As a frequent airplane traveler I have become pretty accustomed to airports, TSA security check points, parking and getting from point A to point B in airports and beyond. I have written a few posts on helpful travel tips and today I have an updated list that will hopefully help make your airline travel a bit smoother during the coming vacation months
*Transportation to and from the airport can be stressful. If you plan to park your car for an extended time remember it will most likely be a bit costly. There are usually Park and Fly lots available at a lower cost per day so search your local area for those. Many airports also have real time parking apps that help you find out if the parking lots are filled up. Trust me it helps to know before you go if you are not going to be able to park on site. The one I used at Minneapolis is located here and was always very helpful in seeing availability and calculating rates, etc. There are also phone numbers you can call to find out how much parking is available.
*Other options for getting to and from the airport that may or may not be available in your area are Uber and Lyft. Both are downloadable apps for your phone that allow you to arrange a ride from your location immediately. There is no need to pre-schedule and while I have not used Lyft I have had great success with Uber in both NYC and Las Vegas. It is much cheaper than conventional cab rides and is a fun way to get from home to airports to other locations.
*Know the rules of your particular airline. A little preparation ahead of time by simply going to their website can save a great deal of time and disappointments upon arrival. Know what the rules are on luggage sizes, cost for luggage and how to transport pets.
*Live and breath the 3-1-1 rule. It applies to EVERYONE flying in the US. No liquid more than 3 ounces each in a 1 quart bag with 1 allowed per traveler. I am the queen of stuffing a 1 quart bag full of stuff. Another tip–have it already bagged BEFORE you got through security to save time and frustration. Sometimes there are bags available at check points but don’t count on it
*TSA Pre Check is a great perk if you have it. It can now be purchased for $85 for a 5 year period but you must apply for it ahead of time. Click here to find out how to get approved for TSA Pre Check.
*Once in the security line please make sure you are ready. Be a Scout –prepared to take off your shoes, coat, belt and that lovely accent scarf that you have donned to complete your airport attire. Have your liquid bag out, your laptop and anything else that needs to be scanned. If you are ready you can move quite quickly through the line.
*If you know what you are doing you will be best served to avoid lines with families and frail o people or people in wheelchairs. This is not being mean-spirited but is just a fact that if you get in a line with strollers and walkers and wheelchairs it is going to take longer.
*Once you are in the boarding area PAY ATTENTION. The time on your ticket that says “Board Time” is not an absolute but you need to be there by that time to ensure that you hear all of the instructions for boarding. The flight attendants and gate staff can be very helpful but only if you ask. Gates do change and being there early ensures that you are able to hear gate changes as they are made and adjust.
*Board when it is your zone. Most airlines board by designated zone with a few exceptions. Pat attention and don’t board if they have not called your zone. Do not block the boarding area so that people have to walk around you. Common courtesy will get you a long way.
*I usually fly Delta and have their app on my phone. It allows me to download my mobile ticket (no need to print one off), check my flight status, track my luggage (you can see when it is placed on the plane and taken off), view gates and see other information about the flight that is needed. It is very helpful when making connections because I can see what gate I am going out on the next leg when I land if it has not been available prior to boarding. It helps to know before I deplane if I am going to have to make a mad dash across the airport to catch the next flight.
*Most airlines have their own magazines in the seat pockets. These can also be a great source of information including maps of most major airports as well as listing any food, beverage and entertainment options available on the flight.
*Finally, BE NICE. Everyone gets stressed out, flights don’t always take off on time and weather happens. Polite conversation and treating people like they matter makes a huge difference in both their treatment of you the traveler and the person who is working to make your trip successful.
Hopefully your travels will be smooth and carefree and with a little preparation ahead of time you will fly with a smile on your face. Tell me in the comments where your next trip is —each comment supports our May Comments for a Cause –SAFE.