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Traveling can be a necessary evil for many physicians each year for job interviews. One common travel method is by airplane. If you are not a frequent flyer, this can add additional stress to you prior to the interview. So, what do you need to know before flying?
For many airlines you need to check into your flight 24 hours before takeoff to not only confirm your seat on the flight, but to also get your boarding position or seat for the flight. If you are flying on an airline like Southwest, getting and A or B boarding group will help you to get on the plane quicker to choose your seat. Some airlines like American will allow you to choose your seat prior to the flight, but some may not allow you to get a seat until check-in. Once you check in you can sometimes upgrade your seat or change your seat to your preference.
If you are on a long flight you may need to occupy your time to avoid boredom on your flight. Pack a tablet, book, magazine, or whatever else you can easily do on the plane. Wi-Fi can be purchased on many flights, but if you are not wanting to purchase it make sure that you download anything you need prior to the flight. You should also keep in mind if you are bringing a carry-on that your bag or suitcase meets the airline's guidelines.
If you are interviewing the same day that you are flying into the city, make sure to keep any documents you need for the interview in your carryon or personal item (briefcase/backpack/purse). You should also consider putting your interview outfit into your carryon or personal item in case there is an issue with your luggage. This will prevent you from needing to go into your interview in a casual outfit or not having documents needed.
If you are checking a bag or need to get a printed ticket you will want to make sure you have plenty of time to do this. The line(s) for the ticket counter or to check your bag(s) may be long depending on the time of day that you go, so you want to make sure that you have time to do this and still go through security without missing your flight. If you are not familiar with TSA, make sure you check out the guidelines for what you can bring, travel tips, and more info on the process. Arriving early will also give you time to get a snack, drink, or find your gate without having to run around the airport.
Weather, mechanical issues, and other unexpected events can delay or cancel flights. Make sure that you have your main point of contact's contact information saved somewhere that you can easily access to inform them of any changes to the flight. This will help them adjust your itinerary for your visit to make sure that this is not a wasted trip.