Common Mistakes You’re Likely To Make While Traveling With Your Pet

For many, pets are an important part of the family – so it only makes sense that you want them to join you on your family vacation. While traveling with your dog or cat may sound fun and Insta-worthy, it requires a significant amount of planning and preparation to ensure that it goes smoothly and everyone stays safe and sane. In order to help you and your fluffy friend get travel-ready, we’re preparing you with 15 common mistakes you’re likely to make while traveling with your pet.

1. Failing To Plan From Start to Finish

You should never travel last-minute with your pet. To make it go as smoothly and safely as possible, you need to think the trip through from beginning to end and come to terms with the fact that you might need to make some sacrifices to tailor the trip to your pet’s needs. If you don’t have a plan for what you’re going to do with your pet while you’re out and about, you shouldn’t bring them.

Bringing your furry friend on vacation can be so much fun, but the decision to bring them along shouldn’t be made lightly. You’ll want to consider your budget and weigh the cost of bringing them (for example, extra fees for pet-friendly accommodations or air travel) versus boarding them at a kennel or staying for free with family or friends. You’ll also want to book early enough, as even pet-friendly accommodations often only have a certain number of rooms available for you and your pet.

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2. Not Double Checking If Your Accommodations Are Pet-Friendly

Nothing can ruin your trip like arriving at your destination only to realize that your pet is not allowed. There are restrictions in place in various countries that permit or bar entry to cats and dogs (which are the most common pet travelers), but also around more “exotic pets” like birds and reptiles. It’s important to find out the pet policy at every accommodation you’ll be staying at because they vary quite a bit, even within one city.

Some places are completely pet-friendly, some don’t allow animals unless they’re service dogs, and some have rules regarding what types and sizes of pets they allow. But almost all accommodations that allow pets will charge a nightly or flat fee or a large damage deposit. Just because a hotel advertises that they’re pet-friendly doesn’t mean they aren’t going to charge you a pretty penny for it!

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3. Not Checking Your Accommodations Pet-Related Rules

Even after you’ve figured out whether your pet can stay with you, you need to consider what other policies they have. Most hotels that allow dogs still require that you don’t leave them alone at any point, which may be a problem if you’re planning on being out at other non-pet-friendly places.

You’ll also want to ask if there are other resident pets, which may affect the comfort and well-being of your own pet (do they get along well with others?). Are there any pet amenities onsite or close by like grassy areas or a dog run/park? Are there pet-sitting or dog walking services available? These are all important questions to ask. Though more pet-friendly hotels are popping up, you may have more luck with Airbnb rentals, where you can search based on a number of different criteria including whether they allow pets.

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4. Your Destination Isn’t Very Pet-Friendly

A huge factor in whether it’ll be okay to bring your pet on vacation with you is whether or not the destination is pet-friendly. Some cities or towns are quite progressive and dogs (the most common travel companion) are allowed in many shops, making sightseeing and touring around very possible. It’s easier to include your pet in some types of vacations such as camping or going to a cottage whereas visiting a big busy city might be quite a bit harder.

Further, the time of year can seriously impact a city’s pet-friendliness. During the summer, many patios are dog-friendly and shops may be more open to having your well-behaved dog inside because their paws and fur aren’t wet or snow-covered. Before deciding whether your pet is going to come with you, do some research to see if where you’re headed is welcoming to furry visitors.

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5. Your Pet Has Never Traveled Before

Your pet may be easy going and low maintenance at home, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be that way when you travel with them. Traveling means new places, people, and scents, as well as a change in routine for your pet, which can be scary!

Before you take them on a big adventure, consider taking some smaller, shorter trips to get them used to travel. You may find that it’s more stressful for them or even you than you anticipated!

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6. You Didn’t Consider The Length of Travel Time

3 hours in the car to the cottage is very different from a multi-day road trip or an international flight. How long is your pet comfortable and settled in a vehicle? If you are all spending a prolonged time in a vehicle, you’ll need to be sure to give your pet regular potty breaks and opportunities for ample exercise before loading back up.

When doing air travel with your dog, book a direct flight if it’s not too long or consider an overnight layover for a long flight so they can decompress in a hotel room with you before being loaded up again. Similarly, consider the amount of time traveling compared to the time spent at your destination. If you’re jumping around from place to place, you’re better off leaving your pet at home.

