“How was your flight?”
That will be one of the most common greetings this week as millions of Americans hit the skies for Thanksgiving.
For most, the answer will be “the flight was fine, what’s for dinner?”
And based on what I’m seeing here early Wednesday morning, it’s relatively smooth sailing, despite a winter storm that’s barreling across the midwest. The biggest problems at mid morning were 16-minute delays at LaGuardia and Miami.
After years of covering the Thanksgiving travel season, I think it’s fair to say that despite all the warnings, travelers, airlines and airports have the drill down by now. TV crews stationed at airports ready to reveal a big holiday travel mess aren’t finding much to report on.
Nonetheless, with the attention paid to flight delays and cancellations, let’s review some smart “travel skills” about how to avoid, or deal with an air travel delay situation. You might need this advice on Sunday or Monday… or later this winter!
Recently CNN invited me out to the airport to talk about how travelers can best deal with delays and cancellations- here’s the nut of my seven tips- watch the video [below] for the full story.
1) Book the first flight of the day. The first flight usually spent the night at the airport, and does not need to fly in from somewhere else. Early flights are usually cheaper and less crowded, too.
2) Learn to live out of a carry on bag. I know this is easier said than done, but doing so can make or break a trip. TIP: Wear (and pack) all black! Thinking about shipping luggage ahead of time? Read this first!
3) Be sure airline has your updated contact info. When was the last time you updated your personal profile info? How will the airline reach you?
4) Be sure you have the latest version of the app of your airline downloaded to your phone. Also, use apps like Tripit, FlightStats, FlightAware, LoungeBuddy and HotelTonight if stranded. Note that most airlines no longer pay for hotel stays due to weather-related cancellations.
5) Buy day pass to airline airport club. Best $50-$60 you can spend. However, ask to take a peek into the club before you fork over the fee- many times clubs are more crowded than terminals! Use the LoungeBuddy app to locate your options.
6) Don’t stand in line if your flight is canceled! Get online or on the phone instead.
7) Know when to ask for a FULL REFUND! Did you know that airlines must refund your money if they cancel your flight for any reason? This only applies to cancellations or extreme delays.
Please take a watch for my tips and advice! How do YOU handle (or avoid) delays? Please leave your comments below!
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