Truth be told, most people don’t have nearly as many complaints about their vacation destinations as they do about the routes they took to get there. Air travel is, of course, one of the most complained about modes of transportation. So what can you do to relieve some of the stress associated with traveling by air?
10. CHECK STATISTICS
Check the statistics for the past flights offered by the airline you plan on using for travel. You can ask the bureau of Transportation Statistics for information regarding the number of flights that were on time, late, or early during a specific time period. If a regular flight, like one from NYC to Florida, is regularly leaving or arriving late you may want to choose a better airline.
9. LEARN ABOUT TIMING
The advantage to flying early in the day is that there usually aren’t a bunch of already-delayed flights in front of yours waiting to leave the tarmac. Earlier flights tend to leave on time. You should also time your arrival to ensure you’re one of the first people to board your airplane. If a flight is overbooked, the ones who were seated first get to stay and the ones still standing are left behind.
8. LEARN PATIENCE
Arrive at the airport knowing that you’re going to spend a lot of time waiting in line at the security checkpoints. Prepare for a long wait. Wear comfortable shoes. Load your favorite tunes onto your iPod. The more prepared you are to wait the happier you’ll be if the line actually moves faster than anticipated.
7. OPT FOR SMALLER AIRLINES
The larger airlines with the most flights are the ones charging the highest fares and for some reason can’t seem to get you from point A to point B without a layover of some sort. The smaller airlines, like Cathay Pacific, often offer lower prices with less frequent stops. It sometimes pays to trust a lesser-known airline.
6. PACK SPARINGLY
The cost of checking extra bags, or bags that are overweight, is incredibly expensive. It’s not just expensive – it’s excessive. Additional bags can cost you anywhere from $15 to $100 per bag, more (much more) if they’re too large or weigh too much. Pack as little as possible and make sure your bags meet your airline’s guidelines before you leave the house.
5. CALL THE AIRLINE
Did your flight get canceled or delayed? Remember, you are probably only one of more than 100 people who had plans to board that same flight. Instead of getting in line at the airline counter, find a quiet place to sit and give the airline a call. You’ll have an easier time grabbing the attention of a booking agent on the phone and will be able to easily reschedule your flight with very little hassle. Just make sure you have your airline’s booking phone number with you, either written down or programmed into your phone.
4. CAREFUL SEAT SELECTION
Every airline website publishes information about the type of aircraft it will use for each flight. Look at this information and study it carefully before choosing the seat you’d like to have. Take this information and then go to seatguru.com for information on how the airline itself lays out the plane (they do make modifications). You’ll know which seats have more legroom, which ones recline (and don’t), and which are in the noisiest areas of the plane.
3. MAKE YOURSELF AT HOME
There’s no reason for you to be uncomfortable on your flight, regardless of what section you end up sitting in. All you need to do is add a couple of small items to your carry-on bag and you’ll have an enjoyable flight. A set of simple headphones, an eye mask, and a lightweight blanket will go a long way in ensuring your comfort during your long flight.
2. NEGOTIATE FLIGHT BUMPS
Sometimes airlines will overbook and ask people to voluntarily be bumped to another flight. Never let an airline take advantage of you. Make sure they’re going to pay for a hotel room if you will be stuck overnight, pay for food, or at least give you access to their private lounge. Don’t jump to accept a free travel voucher, either. Most travel vouchers have very limiting restrictions. Ask for vouchers with dollar values instead.
1. SHIP YOUR BAGS
Worried about losing your luggage? Why not pack it up and mail it ahead of time. You can have it shipped directly to your hotel via UPS or FedEx Ground or you can use a specialized service like Luggage Free or Sports Express. The costs to use these services can add up quickly but some, like FedEx Ground, are much less expensive than paying the airline’s extra charges.
Making a few simple adjustments before you even arrive at the airport can make a huge difference in the way you feel by the end of your flight. Relax and enjoy the time you spend traveling – you’ll need to rest up before your real adventures begin.