Prevent Travel DISASTERS With These 10 Tips!

Prevent Travel DISASTERS With These 10 Tips!

To say that flying can be complicated these days is probably an understatement (maybe even the understatement of the year).

If You’re Planning to Travel, Be PREPARED

Take flight delays and cancelations, coupled with mishandled luggage and reduced flight schedules, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. With the Labor Day holiday quickly approaching, there could be a greater potential for big crowds and intensified problems. So what can you do to avoid a total meltdown at the airport? We’ve got 10 tips!

1 –Don’t Miss Out on a Helpful Online Tool

The US Department of Transportation has launched a NEW Airline Customer Service Dashboard to help you with some of your flight needs. Thanks for this new dashboard, you can see (all in one spot) information about the services that airlines provide to “mitigate passenger inconveniences” when there’s a cancellation or delay within the airline’s control.

In other words, This service can help you know whether an airline has committed to providing a particular form of compensation if there is a delay or cancellation within the airline’s control.

Know What You Might Be Able to Get

The green check means they have committed to providing that service, while the red x means they have not committed to providing that or may only provide it in some circumstances at their discretion.

Remember that this doesn’t apply to ALL delays or cancelations, but does apply to ones within the airline’s control like “maintenance or crew problems; cabin cleaning; baggage loading; and fueling.”

©Department of Transportation

The website also has links to each airline’s customer service plans so you can learn more about what their policies are.

Before you fly, be sure to check on the policies of each airline you’ll be flying with. You may also want to bookmark the Department of Transportation Dashboard website so you can go back to it later if needed.

2 — Pick an Early Flight

If you want to give yourself the best chance of getting to your destination on time, consider taking the earliest flight possible. As Scott Keyes (founder of Scott’s Cheap Flights — a travel advice site) told WDSU News, “The earlier you book your flight, the better the odds it will go smoothly because…weather tends to be better in the morning than the afternoon…But also because You don’t have the risk of domino-effect cancellations.”

Flying Early Can Get You Where You Need to Go

So that 6AM flight you had been hoping to avoid? It might be best to book that one right away.

3 — Download the App for Your Airline (and Other Helpful Apps)

Another pro tip is to download the app for whatever airlines you’ll be flying with. Each airline typically has its own app and these can be incredibly helpful.

The apps can show you where your plane is coming from, whether it is delayed, when it will board, etc. If your flight does happen to be canceled or delayed, some of the apps will let you rebook your trip right then and there through the app — no need to visit a Customer Service desk or get on a call. That can help you save precious time and make things go smoother.

©American Airlines

But that might not be the only app you’ll want to download. WDSU news also points out that the FlightAware app can help travelers get alerted to flight changes, so that might be another one to check out.

4 — Use TSA Pre-Check If You Can

If you’ve already got or will be able to get TSA Pre-Check before your next flight, that can also help speed things up. With TSA Pre-Check, you won’t need to remove your shoes, belts, 3-1-1 liquids, laptops, or even light jackets. It can help your screening process go faster. In fact, in July of 2022, 95% of TSA Pre-Check passengers waited less than 5 minutes.

Pre-Check Can Help Cut Down on Waits

To apply, you can apply online, schedule an appointment at an enrollment center, and get things completed from there. The application fee for TSA Pre-Check is $85 for 5 years.

Some applications can take up to 60 days for processing, but most applicants will actually get their approval notification within 3-5 days, so if you think you’ll be able to get this service arranged before your night flight (or maybe you want to sign up for another security service that can help speed things up) that might be worth considering.

Click here to see how Orlando International Airport is making it EASIER to skip the lines with TSA Pre-Check

5 — Pick a Nonstop Flight

This might sound obvious, but If your flight doesn’t have any connections, it can help you get where you need to go with (potentially) fewer delays, so a nonstop flight should be something you consider. Even if your nonstop flight gets delayed, you won’t have to worry about missing a connecting flight to ultimately get where you need to go.

Where will you fly to?

It might not always be possible or financially feasible, but it’s something to consider when looking at flight options. And if the difference in cost isn’t astronomical, spending more on that nonstop flight might ultimately be worth it for peace of mind.

