Travel Advice/Travel Tips - Flying
tips - the all-in-one guide
Most airline trips are uneventful. However, you can
take steps to reduce your chances of encountering problems. Here is a
set of tips for "defensive flying."
- When selecting a flight, remember that a
departure early in the day is less likely to be significantly
delayed than a later flight. Once the air traffic systems
experiences difficulties, the "ripple" effects continue
throughout the day.
- If you book the last flight on the daily
schedule and there has been delay, you may find your flight
being cancelled, as air crews are limited in terms of the duty
hours they can serve.
- If you have a choice between two connections
and the fares and service are equivalent, choose the one connecting
through the less-congested airport to improve the odds of remaining
- In addition, consider potential adverse
weather when choosing a connecting city.
- If returning to the U.S. on an international
flight, you will have to clear customs at your first stop within the
U.S. Allow extra-time between flights for this requirement.
- Many passengers have a preferred times to
arrive (usually early afternoon) and airlines set their schedules to
deliver passengers based on these preferences. Often, a hoard of
flights will land and the same time and the rush for the Arrivals
Hall is amazing.
- You will have to fight the crowds, pass
Immigration, clear Customs, reclaim your bags, re-check your bags,
and, usually, travel to another terminal to catch a “domestic”
flight to reach your final destination.
- Safeguard your ticket after you receive it.
Losing it may have financial consequences. Keep a separate record of
the ticket number.
- Do not forget to carry a photo ID when you
fly. Airline security requires that you provide a photo ID
to claim your ticket or pass security. You may also need to
show the credit card you used to purchase your ticket.
- Make sure your name on the ticket is the same
as it appears on your I.D. As soon as you receive your ticket, check
to make sure all of the information on it is correct, including your
name. Have any necessary corrections made immediately.
- Keep checking the fare to your destination
after you buy your ticket. Fares change all the time and if that
same fare goes down before you fly, the airline will often refund
the difference: however, you have to ask.
- Call a day or two before your flight to
reconfirm your reservation. Flight schedules sometimes change, and
while airlines usually call to notify you if this happens, it’s wise
- Check in early. Call the airport and
check with your airline about their "check-in" policy.
- Check in times for domestic and international
flights are not the same. The standard recommendations (as of
2006) are 60 minutes if not checking baggage, 90 minutes if checking
baggage and 2 hours when flying to international destinations,
- Airlines may rescind specific advance seat
assignments 30 minutes before scheduled departure if you have not
checked in, even if you already have your boarding pass.
- You can lose your entire reservation if you
haven't checked in 30 minutes before scheduled departure time on a
domestic flight (longer on international flights). .
- Examine your ticket immediately after
checking in for each flight (leg) on your trip. Airline agents
sometimes accidentally lift two coupons instead of one.
- If you are "bumped" because your flight is
overbooked, read the Overbooking Notice on the back of your ticket,
then ask for a copy of the rules mentioned in that notice.
- This information applies to overbooked sales
and situations when your flight operates and leaves you behind; it
does not apply to canceled or delayed flights.
- Before agreeing to accept a travel
voucher as compensation for being bumped, ask about restrictions
that may be placed on the voucher. For example, with some
vouchers you can't book a reservation more than a week before
- Put a tag on the outside of your baggage with
your contact information. If you are uncomfortable providing
details on your home address, provide information at work.
- The airlines provide free stick-on tags.
- Many air carriers also have "privacy tags"
which use a flap to conceal this information from prying eyes.
- Place contact information inside each bag
(usually the telephone number where you can be reached at your
- Verify that the agent checking your bags
attaches a destination tag to each one. Check to see that these
tags show the three-letter code for your destination airport.
Remove tags from previous trips to avoid confusion.
- If your bag arrives open or unlocked,
check immediately to see if any contents are missing or
- Report any baggage problems to your
airline before leaving the airport.
- Be sure to fill out a lost or damaged
luggage form and ask for a copy.
- Often your bag will arrive later in
the day. Ask the airline if they will deliver the bag
without charge, when it is found.
- Open your suitcase when you get to your
destination and check its contents. Report any damage to
contents or pilferage as soon as possible.
- Make a note of the date and time of the
call, and the name and telephone number of the person who took
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