18 Top Strategies for Making Your Flights Easier – Flight Planning Part Deux
There were so many strategies and ideas to share about flight planning they just didn’t fit in the last post! So here we go! A great list of flight planning strategies:
Flight Planning Strategies
When choosing your flights:
*Earlier flights have less chance of delays as planes don’t have a chance to “back up”.
*Traveling off peak means less people in the airport. Seems obvious but do you REALLY think about it when booking a flight?
*Booking that 6:00am flight might sound good now….but you may regret it on departure day! However, as noted above they are cheaper and less chance of delays.
*Actually look at your layover times to be sure they are realistic and convenient. If you give yourself one hour to connect through Miami on a Sunday from an international flight, it’s a “legal” connection but you probably won’t make it.
*If money is an issue, book a red-eye flight to avoid a hotel stay
*Use your preferred airline as much as possible to gain status. You’ll be rewarded with free baggage and possibly upgrades. Often it’s worth paying a bit more to stay loyal. When pricing out airline tickets, you need to include ALL the fees because add-ons can add substantially to the overall price. Get used to it, this is the new pricing model for the airlines.
*Plan FUN into your travel day (more coming on that!)
*Pick your own seats with www.seatguru.com. I usually pull up the site while I have the agent on the phone or the res pulled up at the website. All seats within the same class are NOT equal, especially on long haul flights. Avoid bathrooms and galleys which can smell and are high traffic areas as well as bulkhead seats in the center which have bassinets for the crying babies which often are found in them.
When Booking Your Flights:
* Check prices often or better yet, sign up for fare alerts. www.Kayak.com will do this.
*Book your ticket on a Tuesday morning when there is less demand online.
*Book online to save airline booking fees but if you have questions, call them to get your answers. Trying to find answers on the web can be time consuming and frustrating.
*If you get an agent on the phone that doesn’t “get it” hang up and call back to get someone else. All agents ARE NOT created equal.
*While we’re on the subject….Agents are trained to get you off the phone quickly and their call times are tracked. When your time is up, often so is the service. Thank them and call back.
*BE NICE. Simply asking the agent how their day is going or where they are located will make you seem like a real person to them. Slay them with kindness and you’ll get much farther. Fist pounding doesn’t work so much any more because there is so much of it.
*Once you book a ticket you have 24 hours to cancel with no penalty (most airlines). Use this to your advantage to catch a great fare but DON”T forget to cancel if you need to.
*Often regulations are nebulous and agents have flexibility on rules even if they say they don’t. If they promise something to you, ask them to put it in your record and email you. Remember, if you have been nice on the call, you’ll get farther!
*Check alternative airports. Often, flying out of a small regional airport is less expensive.
*It is also easier to check in and go through security at a regional airport. If you fly a lot you’ll get to know the counter agents and they will often cut you slack. It’s a calmer experience and well worth it.
Example: I was running late for my flight out of Missoula, Montana; I had to slow down as I nearly ran into a huge bull moose on my road – seriously – and arrived too late to check my bag. Unfortunately, I had a toiletries bag with me containing liquids over 3 ozs. The counter agent said she would just keep my bag under the counter for the weekend and I could pick it up on my way back through. I guarantee that would never happen at LAX or DFW!! Sure enough it was waiting for me on my return. I LOVE regional airports!
Send us your great tips, we love to pass on any information that helps people travel easier!