Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Airline Travel Tips

Today Yahoo travel has a good start for air travel tips "20 Tips from Air-Travel Insiders". I fly about once a month, so let me add a few more insights, and some local tips.

  1. From Fredericksburg, it's just as quick to get to Richmond International as any of the DC airports. It's 11 miles further than Reagan-National, however, if you're coming home on an afternoon you'll enjoy the Northbound commute on I-95 much more. With the additions of AirTran and Jetblue in recent years, fares have become much more affordable.
  2. Speaking of Richmond, if you fly on Sunday afternoon, or any evening flight, you can breeze right through security. The last two flights it was just me and 5 TSA agents at security. They are a lot friendlier when it's quiet like this, however, you will probably get your bag scanned closely since there isn't anything else to do.
  3. Roll-on luggage may be small enough to be considered a carry-on, however, it will not fit down the isle, so pick it up by the handle and give the isle seats a break on all the bumping.
  4. Always get in the line security without the family with children. It never fails that earings, belt buckles, pocket change, or something else will send several of them back through the metal detector.
  5. It bears mention here, although you'll be told it 3 or 4 more times, don't bring your full shampoo, toothpaste, liquid gel, etc. in your carry on. After several years of this, I see someone's items being tossed about every 2 trips through the airport.
  6. Always double check your seating 24 hours and again the morning of your flight. There are almost always better seats open.
  7. On seating, check http://www.seatguru.com/ for some insight on what the best seats are. I prefer closer to the front, window (to avoid all the bumping in the isle), or even middle if it's the difference between the front of the plane vs after exit row.
  8. When parking your car, use your cell phone camera to get a photo of the parking space. Invaluable info after a few days away.
  9. When your flight gets cancelled (notice I said 'when', if you haven't had this happen yet, you will), don't freak out, there isn't anything you can do that will bring the flight back. Calmly call the airline # and get rebooked - they seem to be much quicker on the phone than the agents at the desk.
  10. Keep your fingers crossed that the pilot has the safety set on his gun.

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