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7. You Disrupted Your Pet’s Schedule

While a significant disruption in your lizard’s schedule probably doesn’t matter, some animals (especially dogs) thrive on keeping a schedule. Dogs can succeed when they know what you expect of them, so routine, exercise, and rules are super important and can help keep them from displaying undesirable behaviors.

When you travel, do everything you can to keep their schedule the same – meal times, walks or exercise, crating, potty breaks, and so on. Routine and structure will tell your pet that everything is okay so they can feel safe and relaxed, even in a new place.

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8. Change in Stimulation and Exercise Needs

When your pet experiences change in their world, increasing their exercise to drain nervous or anxious energy can help them adjust, but at minimum, you should be keeping their daily exercise the same as it is at home. If you’re headed to a cottage, it might be easy to get in a daily hike or do some dock diving to tire your pooch. But just because you’re visiting a big city doesn’t mean your dog is going to give you a free pass.

If you’re planning on leaving your dog for a few hours, walk or run with them first thing in the morning before you head out solo. If you’re leaving them alone when you head out later, put some peanut butter in a KONG toy to provide some stimulation and fun while you’re gone or play with your pet before putting them back in their enclosure.

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9. Not Preparing For Health and Medical Issues

Just like people, some animals are prone to motion sickness. Other animals may become anxious when traveling. If this is is true for your pet, you should consider whether travel is right for them and then either have them stay with friends or family or a boarding facility. Alternatively, vets can prescribe medication to help curb nausea or anxiety in your pet – for a fee of course.

You also need to be prepared in the case that your pet gets sick or injured while traveling. Have a copy of their health records accessible (e-copies are fine too), especially if they have pre-existing health issues. Be sure to look up at least one 24-hour emergency vet clinic close to where you’ll be staying in case something happens! Too often, people aren’t prepared for the worst-case scenario when traveling with their pets.

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10. Making Sure They’re Appropriately Trained

Okay, so you probably don’t have to train your pet rabbit if you’re bringing them along on a trip, but dogs are a different story. Nobody likes a party animal (pun intended) for a neighbor at a hotel. Make sure that your pet is reliably housetrained and doesn’t scratch or chew on furniture or carpets. Is your pet capable of being quiet? This is an absolute necessity as a pet guest! Dogs who are prone to vocalization or have separation anxiety do not make good travel companions.

Also, be aware of your fellow guests and respect their space. Although you may love your pet, many people are afraid, allergic or plain just don’t like animals. Don’t let your pet approach other people or animals without your direct supervision and the other person’s permission.

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11. Not Understanding The Requirements and Risks of Air Travel

Unless airline travel is absolutely necessary, you should leave your pet at home, as flying is generally quite stressful for animals. But if you are going to bring your pet, doing research beforehand is critical. Determine what the requirements, restrictions or fees are with the airline. They all require some sort of documentation for passage – and don’t assume you already have it.

Small pets (under 10 pounds) can travel in the cabin but need to be inside a carrier that they can move around in and can fit under the seat in front of you (no handbags!). If your pet is larger, they will need to travel in the cargo hold in a hard plastic airline-approved crate. All kennels must have absorbent material in case of accidents. Before boarding, exercise your pet well to drain their energy and feed them well enough in advance that they’ve had a chance to eliminate. And to make life easier, try to book direct flights.

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12. Cage, Crate, and Seatbelt Requirements

When traveling in a car, confine or restrain your pet (with a seat belt, crate or carrier) for safety. Generally, if a dog has been properly introduced to their crate, it becomes their safe space or den, which will help them stay calm on car rides and adjust as they encounter new places when you travel. Carrying your pet on your lap or letting them roam free in the car is unsafe as they can act as a projectile if you’re in an accident, be distracting for the driver, or interfere with the gas pedal or brake.

Moreover, it’s important to keep your pet in the back seat in case the airbag deploys on impact if you get in an accident. If your pet doesn’t like road trips or suffers from car sickness, talk to your vet about medications or behavior modification advice, like starting small with short journeys before working your way up to a full trip.

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13. Your Pet Doesn’t Have Proper ID

Being in a new place can be scary for animals, making them more likely to spook and bolt. When they get lost in a new place, they may not know how to find their way back to you and you likely have a hard deadline when you have to leave by to head back home. If you’re pet is still missing at that point, it becomes more difficult and stressful to try to find them remotely. For these reasons, your pet absolutely must have proper identification.

