Humans are creatures of habit and everyone has a specific routine when flying. What to pack, when to pack, when to arrive at the airport and what to do once on board. It differs from person to person and depends on whether you are flying for business or leisure.

Now that I fly regularly, I find I have a set routine that I follow all the time when I am travelling.

Home Routine

Some people pack for long haul travel days in advance but I find it easier to pack the night before. I put together all the clothes I wish to take and put them in my suitcase. Toiletries are last as I pack those the morning of travel after I have showered and dressed.

When the time comes, I leave for the airport so I arrive around about 2 hours before departure.

Airport Routine

At the airport, the first port of call is the check-in desk where I hand over my baggage and then it’s straight to security. Usually I am lucky enough to have fast-track security meaning the lines are small and I will be through very quickly.

Flash money is needed next so I swing by the currency exchange desk and get money I will need on arrival for taxis and what not. Shopping at the airport does not interest me at all, so the next port of call is the lounge.


Here my routine varies. When I am in Dublin and connecting on, I may have a snack or some soup and check my social media using the free wireless Internet. Occasionally I will read a newspaper. In London, I will generally treat myself to some Champagne and a meal in the lounge.

I like to get to the gate before boarding is called as I enjoy being one of the first on the aircraft. Sitting on board is more fun to me than sitting in the airport so I like to be on the flight as soon as possible.

Short Haul Routine

Boarding the flight, I stow my carry on and then sit down and relax while other passengers board. On short haul flights, we take off and I will eat the complimentary meal or I will buy a meal on board. It passes the time and airline food is very edible. Besides, I will usually want to review it so I’ll be snapping away with my iPhone as I do so.

Some flights are so short that it’s a mission to eat before descent. Food is attacked with gusto and then it’s time to hand it back and land at my destination.

Long Haul Routine

Long haul, I will browse the movie selection once in the air and pick something I want to watch. On rare occasions where I am given pyjamas I will pop into the toilet and change into them before settling in.

Meal service will happen and I’ll eat everything I’m given. Complimentary drinks are all for the taking and I am not shy about matching wines to my courses. The hours will be passed watching movies. At dinner time this can be difficult as I like to interact with the crew as I am served. At some point I try to sleep.

During the night, visiting the cabin crew is always fun. Great conversations occur during the middle of the night and it passes the time for all parties. Avoiding DVT is important so finding a quiet doorway for some stretches is a must at least once. Later it will be more movies or some television shows.


While the cabin lights are still down, I will change back into my usual clothes. This is best done about an hour and a half before landing to avoid the wake up toilet rush. It’s then breakfast time.

On the ground getting up immediately to collect my cabin baggage is my usual routine. It is nice to stand after lounging for so long as everyone knows.

Arrival Routine

Running the gauntlet at immigration – especially in the United States – is a trying experience. I like to get it over and done with as soon as possible. Once admitted, it’s off to baggage claim. From there I find either a bus, tram, train or sometimes a taxi and head off to my hotel.

Overall Thoughts

Business people like to work on board and set aside time for this. Some lucky people choose to sleep the flight away. Others play with their kids or pace the aisles or read.

What is your travel routine or on board routine when flying? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

Guess what, kids? You can find me on Twitter and Instagram too!

Featured image via British Airways, other images via oneworld alliance media.