Lessons learned from being Up in the Air

neck-pillow
Did
you know that worldwide nearly 3 million passengers fly every day?
And according to the Air Transportation Association of America, on an
average day about 1.8 million passengers are up in the sky over the
U.S. on 24,600 flights. In 2012, it was 3 million passengers around
the world on 37.5 million flights. I have been up in the air a few
times. Some will say that my times have been many, but I also know
more people that do fly quite a bit. You will realize that 3 million
passengers on 37.5 million flights means that there are many frequent
fly-ers.
There
are a few lessons that I have learned a long the way, and these are
what I will share with you.

Travel accessories: neck pillow and eye mask
Plan
I wish I had known this for my first
flight. It was a night flight, so yes I could sleep, but not that
much. If you are as curious as I am, then you will probably ask for a
window seat as you check in or get one when you check in online.
There you can get to admire the creation from hundreds of miles
above. If you have a far for heights, then make it a point to carry
some music and or a book or have your computer loaded with movies. I
have noticed that majority of the African destinations however long
do not have screens on the seats. So, you have to enjoy the communal
cinema which may not be that clear but also watch a movie that may
not be your choice. And you always have to keep looking up, to watch
the movie. Not at all comfortable. If you are planning to sleep,
carry a neck pillow and an eye mask If you are a business flyer, they
will probably be given to you, if not; its always better to carry
one.
The crew are at work.
Now, I didn’t know much about aviation
until a couple of weeks ago when I met someone whose perception of
being up in the air, changed my life. This was his job. And he loved
it. He woke up every day looking forward to smiling at strangers. And
putting his life at risk, so as to be of service. For us that travel,
what we do not realize is that, while it may once a year, or once a
month, the person at your service does this almost every day. So do
not be there reason that they are unable to show up at work the next
day. Some of us yell and demand our rights and make weird demands
which are sometimes met. [Like : can I have red wine with ice] Be as
nice to them as you are to the secretary at your work place, your
house help at home, waitress or waiter in your favorite restaurant
because this is what these people are. I remember having a chat with
a flight steward and he told me that there is a day he remembered
something that a passenger had sent him for almost 24 hours later.
Now that is hilarious, but then again, if you are working on Boeing
with 200 passengers and about 25 people make demands, you will
definitely forget a few things.

 It is okay to disconnect

I think that this life has got us all
worried about nothing especially with the age of technology. Many of
us will not take 5 min minutes without looking at a phone . And at is
only because we feel obligated to do so.” I may miss something
important on Twitter or Face book. Or Yahoo may shut down without me
knowing it.” That is what we always think. But having spent hours on
end flying, I realize how important it is to actually take time to
disconnect. Now you may not be able to fly, but one thing is for
sure: you can take a bus to your village or a road trip to a place
you haven’t been. You can walk to your workplace or from your
workplace for about an hour everyday. Oh, for those of you, who are
Ugandans and love to hop onto a boda boda…it is okay to take time
and use a taxi, brave the heat and the traffic jam. It brings you
closer to reality. Take a book and read, catch up with yourself. This is what long journeys like these help you to accomplish. [In my opinion]

It is okay to connect

I know that earlier I was an advocate
for disconnecting, but I realize that once I get into a plane or onto
a bus, all I want to do is get to my destination. So I don’t even
take time to find out what my neighbors name is, or where they are
headed. Now the few times that I have done so, have been amazing. I
had made friends, partners, collected business cards and whoa! I am a
better person. Once you disconnect, then you need to connect with
something. Connect with people next to you. Talk, tell stories, watch
and learn. If they are a friendly, it will be a short journey. If
they are not, it may be a long one, but then you will have tried. If
you are flying business, then your movements may be restricted. [I
think, I may not be sure]. This is definitely the African in me
speaking. For some it is an abomination to speak to strangers. But I
do not mind it.
Be comfortable
Comfort is always a priority for me 
I love to be comfortable I don’t know
about you. So, I usually avoid high heels and wedges and prefer
loafers or just flat shoes without laces. This is because walking in
them from one terminal to another while in transit is in my opinion,
a lot of work. Then again, there is usually not enough room in front
of your seat, depending on what you are flying. So it is not like you
can stretch your legs far, plus you will probably be seated all
through the flight. Avoid wearing a belt and anything else that will
bleep when you go through the security checks. This includes
jewelry, and for the ladies bras with metal in them.
This is stuff that we all already know.
But I also realize that 3 million passengers a year from a world
population of 7.056 billion people in this planet is such a small
fraction. And so, many look forward to either their debut flight or
are already planning one. Whatever it is, I hope that you have
learned one or two things from here.

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