6 — Do NOT Check a Bag

Again, this is probably an obvious one, but it’s a tip to truly take seriously. If you want to ensure smooth traveling during a particularly busy season, try to stick to carry-on bags. If your flight ultimately gets delayed or canceled and you have to rebook or make some swift changes to get where you need to be, it’ll be a LOT easier to do whatever you need to do without having your bag stuck in the belly of a plane.

Speaking from experience, sometimes airlines may not be able to get your bags off of an already loaded plane if you have to make a last-minute change due to flight delays. That means you might have to go one path while your bag continues on your original path — not exactly ideal.

Stick to the Carry-On Bags!

If you’re heading to a place where the stuff in your bag is not essential, then this might not be a worry. But if you’ve got important outfits, documents, or other things in that checked bag, it could be one big headache.

So stick to a carry-on bag, or at least make sure that everything you absolutely NEED (including any and all important documents) is in your carry-on!

Click here to see what to do when an airline BREAKS your luggage

7 — Know About Your Right to a Refund

We already talked about some things airlines might do if there’s a delay or cancelation within their control (like rebooking you on another airline at no additional cost), but, according to the US Department of Transportation, “these commitments do not impact your entitlement to a refund.”

The Department of Transportation points out that “If an airline cancels a passenger’s flight or makes a significant change in the flight, regardless of the reason, airlines are required to provide a prompt refund to a ticketed passenger, including those with non-refundable tickets, should the passenger choose not to accept the alternative offered, such as rebooking on another flight.”

You Could Get a Refund

You can visit a Department of Transportation website to read all about your right to a refund and when that comes into play. The important thing here is to know what you’re entitled to so you don’t get less than what you deserve if things do go awry.

8 — Give Yourself Enough Time

Another big thing you can do to ease travel stress is to give yourself enough time (aka MORE time than you think you need) to get everywhere you need to go.

Try not to book connections that are super close. If you’ll only have 10 minutes to run from terminal A to terminal D, and your first flight gets delayed, you’ll likely be out of luck making that connection. See if you can give yourself more wiggle room between flights to account for potential delays.

Don’t Put Yourself in a Stressful Situation

The other thing you’ll want to consider is what day/time you’re flying. If you are flying into a town for a specific event — like a wedding or something — try to fly in at least 1 day before the big event. If you leave your trip for the day of the event and your flight gets delayed, you’ll be stuck in a really tough situation. Also, don’t plan on hopping off your flight and making it to your dinner reservation in 30 minutes. Give yourself OODLES of time to get to where you need to be.

And finally, TSA Pre-Check or not, remember to give yourself enough time to arrive at the airport, get through security, and make it all the way to your gate (ideally with time to spare) so you aren’t rushing through the airport to get there at the last minute. Arriving hours in advance might not be ideal, but it can save from you bigger problems in the long run.

Labor Day is expected to bring around 764,600(!!) travelers just to Orlando International Airport.

In other words, be prepared for some serious crowds!

9 — Be Informed

We’ve covered a lot of information about airlines that could help you make a more informed decision when choosing who to fly with. For example, you can click here to learn about the WORST airlines according to traveler complaints.

You can also click here to see what US airlines have the most travel delays and cancelations.

Orlando Airport

Wondering what airlines are more likely to Lose or damage your luggage? You can click here to find out.

If a particular airline is the ONLY one you can pick to get from point A to point B, then you may not be able to change any of your plans based on this info. But knowing the good (and bad) about these airlines can still help you go in better prepared in terms of what to expect.

10 — Prepare for the Worst, Hope for the Best

Finally, one of the things you can do to really be prepared for travel during Labor Day or any other busy period is to be prepared for the worst (but hope for the best).

When booking your flights, see if there are alternative flights that day that could still get you where you need to go in case your original path ends up being impacted by delays and cancellations. Having a backup plan can really make things easier if it all goes wrong.

Have a Backup Plan in Place

You can also look into buying things like Apple Air Tags to help you keep track of your luggage in case it does get lost.

©Amazon

The key here is to just be prepared. You can’t prepare for all potential situations, but preparing for some can help things run smoother.

What are your top travel tips for busy seasons? Tell us in the comments!

To see more travel news, click here to learn about why travel might be getting cheaper. You can also click here to see what it costs to fly to Disney World in the fall of 2022. Stay tuned for more travel news!

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What are your top travel tips for busy seasons? Tell us in the comments!

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