Make sure your pet is microchipped with up-to-date information on file and has an ID tag securely on their collar. Alternatively, consider a custom collar that has your name and number engraved on the buckle, as tags can get snagged and fall off. Consider getting a GPS tracker for their collar. Finally, be extra cautious by not taking their collar off unless they’re in their crate, making sure they’re indoors and secured during a storm or fireworks, and not letting them off-leash in an unfenced area.

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14. Not Knowing The Signs of Stress in Your Pet

So cute! Your dog is smiling for an Insta-worthy pic! Except they probably aren’t. Smiling, heavy panting (when it’s not super hot out), yawning, drooling, licking, raised hackles, and a high wagging tag are all signs of stress in a dog. Many owners mistake signs of stress for signs of excitement. Similarly, cats may excessively groom themselves, scratch, vocalize, mark, and have digestive issues when under stress.

Before you travel, have an understanding of what your pet might do if they’re stressed and have a plan to help them should they become anxious. You should bring a crate and make it den-like by draping a blanket overtop or carry a natural remedy like Bach’s Rescue Remedy for animals.

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15. Forgetting Vaccinations, Medications, and Preventions

Expect to have to produce the appropriate documentation, including vaccination records if you’re crossing any borders (by airplane or car). Each country has its own requirements around documentation, so give yourself ample time to secure what is required before you leave. There are also rules around re-entry into your own country with your pet after visiting another one so be sure to understand those so you don’t risk them being quarantined.

You should be vaccinating or titer testing your pets at home regardless, but it can be even more important when you’re traveling. Be sure your pet is up to date on their vaccinations, is on heartworm prevention, flea and tick prevention, and (if applicable) bring a pet-friendly bug spray. Consult your vet before the trip to ensure they don’t need any additional vaccinations.

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16. Sedating Your Pet

Only rarely is it actually a good idea to sedate your pet for travel – especially air travel. Pressure and temperature changes in the cargo hold are different than the cabin and your pet generally needs to be alert to handle those changes.

Furthermore, generally no one is allowed to check on your pet in the cargo hold during the flight, so if your pet has an adverse reaction to sedation, they won’t receive appropriate care. If you have concerns about traveling with your pet, consult your vet for safe options.

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17. Forgetting To Pack What Your Pet Needs

Be sure to pack all the basics for your pet, but consider what else they may need. Depending on your destination, some items that you need might not be readily available or may be very expensive, so planning ahead is best. Remember food and water bowls, medication, special toys, leash, a can opener (if your pet eats canned food), grooming tools, bedding, plastic bags/litter box and a pet stain remover (to avoid hefty hotel cleaning charges in the event of an accident).

Pack a couple of days of extra food for them so that they don’t go hungry if your flight is canceled or they get into their food unsupervised. It’s also a good idea to bring along your pet’s usual food since travel signals a change in routine, which can upset their stomachs. Be sure to note any restrictions on what you’re allowed to bring across borders as well, which might (albeit unlikely) require you to change your pet’s food in advance. For example, you are not permitted to bring lamb (even in pet food) across the Canadian-United States border.

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8 Healthy Homemade Snacks for Your Next Flight

What’s more exciting than flying?! Alright, maybe flying isn’t exciting to everyone but it means you’re traveling…and we looooooove traveling! But what’s one of the first things to fall by the wayside whether you’re taking a vacation or just jetting off for a quick business trip? Usually your healthy diet. This diet typically starts at the airport because let’s face it, there aren’t many healthy options at most airports and if you wait until the onboard café to find some snacks your options are even more limited; not to mention expensive! It doesn’t have to be this way however, you can eat healthy, save money and keep your healthy lifestyle intact while flying…it just takes a little work. Here are 8 of our favorite ideas for healthy (and easy) airplane snacks:

Avocado Smash with Plantain Chips
Avocados are an awesome travel snack because they don’t require refrigeration, they provide healthy fats to your diet and they can be mashed up with just about anything. Bring along some crispy plantain chips and you have a great healthy snack for flying. It’s even gluten –free and paleo approved!

