The Biggest Mistake People Make on Airplanes, From the World's #1 Frequent Flyer

airline travel tips
Harper and Harley

Few passengers know the insider secrets of airline travel like Fred Finn. The traveler has logged more than 13 million miles in the air, which earned him the Guinness World Record for most air miles flown by a passenger, a title he's held since 1983. He's visited 139 countries (many countless times), crossed the Atlantic by plane more than 2000 times, and spent much of the last 52 years in the sky—who better to share their secrets for the ultimate in-flight experience?

Travel+Leisure met with Finn at the Crystal Cabin Awards Ceremony in Hamburg and asked him to open up about his exact travel ritual—the routine that helps him beat jet lag, the biggest passenger faux pas, and the worst thing nervous travelers can do. Here's how the world's number one frequent flyer makes traveling a breeze.

The Biggest Mistake Travelers Make

"Don't drink to get drunk before you go onboard. That's the worst thing you can do," says Finn, noting that it'll make nervous flyers feel even worse.

His Cure for Jet Lag

Finn has a carefully honed in-flight routine to minimize jet-lag when he lands. "The minute they close the aircraft door, I set my watch to the place I'm going to and I live on that time," he says. "When I get there, I go to bed at local time. And any jet lag, per se, is gone when I wake up in the morning."

He also tries to avoid stressing about packing or flying the day before he travels, which he believes contributes to jet lag. "First off, people are worried about flying the night before; they're packing. Then, the time comes to go to the airport and they are worried about whether the car will make it, and whether they'll make their check-in time," he says. "When they land, they have to go through immigration, customs, get in a car, get to their hotel. They've been up for twenty hours."

The Best Way to Hydrate Skin

Finn adopts a fairly no-fuss approach to skincare, shrugging off masks and serums. Instead, he keeps it simple: "What I do is I spray water on my bare skin and every hour or so I close my eyes for 15 minutes," he says.

The Most Annoying Thing Passengers Do

His ultimate pet peeve isn't crying babies or talkative passengers. "No, it's the people who when I'm asleep on the plane grab on to the back of my seat to go out. Also, if I'm sitting on the aisle seat near the front of the aircraft, how many times I get banged by some guy with a big backpack."

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