitcases on slick tile, and the ding of an airport intercom system serve as exciting reminders that a travel experience is about to begin…after, of course, the flight to your destination. Whether your time in the plane will last two hours or 12, you can experience an efficient and comfortable flight with proper pre-flight preparation, knowledge of airline policies, and the utilization of easy in-flight routines.

This FAQ guide provides information on how to prepare for the airport and answers questions you may have about your flights with Odysseys Unlimited.

 

    1. Before your flight
      1. An important tip: Download your airline's app
      2. How and what should I pack?
      3. How and when can I buy an airline and/or seating upgrade?
      4. When will I get my seating assignment(s)?
      5. Will I pay for checking my luggage?
      6. What size do my bags need to be?
    2. Flight interruptions
      1. I missed my flight — what do I do?
      2. My flight was delayed. What now?
      3. What do I do if my flight is cancelled on the day of my departure?
    3. On your flight
      1. How do I stay healthy and comfortable while flying?
    4. After your flight
      1. What happens if my luggage is lost?
      2. How do I connect with my tour?
      3. Other questions and concerns

 

Before your flight

An important tip: Download your airline's app

If you have a smartphone, one of the best things you can do well in advance of your flight is download your airline’s app. Airline apps are one of the most convenient ways to receive updates about your flight(s). Most apps will send you flight reminders, allow you to check-in and receive your boarding pass, and notify you in real time about cancellations or delays. Some apps allow you to re-book or re-purchase flights; others feature in-flight uses such as providing a way to purchase snacks and Wi-Fi while in the air. Some even contain in-app airport maps. Downloading and becoming familiar with your airline’s app is one of the most useful things you can do for a seamless travel experience.

 

How and what should I pack?

Do your future self a favor and pack intentionally. You should pack your most important items in your carry-on to ensure that you have everything you need on hand – and so that you are prepared in the unlikely case that your checked luggage is lost.

Your personal item and/or carry-on should include:

  • Credit cards, IDs, cash, passport, and other important documents
  • Medications and medical supplies
  • Valuable items (although we recommend leaving valuables at home)
  • A change of clothes and pajamas
  • Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, soaps, lotions, etc.)
  • Electronics and chargers (laptop, tablet, e-reader, etc.)
  • Anything else you want to make sure you have on arrival to your destination

You should store everything else in your checked bag. Check out our Packing Tips: Essential Items post and our “Packing” Travel Tip category on our blog for more ideas on what to pack for your tour.

 

How and when can I buy an airline and/or seating upgrade?

Odysseys Unlimited offers the option to request premium economy and/or business class airline upgrades for the trans-oceanic flights of many of our tours. Check your tour page on our website or in our catalog to see if your tour offers the option to request an airline upgrade. This information can be found with the dates and prices chart. Kindly note that airline upgrades with Odysseys Unlimited are based on request and are not guaranteed as they are subject to availability with the airline(s).

If you wish to purchase an airline or seating upgrade through the airline(s) directly, please do not do so until your tickets have been issued and you have received your final e-tickets (approximately 2-3 weeks prior to departure). Airline itineraries and flights are subject to change prior to the issuing of your final e-tickets, so if you purchase any airline or seating upgrades before then, they may not be honored.

Also note that airline and/or seating upgrades purchased through the airline(s) cannot be refunded by Odysseys Unlimited if your flight is cancelled or missed.

 

When will I get my seating assignment(s)?

If you received your preliminary airline itinerary and do not see seats listed on your itinerary and cannot choose them online, have no fear. Increasingly, and at their discretion, airlines are restricting seating assignment to flight check-in. We will do everything we can to secure seats for you prior to check-in if possible, and if we are successful, you will see your seat assignment(s) reflected on your final e-tickets. If not, you will be able to choose your own seat at check-in. Please feel free to let us know your seating preferences prior to receiving your preliminary airline itinerary (approximately 2.5 months prior to departure) and we will do what we can to honor them – but do know that we cannot guarantee certain seating arrangements as it is dependent on availability.

Lastly, if you choose to purchase seats through the airline(s) prior to the issuing of your tickets, we cannot guarantee that the airline(s) will honor them.

 

Will I pay for checking my luggage?

Odysseys Unlimited tours include the cost of luggage handling for one bag per person in the tour price; however, additional baggage fees levied directly by airlines may apply and are subject to change at any time. You should confirm checked baggage cost directly with your airline(s) prior to departure.

 

What size do my bags need to be?

Make sure to check the weight and size restrictions for all luggage (personal item, checked bag, and carry on) on your airline’s app or website to ensure that your bags are suitable for your flight. Additionally, carefully read the “Luggage Guidelines” document on your My Odyssey portal to see if there are any tour-specific weight or size restrictions for your luggage. You may also find our Luggage Tips: Weight Limits, Long Transfers, and Checked Bag Charges blog post helpful.