To make: Take 1 avocado, scoop into a bowl, add seasonings of choice: lime juice, salt, pepper, garlic, hot sauce, chives, lemon zest…options are endless. Then using a fork smash the avocado with the seasonings until desired consistency is achieved.

Spicy Roasted Chickpeas
Skip the chips and instead make this easy, addictively crunchy snack for your next trip. Chickpeas are high in fibre and protein so unlike chips or popcorn, this spicy snack will also fill you up. Spice combinations are endless so you can experiment and find a flavor combination that you crave.

Spicy Chickpeas

To make: Drain a can of chickpeas, toss with 2 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp smoked paprika, ½ tsp chili powder, ½ tsp ground cumin, salt, pepper, and cayenne powder to taste. Spread on parchment lined baking sheet and bake in a single layer for 30 minutes at 400° F, shaking tray half way through.

PB Power Balls
These tasty little peanut butter power balls are about as easy to make as it gets; they’re full of energy boosting oats and protein rich peanut butter to keep you satisfied through those long flights. They’ve also got a little kick of chocolate for those sweet cravings and best of all –no baking required!

To make: Combine 1 c. oats, 2/3 c. shredded coconut, ½. c peanut butter, ½. c mini choc chips, 1/3 c. honey, 1 tbsp. chia seeds and 1 tsp vanilla in a bowl and mix until combined. Roll into 1 ½ inch balls and refrigerate until firm.

Hummus and Veggie Wrap
Hummus is such a versatile spread and provides way better nutrition than any mayonnaise based dips and spreads with its high fibre and protein thanks to chickpeas and tahini. It’s a perfect option for flying because it can stand some time out of refrigeration and won’t make your sammies soggy. Pack a couple of these easy hummus veggie wraps for a healthy snack on the go.

hummus wrap

To make: Take your favorite store bought hummus and spread a couple tablespoons onto a wrap (or a leaf of lettuce if you want to go all out on health factor) and add your favorite fresh veggies like grated carrot, tomato, cucumber, peppers, sprouts, radish, avocado, or anything else you like, roll it up, wrap in plastic and keep in the fridge until it’s travel time.

Sesame Edamame
Our favorite Japanese appetizer can also be a great (and satisfying) travel snack on the go. Edamame beans are cheap, easy to cook, rich in carbs, protein and fibre…and best of all they travel well thanks to their natural ‘packaging’.

Edamame

To make: steam some frozen (or fresh if you can find) edamame pods in their shells until tender, drain off excess water, then toss with 1 tsp sesame oil, sea salt, fresh ground pepper and sprinkle with some toasted sesame seeds. Just pack in a container for your flight and bring a little baggie for those shells.

Chocolate Crunch Bars
Candy bars and other sugar-filled, chocolaty treats are all too easy to come by at airports and on-board but they do nothing good for you. These chocolate crunch bars require a little work but are a great alternative with far less sugar, protein rich almonds, fibre filled dates and enough chocolate to satisfy any sweet craving!

To make: Bottom layer- Combine 8 medjool dates, 2 tbsp. shredded coconut,  ½ c slivered almonds, 2 tbsp. cocoa powder and pulse in food processor until well mixed and sticky. Press into small square dish. Top layer- Melt ¼ c. coconut oil and ¼ c. chocolate chips until smooth and combined.  Add 1 tbsp. maple syrup and 2 tbsp. cocoa powder, stir and pour over the date/nut base. Refrigerate until firm and then cut into squares and wrap in plastic for travel.

DIY Dried Fruit
Fresh fruit is great but doesn’t always travel so well. By the time you make it through airport security your banana is usually battered and beaten at best. The answer? Dried fruit! It’s easy to make your own dried fruit at home and it’s free of preservatives and added sugars (unlike some of the store bought stuff). It travels extremely well, fills you up with fibre and satisfies a sudden sweet craving.

Dried fruit

To make: Select your favorite fruits that are ripe but not overripe (apples, banana, mango, peaches, pears and apricots all work well) remove seeds/cores and slice to about ¼ inch thickness. Place on non-stick baking sheets and place in 170°F oven to dry for anywhere between 4-8 hrs. Drying time all depends on thickness and moisture content of fruit. Once dried, pack in bags or add to granola for a healthy travel breakfast!

