Tips for Small Airports Around the World
1. If a small airline comes through the aisle with a booze cart before take off, drink. There’s usually a good reason. The doors on the overhead bins may fly open on take off, and it’ll keep you from being too concerned.
2. If you are called to the cockpit of a plane in India or Bangladesh go. Chances are good that you didn’t know you needed to point out your luggage on the tarmac before boarding, and you’ll see your lone bag directly in front of the plane and need to gesture to get it loaded into the luggage hold.
3. Don’t expect a jetway. Sometimes things are better without one if it’s made of plywood or some other not-so-stable material.
4. If the pilots, flight attendants, and mechanics all stand outside the plane looking at smoke coming from the wing, and then shrug and board, everything should be fine.
5. If you are told to take your baggage onto the plane, look for a meshed area in the back and lob your luggage over the net.
6. If there is only a departure card to fill out when you’re going through immigration and entering a country, fill it out. It’s likely they’ve run out of entry cards, and, well, you know.
7. Do not expect a boarding announcement. When there’s a sudden surge toward the gate, go with the flow.
8. If you enter a country after 6 pm, do not expect to be able to change money. This will make paying for a taxi and tipping at the hotel ridiculously difficult.
9. If you see me in a line to go through immigration, do not follow me. I have a gift for choosing the slowest line.
10. Talk to your cab driver when leaving the airport. This is the best way to get a quick read on all sorts of things in a country. Last month, my driver in Kenya filled me in on the economy, the state of coffee farming, the country’s president, and what had changed in Nairobi since my last visit.