Flying has become one of the most widely used form of travel so I’ve compiled a list of tips when booking your flight and making it more enjoyable!
Booking your airfare – I’ve ready in many places that Wednesday is the magic day to book airfare as airlines will drop rates on a Tuesday or Wednesday to boost sales in the middle of the week. Truth be told, I have never benefited from this. In fact, I’ve only seen airfares increase as time goes by, not decrease. IF you would like to try your luck, try Tuesday at 3pm and if you find this trick works, please let me know!
Also, Travel sites often track your visits to the site and raise the price slightly simply because you’ve visited before. Opening the website in a new search engine when you’re ready to book or from a separate window will prevent this shady strategy.
Direct, nonstop, layover – Know the difference between direct and nonstop! Direct flights may touchdown at other airports along the route to pick up additional travelers. You do not have to get off the plane and the total travel time is built into your scheduled route; however, there is additional risk for potential delays. Not to mention the pesky taking off and landing procedures can be disruptive to sleep, book reading or movie watching.
What’s in a name? – EVERYTHING! A good friend of mine’s new husband thought it would be cute to book his wife’s honeymoon ticket under her new married name before it was legally changed…she did NOT think it was so cute when they wouldn’t let her on the plane without a fee and unnecessary red tape… Moral of the story, make sure your legal ID (passport for international travel or driving license for domestic) matches your airline ticket EXACTLY!
Forget your ID? – Don’t panic!…yet! It happens…you forget your ID or worse, it has been stolen just before your upcoming flight. The TSA can use various public databases to verify your identity and allow you to fly. Just remember to allow plenty of time to get it sorted out.
The Early Bird Gets the Worm – As the day progresses, air traffic oopsies tend to stack up which means you’re more likely to experience flight delays in the evening rather than in the morning.
Visas and other international requirements – Some countries require you to apply for a visa for tourism travel before you even leave your home country (e.g. Russia). Others require a certain number of blank pages in your passport. KNOW BEFORE YOU GO!
Free Wifi in Airports?! – I’ll admit, I’m intrigued by this tip I came across. I have yet to try it but am told by adding “?.jpg” to the end of any URL, you can bypass the costly WiFi airport costs. Alternatively, sitting outside an airline lounge will provide you enough signal for checking emails and posting those oh-so-necessary Facebook posts.
Hungry? – Ever noticed how airlines serve food sometimes from the back and other times from the front, first? A little trick I learned is that food is served from the front on even numbered flights and from the back on odd number flights. Choose your seats accordingly as popular meals tend to run out! On that note, if you typically dislike airplane food, bring some food onboard or simply eat up before you jet set.
Food for thought? The two pilots are served two separate meals in case of food poisoning.
Select-a-Seat – Pick your seats as soon as you book your flight for many reasons. The main reason being that if you wait until you arrive at the airport and all seats are taken on an overbooked flight, you could be out of luck! Further, with airlines divvying up seats and charging a fee for “premium” seating, the free seats tend to go quickly!
For people who are sensitive to motion sickness, the middle seats above the wing are more structurally supported and provide the least amount of turbulence. Hey, every little bit helps right?!
If you’re traveling with a baby, speak to a representative to get the best seat in the bulkhead if it’s still available. You’ll have a little more room and extra oxygen masks for children not assigned a seat. On international flights, I’ve seen the bulkhead offer a fold down table and a bassinet for the baby.
Take an Inch! – Arm rest window and isle seats have a button on the bottom near the joint of the rest that will release and lift the armrest up.
Pack Smart – Keep all those fun gadgets and toys you’ll want to play with on the flight in your carry-on bag that you’ll put under the seat in front of you. Avoid holding up the line to board the plane by digging through bags stored in the overhead bins.
Coodies – It’s true, tray tables are rarely (if ever) cleaned. Grab some travel disinfectant wipes to stick in your carry-on to wipe down the tray arm rest, and window for those leaning their heads on the airplane window…. Lice anyone? Further, the sink water in the lavatories are filthy and certainly aren’t potable. HAND.SANITIZER.PLEASE!
Dress appropriately – Nothing is worse than freezing, or alternatively, burning up on a plane. Wear layers that you can peel off or put on. Don’t forget a pair of socks if you’re sporting sandals during the warmer months!
H2O or bust – Jet lag can be significantly decreased by increased water intake. For every alcoholic beverage you drink, have 2 cups of water. For those who want to save a few bucks on water purchases, bring an empty bottle of water through security and refill it once you’re at your gate.
Rethink traveling with large pets – Animals are stored in the belly of the plane but while they’re sitting on the ramp they’re exposed to the loud jet engines without ear protection.
Security Lines – For those wishing to efficiently float through an airport, check out the My TSA app and WhatsBusy app for airport security wait times. You can even add your own time to share with others.
Be a security VIP – For a fee (about $85) and some advanced timing, you could qualify for TSA Pre✓. With TSA pre-check, you will dart to a separate security lane and be allowed through the screening process with your shoes on your feet, jacket and belt on and your belongings still in your bag. For the frequent flier, this is a no brainer! To join, you must be a U.S. citizen and visit a designated application center.
Duty Free – Did you know that you can buy as much liquid as you desire in a duty free shop to carry-on a plane? The only caveat is that it must be sealed in the duty-free bag by the cashier and remain in that sealed bag until your destination. If that’s not a win, I don’t know what is! Booze me!
For tips on packing, check out my packing tips and tricks blog post.
Do you have some favorite flying tips? I’d love to hear them!