Quinoa Nut Clusters
It’s no secret that quinoa packs a healthy nutritional punch and it’s a welcome addition to any diet with its abundance of vitamins, minerals and protein. Combine it with nuts and cocoa in this easy to make snack and you have a winning combination that not only travels well, but is sure to make your neighbors jealous while they pick from sad airplane snacks.

To make: Mix ¼ c. melted coconut oil, ¼ c. maple syrup or honey, 2 tbsp. cocoa powder and 2 tsp coconut flakes in a bowl until combined, add in 1 ½ c. puffed quinoa and ½ c. chopped toasted nuts of your choice (almonds, peanuts, cashews all work well, or for nut-free add toasted pumpkin seeds) and combine. Spoon into muffin liners and refrigerate until set.

FlyJoy Bars

Ok, this last one isn’t in the homemade category but lets say you get scheduled for a last minute business flight and you have no time to do your usual healthy snack prep… don’t worry because FlyJoy has you covered! These delicious, nutritious bars make it easy to enjoy a healthy snack on the go, since they’re filled with wholesome ingredients like quinoa, oats, flaxseeds, chia seeds, dried fruits and nuts. Just pop a few of these bars into your carry-on and you won’t have to worry about temptations like airport fast-food and unhealthy in-flight snack options.  Plus they come in seven fun flavors like Peanut Butter & Jelly and Cashew Cookie Dough. To get your hands on some, head to flyjoy.com.

FLYJOY

10 Things NOT to Say to a Flight Attendant

It seems that it is everyone’s dream job, jetting off to places you can only dream about. But being a flight attendant isn’t always about having fun, meeting new people and exploring new places. In fact it seems that the majority of passengers these days are downright rude, miserable and panicky. Crying babies, delays, drunken passengers and ignorance are a big part of everyday life for flight attendants. If you want to make their day just a little bit better and move from being the rude, ignorant passenger to the nice passenger, we suggest never ever saying these 10 things to your next flight attendant.

10. Is there anything else to eat?

Let’s review what happens when they load the airplane with food. The crew comes on, loads the tiny little carts with a select number of meals, sandwiches, snacks, etc and that is all the food on the plane. The plane takes off into the air and there is no possible other way of food getting onto the aircraft. If a flight attendant offers you ‘chicken or vegetables’, I assure you that there is not another option. Whatever they are telling you is the only option and if you don’t like it, that’s just too darn bad. As for flights that don’t offer anything other than a snack, same thing applies. There is one snack, take it or leave it, and next time pack your own food instead of complaining about ours.

Airplane Food

9. I am sorry to bother you but…..

The fact of the matter is if you were actually sorry about bothering me, you wouldn’t bother me. It is a flight attendant’s job to get you a drink, ensure you are staying safe, grab you a blanket if you are cold, etc. Therefore please stop saying sorry. If you actually need something that requires the flight attendants assistance, you don’t need to apologize because it is their job. On the other hand if you are ringing the call button and apologizing because you are asking for them to watch your children; “sorry to bother you but can you hold my baby”, then that is not okay. Bothering flight attendants for mundane reasons is not okay, they have a job to do to.

Call button

8. Am I going to make my connection?

Flight attendants are not psychic. Now just repeat that three times in your head. They are only privy to the information that is shared with them via the pilots, the air traffic controllers and the airport. Therefore if you are asking midway through your flight if you are going to make your connection, chances are they have no idea. They cannot predict what the weather will be like for the rest of your flight nor do they know if they will hold your plane for you. There are hundreds, even thousands of different scenarios that can play out in the time it takes you to get off the plane and run to your connecting gate that no one can in fact know the answer to this. Your best bet if you think you are going to miss your connection, is to start running, really fast once you exit the plane.

Scared Passenger

7. I will turn my phone off in just one minute.

This is perhaps the most annoying thing you can say to a flight attendant, and it may be obsolete in a few short years as cell phone use is becoming more and more common on major airlines. But for now, certain airlines make you turn off your cellular device, or at least turn it on airplane mode. Talking obnoxiously on the phone while you are sitting in your seat and the flight attendant is trying to get others settled in, brief emergency exit door passengers and making sure everyone is wearing their seatbelt is just downright annoying to all those people around you. Then to tell the flight attendant; who is ensuring your safety by the way, that they need to wait a moment while you finish you phone call is just rude. You know you are boarding the plane at a certain time, you know you have to get off your phone call, so do everyone a favor and switch your phone off when they tell you to.