 

Flight Interruptions

I missed my flight — what do I do?

In the unfortunate event that you miss your flight, please work with the airline(s) to re-purchase or re-book your flight. You may be able to do this through the airline app, or at the airline’s desk at the airport. Once you have rebooked your flight, please let us know your new flight information via email or by calling our Customer Service department so that we are able to notify any relevant services, such as your airport transfer (if you are air-inclusive), what time you are arriving.

 

My flight was delayed. What now?

If your flight is delayed and as a result you will miss a connecting flight, you should communicate with the airline(s) to get re-protected on a new flight. Do this by visiting the airline’s desk at the airport; some airlines may allow you to use their app or website to re-protect your flight as well. Once you have secured new flights, please let us know what your new flight itinerary is by emailing or calling us so that we are able to notify any relevant services, such as your airport transfer (if you are air-inclusive), what time you are arriving.

 

What do I do if my flight is cancelled on the day of my departure?

In the unlikely event that your flight is cancelled, communicate with the airline to get re-protected on a new flight. You can do this through the airline app or website for many situations, or by visiting the airline’s desk at the airport. Once you have secured new flights, let us know what your new flight itinerary is by emailing or calling us so that we are able to notify any relevant services, such as your airport transfer (if you are air-inclusive), what time you are arriving.

The most important thing to remember in the event of any flight interruption is that it is always easiest to work with the airlines first.

 

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On Your Flight

How do I stay healthy and comfortable while flying?

Careful forethought and simple preparation can make all the difference in staying comfortable on your long-haul flight(s). Some tips to consider are listed on our How to Stay Healthy while Traveling blog post. We also suggest that you:

  • Stay hydrated – One of the most important things to do while flying is to stay hydrated. The dry, air-conditioned climate and high-sodium meals of the airport and airplane can dehydrate you very quickly. Use a refillable water bottle throughout your journey; though your water bottle must be empty when you enter security at the airport, you can fill it at a water fountain once you exit TSA. You can also notify us if you wish to request low-sodium food for your in-flight meals; however, not all airlines offer such meal customizations, so it cannot be guaranteed.
  • Prepare for sitting and sleeping – Long hours of sitting are uncomfortable for everyone. Keep blood circulating in your extremities by avoiding crossing your legs and wearing compression socks to encourage blood flow. Take breaks from sitting by walking to the bathroom every so often to stretch your legs.
  • Bring along basic skin care – Skin becomes very dry on airplanes due to the dry climate of the cabin. Pack a small bottle of moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated and use it on your hands, face, and neck frequently. Meanwhile, lip balm will keep your lips from chapping. You may also wish to bring face wash wipes, deodorant, toothbrush and toothpaste, and/or other toiletries on the plane to keep you feeling fresh during your travels.
  • Stay healthy – Close cabin quarters, jet lag, and prolonged sitting can all impact your long-term health. Bring a surgical-grade mask such as a KN95 if you feel you may need it, and pack a small bottle of moisturizing hand sanitizer. Use sanitizing wipes to clean your seat armrests, table, the plane bathroom, and other surfaces before touching them, and wash or sanitize your hands before touching your face and eating.
  • Get some sleep – Napping remains the easiest way to make flights feel shorter and is also important to prevent feeling groggy after your flight. After all, jet lag ranks as every traveler’s worst enemy. Our previous tips will help you stay comfortable enough for sleep, but in addition, make sure to avoid alcohol and caffeine prior to and during your flight as they can impair sleep and make you feel more tired later on. You can read more tips on in-flight sleep here: How to Beat Jet Lag.

 


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After Your Flight

What happens if my luggage is lost?

In the unlikely event that your luggage is misplaced or lost by the airline, do not panic. If you followed our packing tips, you should have everything you need for the next few days in your carry-on bag. In the meantime, you should immediately notify the airline before leaving the airport so that they can attempt to track down your bag and get it to you as soon as possible. More information on lost luggage can be found on our luggage-specific blog post: You arrived, but your luggage didn’t…now what?

 

How do I connect with my tour?

The last step in your airplane adventure is to meet up with your tour. For air-inclusive guests, Odysseys Unlimited will send you information before your departure on how to locate your transfer to the hotel. This information will be in your final tour documents sent approximately 2-3 weeks prior to your flight. If you are arranging your own flights, please contact our Customer Service department if you wish to request a transfer.

 

Other questions and concerns

Regardless of how you feel about flying, the relief and excitement of stepping off an airplane and into your travel destination is universal.  We hope this post answers some of your most pressing questions about flying with Odysseys Unlimited. If you have further questions, airline websites can be a helpful resource; often, answers to questions are dependent on the airline you are flying with. We are also happy to help you in preparing for your trip; should you have additional questions, please contact us by email at [email protected] or by calling our Travel Counselors at 1-888-370-6765.

 

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