29 July 2009

Air Travel Tips

If you haven't flown in a while, major changes have taken place in the airline industry in the last few years. Don't forget to check your passport way ahead of your international travel time due to some restrictions by certain countries (see my July 23, 2009 post on "Important Passport Information...").

Airplane food is something you haven't seen in quite awhile and probably won't be seeing again unless you're on a flight of several hours or traveling international. So if you want to eat while you're in the air and not pay a small fortune for trail mix or a pre-packaged sandwich, either bring your own snack or eat before you get on the airplane. Many airlines no longer give free peanuts/pretzels and soft drinks due to sever cost-cutting measures.

In the past luggage could be checked in at no cost. Several of the major airlines are now charging $15.00 for the first piece of checked luggage and $25.00 for the 2nd piece (if you check in online). If you check in at the airport, each piece is an additional $5.00. Check with the individual airline for their luggage policy. Remember: never check anything you can't live without; that includes medicines, jewelry, valuable papers, etc.

Plan for trouble! What will you do if you miss your plane or you have a travel delay due to inclement weather? Most airlines now give text, email and/or telephone alerts if they know about delays or flight schedule changes. But what happens if you're already at the airport on the first leg of a trip with 2 or 3 plane changes? What happens if you miss your connecting flights?

Be careful in duty free shops. Due to the limit on the size of liquids (3 oz. containers) that can be brought on board planes, this can be a major problem. Also, be sure you know the price before you pay in a duty free store as there are not many bargains.

There's lots to think about when traveling in today's airline world: "direct" vs "non-stop flights", upgrades, leg room, what to put in carry-on luggage, seat assignments, acceptable identification and documentation, stand-by, flyer miles etc. So: GOOD LUCK and have fun traveling.