Airplane phone

6. What kind of drinks do you have?

Even if you are a first time flyer, it is pretty obvious that airplanes have a select number of drinks on-board. Asking a flight attendant to list off all the drink choices is not like asking a server at a bar to list off draft choices. First off, your non-alcoholic drinks are most likely free, therefore just pick a regular soft drink or juice and ask for it. If they don’t have, they will mention something similar they do have. If you really can’t figure out something to order just reach into that seat pocket in front of you, there is probably a menu in there that lists your options. If that doesn’t help you, please just do everyone a favor and order water. Your flight attendant has 100 other people to serve and doesn’t have time to list off the 14 different drinks they have available.

withGod / Shutterstock.com
withGod / Shutterstock.com

5. Can you watch my kids?

If you look up the definition of a flight attendant, nowhere does it say the word ‘babysitter’. That is because they are not there to watch your kids. To you it may seem like the perfect excuse to hand off your baby to a stranger for 5 minutes while you run to the washroom but this is a horrible idea. What if something goes wrong in those 5 minutes and the flight attendant cannot do their job because your baby is now in their arms? Plus let’s be honest, as cute are your crying baby may be to you, the flight attendant probably isn’t going to think so when they are screaming in their face. If you want any chance of the flight attendant slipping an extra cookie your way to calm down your two year old who is throwing a temper tantrum; do not ask them to ever watch your kids for you.

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4. Can you put my bag up there for me?

If you cannot lift your carry-on bag above your head, you should not be carrying it. The rule is pretty straightforward. Your carry-on bag will likely have to be stored in the overhead compartments and guess what; you are responsible for getting it up there. Did you think that in flight attendant training they practiced lifting up people’s bags for them? The answer is no, they are not responsible for lifting your heavy bag that you tried to cram your entire life into. If you do ask this question plan on getting a dirty look shot at you by the flight attendant, followed by a snicker which will quickly remind you that placing your bag up top is your responsibility. Also don’t plan on getting any special service after you have asked this question, it is one of the most offensive.

Overhead Baggage

3. Why are we delayed?

Let’s go back to the idea that flight attendants are not psychic. Therefore if they aren’t making announcements about why you are delayed, they probably don’t know themselves. You see, contrary to people’s beliefs, the airline actually does want passengers to know what is going on. Leaving passengers in the dark about why delays are happening leads to unhappy flyers, unhappy flight attendants and an overall terrible experience. Therefore flight attendants are apt to make an announcement when they know what is happening. Delays happen, every single minute of every single day for millions of reasons. Your best bet is to sit tight because whether you know or not, it doesn’t change to fact you are stuck in a metal tube with no way out.

Passenger Announcement

2. I sure hope these pilots know what they are doing.

It is the most idiotic statement you can make, either to the person sitting next to you or the flight attendant, but they hear it all the time. Do you actually think the airline went to Joe Schmuck last week and asked him if he wanted to try flying a plane, and then just hired him as a pilot with no prior experience? NO! Of course the pilots know what they are doing. They have gone through years of training, hours upon hours of flying and if you seriously doubt that fact, perhaps you shouldn’t be flying with that airline. Do not ever utter these words, to a flight attendant, to anyone. Ever.

pilots cockpit

1. Can I get a free upgrade?

If they wanted to upgrade you for free, trust me, they would have. That’s the thing that passengers don’t quite understand about the airline world. First up, if you wanted an upgrade you should have asked before you got onto the plane because chances are, you would have had a better shot. Secondly, why would a flight attendant upgrade you for free while all those other people in first class have paid big money to sit there? Are you famous? Are you someone who deserves a free upgrade? I can almost guarantee if you ask for a free upgrade from a flight attendant they will say no, and probably not give you any free drinks either. Stop asking for things for free.

Airplane Upgrade

The Strangest Reasons for Flight Delays

After a recent incident where a British Airways flight traveling from London to Dubai had to return to Heathrow Airport shortly after take-off because of a ‘foul smell’ from one of the toilets, we decided to take a closer look and find out what other bizarre occurrences have resulted in planes being delayed, re-routed or otherwise detoured from their planned travel routes. The findings are ‘out there’ to say the least and include everything from animals on board to food incidents to irrational behavior from the crew.

