Many of us are looking forward to long-awaited travel this year. So far, travel this summer has been challenging, especially when going by air. Staffing shortages are hindering airlines’ ability to meet demand. The following tips will help you deal with any interruptions in your fall vacation.

Tip 1:  ALWAYS ARRIVE EARLY AT THE AIRPORT

airport security lines

Get to the airport with plenty of time to spare. For international flights, that means arriving more than four hours before departure.  For domestic flights, you should plan more than two hours in advance.  Lines will be very long at the ticket counters, baggage check, and security.  So if you cut it too close, you run the risk of missing your flight.  Also, remember to take advantage of your frequent-flier status on the airline to check in using the preferred or first-class line.

Tip 2:  PREPARE FOR FLIGHT DELAYS

flight delays

If you must change planes to reach your destination, schedule a longer connection time than you would normally.  Even if you think you have plenty of time, a crowded airport will take you longer to make your way to another gate or terminal. 

Consider booking a nonstop flight, even if it’s more expensive.  Additionally, try to book the first flight of the day as they are much less likely to experience delays.  Likewise, don’t book the last flight of the day because that limits your options.

Tip 3:  USE CARRY-ON BAGS INSTEAD OF CHECKED BAGS

luggage for airport check in

If there’s a delay or cancellation, you won’t have to wait for your luggage to be pulled or be without your bags if you miss your connection.  Most people over-pack, so only bring what is necessary.

Tip 4:  Prepare for delayed checked baggage

Ensure you are taking your electronic devices and chargers, a change of clothes, and any needed medications in your carry-on if you check your bags.  In the event of a long delay, you’ll be glad you have them with you.

Pro tip:  Use Apple Air Tags to track your luggage so you know where it is at all times.

Tip 5:  TAKE ADVANTAGE OF CLUB MEMBERSHIPS

If you’re a member of an airline club lounge, utilize the staff at the service desk to make any changes caused by flight delays or disruptions.  They will frequently go the extra mile for members.  Also, take advantage of club-use privileges that come with credit cards you may have, such as American Express Platinum or Capital One Venture X.

Pro tip:  Some clubs have limited admission to cope with peak-period overcrowding.  Before leaving the club to head to your gate, double-check to ensure there are no potential delays.  Once you leave the club, you may have to get back in line to re-enter.

Tip 6:  DOWNLOAD AIRLINE APPS

check airline app

The airline apps are excellent sources of up-to-date information on flight status, tracking of your bags, and proactive re-booking for missed connections.  You can often make same-day flight changes for free in the app, so you don’t have to wait in long lines at the gate or ticket counter.

Tip 7:  INCENTIVES TO TAKE A LATER FLIGHT

take a later flight

If you have time to spare, consider taking the airline up on travel credits in exchange for changing your flight when your original one is overbooked.  You could rack up some free trips for later in the year.  Insist on cash credits rather than miles which may restrict your ability to redeem.

Tip 8:  REMAIN FLEXIBLE AND CHILL

There may be times when you’ll feel frustrated or angry, but taking it out on the people who work at the airport won’t get you anywhere.  You are much more likely to get help from a sympathetic airline staff member by showing empathy than by being aggressive.

Tip 9:  Extend your trip by a day or two

Think about adding a few days onto either side of your trip. If you’re going away for a weekend, a flight delay could mean you lose valuable time at your destination.  A cruise or tour is no different.

It will help if you plan on arriving at the starting point a few days before the event.  You don’t want to miss your vacation because of a flight delay.  Your travel advisor can help you arrange a hotel and car rental, if necessary.

When planning your fall vacation, please don’t hesitate to contact us to offer expert advice on where to go, where to stay, and which flights to take.  And if there’s a delay or cancellation, rest assured you will have a human you can quickly contact to help resolve the issue.