How To Breeze The Airport
Departures and jet-setting made smoother, care of Richer Poorer and Stab’s most well-travelled staff.
International travel is intoxicating. The thrill of departure! The promise of leisure and exotic flavours! But before you can get the brie, you must navigate the maze. Airports, in short, can be rather unpleasant. Though, this needn’t be a blanket truth. Despite much of Stab’s glamour being a facade, and in spite of our general self-loathing, we do consider ourselves rather skilled, collectively, when it comes to navigating those awful places where planes come and go. So we teamed up with our dear friends at Richer Poorer, and with the help of some of surfing’s best sock producers, whipped up a three pack including a board sock (protect that prized foam), a pair of socks, and a notebook for good measure. Something like a travel’s log, or even better, Captain’s Log. And present to you a collection of tips to de-clutter your airport experience.
Richer Poorer produces some of today’s finest socks, so naturally we collaborated with them to produce today’s finest board sock. Because whether your blades are bouncing around in the trunk of your car or your loading up that coffin, an extra layer of protection’s never a bad call.
Consult a few different sites to compare prices before you book. Kayak isn’t always the cheapest, and if you’re flexible with dates, SkyScanner is really helpful.
If you’re looking for flights on sites like Kayak, and you’re going to come back to it a day later, always clear your cache after use. Make no mistake: They’ll up the prices. If you’re booking a trip with multiple flights, look at booking through a travel agent if the price difference isn’t ridiculous. Changing flights while on the road through sites like Kayak, Expedia or Vayama can be painful, and usually quite expensive. Changing flights with a travel agent usually takes one email.
Exit rows are a double-edged sword. You’ll have more room around your legs, but you’re more likely to find yourself sitting next to a large gentleman, leaving you with zero shoulder room. So when you’re choosing your seat online, assess how full the plane is before grabbing an exit row.
Wherever you go, with these three items you’ll be ready. Collect your thoughts or doodle in the notepad and always wear socks; the ground at the security line requires a buffer.
Board straps are essential for any trip. You can’t assume there will be a maxi taxi waiting to pick you up.
Have meticulous surf kit. You don’t want to be chasing wax, leashes, or fins when you land. And seriously: Tie downs, always.
Three boards is all you need.
Always take a pair of trunks (stretch preferable). No matter how cold. Hot springs, spas, training, yoga, whatever.
Always take a little neoprene, no matter how warm the location. Even Fiji and Indo get cold on occasion.
Don’t overpack your carry on. If you have to open at the scanner, you’ll be a shitshow.
Don’t dress lazily just because you’re boarding a long flight. Attractive women travel too, y’know. While avoiding pants that don’t require belts will make airport life easier, don’t opt for sweats. And, don’t carry too much paraphernalia in your pockets.
It’s a widely-held belief that a nice pair of shoes and a button up shirt will go a long way towards getting an upgrade. And circumstantially there may be truth to this, although there’s very little evidence to support the theory. But, being well dressed will ensure no one questions your presence in express lanes (where you likely shouldn’t be).
Always ask for an upgrade or better seat. Always. Ask nicely, but don’t be desperate. They can do it, but it won’t happen unless you ask.
Flying with a, erm, less generous airline, and have to pay a lot for boards? Have an associate wait at the back with all your crafts, check one in, and when they ask you to take it down to oversized baggage, fill the rest of your coffin up with your surplus boards. (This only works if oversized baggage and the check-in desk are in different places, but it does work.)
Knowing your airport codes are a sign of the well-traveled, wearing them down your leg is in vogue.
Enjoy idle time, rather than loathing it. Given current Wi-Fi standards (at most airports), you can work productively without distractions. There’s much to be said for the mental comfort of checking-in early, burning through some work, and flying at ease.
Be overly nice to anyone and everyone you encounter at the airport. Kindness is always appreciated whether it’s at check-in, security, or at the gate. When things go wrong, you don’t want to be the guy who was being an asshole 10 minutes prior to the person whose help you now need.
Boarding last can work if the flight is relatively empty – you can pick off a three-seater, or at least recon all the empty spots.
The earlier point about not wearing sweats still stands. But, if you have a lightweight pair, pack them in your carry-on and, once you’ve confirmed that you’re not sitting next to an attractive member of your preferred gender, change into them once you’re in the air.
On long flights, a sleeping pill of some description, earplugs, neck pillow (depending on preference) and an eye mask will make the world of difference.
Forego the bread roll you’re served with the in-flight meal. And if you can bear it, opt for the vegetarian dish. You’ll thank yourself later.
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