Let’s take a closer look at some of these most peculiar airline incidents from recent years:

Not My Size

Peter Dazeley / Getty Images

An Australian couple who was traveling first class onboard a Qantas flight from Los Angeles to Melbourne caused a 30-minute delay of the flight after they refused to fly unless the airline provided them pajamas in the right size. The Daily Mail reported that after they were not provided with the requested extra-large pj’s, they demanded to leave the plane and were walked back to the terminal to wait for the next flight.

Crew Gone Crazy

Stephen Swintek / Getty Images

In March of 2012 CNN reported that a flight attendant for American Airlines caused major drama at Dallas Airport after some irrational behavior onboard a plane headed for Chicago. The flight attendant first got confused about where she was, asking passengers if they were in Houston, she then came on the PA system advising of a mechanical issue with the plane, which was followed up by another flight attendant assuring everyone that nothing was wrong. Things got much worse after she came back on the PA ranting about how she was no longer responsible for their safety and that the plane was going to crash. The hysteric crew member had to be restrained by 5 people and the plane had to return to its gate so she could be removed, resulting in a delay of about an hour.

Piggly Wiggly

Digitaler Lumpensammler / Getty Images

In November of 2014, the NY Post reported that a Connecticut flight was delayed after passengers became angry about an ‘emotional support animal’ brought on board by one woman. The woman had brought a 70 lb potbelly pig with her on the plane and passengers reported that the animal was pacing up and down the aisle and even ‘stinking up the plane’. The woman and her four-legged friend were asked to leave the plane as a result of the complaints from other passengers.

You’re Nuts

Flavia Morlachetti / Getty Images

In December of 2014, 250 passengers aboard a Korean Air flight at New York’s JFK Airport were delayed about 30 minutes after the company’s own senior VP caused a major disturbance. Reportedly, the VP who was sitting in first class was served some macadamia nuts in a bag. Seems harmless right? Well, the correct procedure for the service in first-class instructs these nuts should have been served in a bowl, not the bag. The irate woman began screaming at this mistake and demanded that the plane turn around and the flight attendant be removed before they could take off. The VP initially got her way as the flight attendant was removed from the flight after returning to the gate, but once this story made news the VP was forced to resign and was criminally charged with obstructing aviation safety law.

Got Any Spare Change?

John Scott / Getty Images

An Air France flight asked passengers for whatever cash they could give after their flight headed for Beirut was re-directed to Damascus due to civil unrest in the Lebanese capital city. Reuters reported the incident which occurred in August of 2012, involved the plane being forced to land in Damascus and after refueling the plane, Syrian authorities refused credit card payment for the fuel. At first passengers aboard the flight were asked to gather their cash in order to pay for the re-fueling causing a delay, however in the end alternate payment arrangements were made. Air France has since stopped flights to Syria due to increased fighting in the country and a breakdown of relations.

Rowdy Reptiles

Rithwik photography / Getty Images

In December of 2012, there were snakes on a plane. Literally. An EgyptAir flight headed from Cairo to Kuwait had to make an emergency landing in the resort town of Al Ghardaqa after a passenger was bitten by a venomous Egyptian Cobra that he had smuggled on board in his carry-on luggage. CNN reported that after biting the man in the hand, the snake got loose and began slithering under the seats. This isn’t the only reptile related issue, however; San Juan airport in Puerto Rico has had regular delays or re-routing of planes due to giant iguanas on the runway. Any run-ins with the big beasts could cause serious damage or injury as they’re reported to grow up to 6 feet

How to be Productive on an Airplane

Many of us live fast paced lives where just about every minute is planned and calculated in order to maximize productivity and get as much accomplished in our daily schedules as possible. We all know there are many ways to ‘kill time’ on an airplane (like consuming a few beverages from the cart, sitting back and watching 3 movies in a row) but what about using this essentially free time to your own benefit. It can really be a chance to do some of those things you always have on your list for self-betterment but never really seem to get to. Here are a few suggestions of ways you can actually boost your brain, all from the comfort of the plane:

Listen to a Lecture:

If you’re traveling on Virgin America in the near future you might be surprised to find something new available on the in-flight entertainment system: full A/V lectures! That’s right, a lecture company called The Great Courses’ has teamed up with Virgin to offer some awesome, IQ raising lectures and it’s all for free! Some of the interesting lectures available include High Stakes Decision Making and Ancient Egypt with many more in such categories as history, health, science, literature or whatever else your eager little mind can think of.

