If you are traveling this summer, you will find that the airport lines are much longer than usual. Everyone seems to be traveling these days. Europe especially has had numerous problems. Here are a very tips and trips to help you.
- ARRIVE TO THE AIRPORT EARLY!
If you are planning to check any bags, ensure you allow a minimum of two hours before a domestic flight and four hours before an international flight. Security lines have been much longer and so have lines to check baggage. It’s always less stressful on everyone involved if you have ample time.
2. CARRY ON BAGS IF POSSIBLE
Not having to check bags will save you much time. There is generally enough room to place your bag under your seat and in an overhead bin. Instead of waiting at baggage claim, you’ll be able to proceed right to immigration or to your final destination!
If there happen to be any problems to the flight you are able to travel on, if you do not have a checked bag, you have the option to fly stand by.
When my flight from Munich to Atlanta was cancelled I was one of the lucky few who was able to be rebooked on a flight leaving an hour later. Others had to wait to claim their bags and couldn’t leave until the next day.
If you do check a bag, make sure you have a piece of paper inside the bag with your name and contact info on it. I’ve seen suitcases lose their tags multiple times. This includes a personal tag on the suitcase. If you can add the dates and flight information, that would be a huge boon if your bag goes lost.
Always take a photo of your luggage and the tag number too.
If you feel as if you can survive on you vacation without an item don’t take it. This will help you to save room in your luggage. Don’t forget that most travelers will come home with more items than they take. Additionally, you can always buy items at your destination.
Note that come international locations are very strict about the weight of your bag, including carry ones and have all liquids in Ziplock quart sized bags. Make sure you have some extra ones ready to go.
4. CHECK IN ONLINE AND SIGN UP FOR NOTIFICATIONS
I always recommend checking into your flight online before hand. While you may have to still show an agent your passport at the airport, you will have the piece of mind of knowing you’ve told the airline you intend to travel. If you are traveling internationally, print a paper copy of your boarding pass at the airport You may need it for security purposes.
I also highly encourage you to sign up for the airline app and enable notifications about delays and cancellations. The online systems are quicker than humans.
5. ASK A GATE AGENT FOR SEAT CHANGES EARLY
Speak to a ticketing agent as soon as your arrive to the airport, they will have more options than you see online. The key is to do so early while seats are still available.
6. STAY AT THE AIRPORT OR WITHIN ITS VICINITY IF YOUR FLIGHT IS DELAYED
If your flight is delayed by several hours that is one thing, but if it is two hours or less, stay at the airport. There have been times I was working as a gate agent where the delay time was shortened.
7.IF YOUR FLIGHT IS CANCELLED WAIT IN LINE TO REBOOK AND ALSO HAVE YOUR SMART PHONE HANDY
If your flight is cancelled and you are trying to rebook it at the airport, always wait in line to do so. But you can also be trying to rebook it online as well. What will happen is that the airline’s AI technology will automatically rebook you, however, you can also use social media or the chat feature on the airline’s site to find other options. I used twitter to get rebooked on an Delta’s partner, Lufthansa.
All airlines have what’s called interline agreements with other airlines. It means if there is a problem they can technically rebook you on their partner. What they don’t tell you is they don’t like doing this because they lose the ticket revenue. The airline’s prefer to always start with whatever alliance your airline is a part of (One World, Star Alliance, or Sky Teams).
8. BE AWARE OF TRAVEL DOCUMENTS
If you have to have a COVID test, visa, or other type of document, make sure you are aware of this before you travel! You don’t want to have your plans ruined.
Also check the date of your passport. I’ve seen people try and travel on expired documents. It won’t work. Kids passports are good for 5 years and adults, 10. You need at least 6 months of travel validity on it.
9. KEEP RECEIPTS FOR EVERYTHING
You never know when you may need a ticket number, or a receipt if you are making a claim with travel insurance.
10. STAY POSITIVE
Airline employees are treated like dirt. A little kindness goes a long way. Much of what happens if beyond their control. Remember, you are not the only passenger they will be assisting and it can wear on them. If you can say thank you, or merely acknowledge them, it may be the only time they hear it that day.