Tips for a Smoother Summer & Fall Vacation
For many of us, this is the summer of long-awaited travel plans. Unfortunately, airlines are having challenges in staffing to meet the demand. Here are some tips we’ve compiled for you to help deal with any interruptions in your trip.
TIP 1: GET TO THE AIRPORT WITH PLENTY OF TIME TO SPARE
For international flights, that means arriving three to four hours before departure. For domestic flights, you should plan on two hours in advance. Lines are going to be very long at the ticket counters, baggage check and security, so if you cut it too close you run the risk of missing your flight. Also, remember to take advantage of any frequent-flier status you have on the airline to check in using the preferred or first-class line.
TIP 2: PREPARE FOR FLIGHT DELAYS
If you must change planes to get to your destination, schedule a longer connection time than you would normally. Even if you think you have plenty of time, a crowded airport means it’ll take you longer to make your way to another gate or terminal. Consider booking a nonstop flight, even if it’s more expensive. Additionally, try to book the first flight of the day as they are much less likely to experience delays. Likewise, don’t book the last flight of the day as that limits your options.
TIP 3: USE CARRY-ON BAGS INSTEAD OF CHECKED BAGS WHENEVER POSSIBLE
This way, if there’s a delay or cancellation, you won’t have to wait for your luggage to be pulled or be without your bags if you miss your connection. Most people over-pack so only bring what is necessary.
TIP 4: BE PREPARED FOR DELAYED CHECKED BAGS
If you do check your bags, make sure you are taking your electronic devices and chargers, a change of clothes and any needed medications in your carry-on. In the event of a long delay, you’ll be glad you have them with you.
Many travelers have found that placing a digital tracker, such as Apple Air Tags, in their luggage gives them peace of mind in knowing where their bags are at all times.
TIP 5: TAKE ADVANTAGE OF CLUB MEMBERSHIPS
If you’re a member of an airline club lounge, utilize the staff at the service desk to make any changes caused by flight delays or disruptions. They will frequently go the extra mile for members. Also, take advantage of club-use privileges that come with credit cards you may have, such as American Express Platinum or Capital One Venture X.
TIP 6: DOWNLOAD AIRLINE APPS
The airline apps are great sources of up-to-date information on flight status, tracking of your bags and proactive re-booking for missed connections. Often you can make same-day flight changes for free right in the app, so you don’t have to wait in long lines at the gate or ticket counter. Some clubs have limited admission to cope with overcrowding at peak times. Before leaving the club to head to your gate, double-check to make sure there are no potential delays. Once you leave the club, you may have to get back in line to re-enter.
TIP 7: CONSIDER INCENTIVES TO TAKE A LATER FLIGHT
If you have time to spare, consider taking the airline up on travel credits in exchange for changing your flight when your original one is overbooked. You could rack up some free trips for later in the year. Insist on cash credits rather than miles which may restrict your ability to redeem.
TIP 8: BE FLEXIBLE AND “CHILL”
There may be times when you’ll feel frustrated or angry, but taking it out on the people who work at the airport won’t get you anywhere. You are much more likely to get help from a sympathetic airline staff member by showing empathy than by being aggressive.
TIP 9: ADD DAYS TO THE TRIP PLAN
Think about tacking a few days onto either side of your trip. If you’re just going away for a weekend, a flight delay could mean you lose valuable time at your destination. The same goes if you’re taking a tour or a cruise. You should plan on arriving at the starting point a few days early. You don’t want to miss out on your vacation because of a flight delay. Your travel advisor can help you arrange a hotel and car rental, if necessary
TIP 10: CONTACT OUR TRAVEL AGENCY
As travel advisors, we are here to assist our clients. Your safety, health and well-being are our top priority. We provide available information, so our valued clients can make informed decisions about their travel plans. If you are still in the process of making plans to travel this fall or winter, please don’t hesitate to contact us to offer expert advice on where to go, where to stay, and which flights to take. And if there’s a delay or cancellation, rest assured you will have a human you can easily contact able to help resolve the issue.