If you’re not flying Virgin (because hey, there are plenty of other airlines out there), you can still achieve the same cranium expanding results; it will just take a little more work. You can download your own lectures or Ted Talks or if all else fails find some interesting podcasts to download ahead of time. They won’t have the added sparkle of the in-flight system but you’ll be expanding your knowledge none the less.

Read:

Reading on an airplane isn’t exactly a new idea. In fact many, many people choose to spend their in-air time this way but the truth is that most of this reading is contemporary crud. Reading about vampires and steamy sexcapades hardly qualifies as knowledge enhancing material so instead, use the opportunity to be literate.

Bring along a classic book you’ve always wanted to read but never found the time. Catcher in the Rye and Wuthering Heights may be hard to get through at home but on an airplane where there are no distractions and nothing but time, you can easily absorb some classic literature. Alternatively, read up on something that interests you but you don’t know much about. Want to become well-versed in American History? There are books for that. Want to learn how to start an indoor hydroponic garden to grow your own vegetables year-round? There are books for that too.

Learn a New Language:

It’s hard to count the number of times I’ve heard people say “oh I really want to learn to speak…” –insert any non-English language here, but how often do we actually go ahead and work at this? Learning a new language such as French, Spanish, or Mandarin usually involves signing up for classes and committing to losing another one of our precious weekday evenings for at least a few months.

While you likely won’t step off the plane upon your arrival speaking fluent Spanish, it’s very possible to learn some basics that can be used to get your point across or help navigate a foreign city. It also might serve as a starting point for actually signing up for those weeknight classes and becoming fluent down the road. You may feel a little silly about practicing words out loud next to your neighbour but planes have enough distraction noise and they’re probably sleeping or watching a movie anyway.

Airplane Meditation

Meditate:

Slowing down and becoming ‘zen’ might at first sound like the opposite of productive but when you dig deeper and look at the benefits of meditation on the body and specifically the brain, you’ll see why this lands in our list. One of the number one reasons people do not practice regular meditation is time. Well, on a long haul flight you’re going to find yourself with a lot of that so try a meditation or 2. If you’re new to the practice, consider downloading an assisted meditation recording to your phone/music device to help guide you on the path to enlightenment.

Since meditation is usually done in an upright position, there’s no better place than right in your seat. What are the productive benefits of this practice? Well studies have shown meditation can actually increase grey matter in the brain as well as increasing happiness, quality of life and memory and decrease blood pressure.

Work/Plan:

We’ve all seen those people on airplanes who have their computers out and look to be deep at work and wondered “are they really that busy?” and while the answer may be no, you don’t have to be swamped to warrant some in-flight work time. You may not be able to get your inbox in order if wifi isn’t available but there are plenty of other ways to work offline. One suggestion is to download whatever you need ahead of time, if it’s reading this is easy. You can also draft emails and save them to send until you’re back online.

The possibilities are endless if you think about it ahead of time. You don’t have to be a business person in order to do this either. Busy parents can take this time to plan their family’s schedules for the coming weeks (or months), create meal plans, or work on family finances/budgets. All the little things that frequently get pushed to the back burner in a busy life.

Crocheting

Be Crafty:

Who has time to do crafts in today’s busy modern world? The answer: people who make time for them. If you’re like us, you’ve seen someone working on a knitting project while in a waiting room and as you look up from your Facebook app you think “hey, I should be doing that!”, and with hours flight time ahead of you, you can.

If you’re already into knitting, crocheting or the growing trend of felting, this is easy to do. Just pick a project, gather your materials in your carry on and you’re all set. By the time you land you might have a brand new hat. If you don’t know how to do any crafty things already, bring a long a book and learn to do it while you sail over the Atlantic. There are beginner books out there for every crafty hobby you can think of and you’ll have plenty of time to make mistakes and then learn from them, over and over again. Make sure you check airline safety regulations as things like scissors can be prohibited in carry-on luggage but most crafts can be modified to meet these rules.

So the next time you’re planning a big trip (or even a short one) that requires some time in the air, consider one of the above activates and capitalize on the chance to be productive and expand your ever growing mind.