Taking a plane is still the quickest way to travel long distances in comfort and style, so for summer vacations in far-flung places it’s the only way to go.
Of course there are things you can do to make your life easier when the day of your flight rolls around, so take heed of the following tips if you want to avoid common mistakes vacation-goers make.
Choose direct flights if possible
In the past, you could save a bundle by taking more circuitous routes to get to your final destination, with stop-offs and layovers a frugal move. However, in an era of staff shortages and disruption, flying direct is far more sensible.
Even if a direct route costs you more, it’s a price worth paying unless you are absolutely committed to keeping costs down and you don’t mind the likelihood of delays and outright cancellations hanging over you.
Check out details about the airport you’re flying to, e.g. Charlotte Douglas International
It’s always wise to do a bit of research into any airport you visit before you arrive, and while the hub you’re flying out of is obviously important in this regard, it’s also helpful to know about where you’re arriving into as well.
Take Charlotte Douglas airport as an example. It’s handy to know things like average wait times, amenities, transfer options and peak periods of use so that you can adjust your plans accordingly.
All you need is a couple of minutes to read through relevant info on an airport, and you’ll potentially steer clear of snags during your journey.
Having to check a bag into the hold of an aircraft before a flight, and pick it up afterwards, adds lots of time to your travels in normal circumstances. But with the aforementioned issues impacting the industry right now, it’s better to bring minimal luggage with you and instead just choose a carry-on case that can be taken into the cabin with you.
Part of the reason for this is that there’s a chance that you’ll be forced to take a different flight than the one you originally booked because of over-subscription, so not needing to worry about getting your baggage transferred will be a weight off your mind.
Bring drinks & snacks
Another aspect of air travel to be aware of right now is that airports are encountering staff shortages in their hospitality areas, which means that you won’t have the same level of variety available to you if you’re looking to fuel up before or after your flight.
This means having filling snacks packed with you, as well as a reusable bottle to be filled up at water fountains, is advised. Obviously not every airport is being as badly affected, but it’s not something you should leave to chance.
It’s always recommended that you arrive 2 hours ahead of a domestic flight, and 3 hours ahead of an international flight. But again, in order to account for the likelihood of some aspect of the process getting derailed, if you can turn up even more in advance of your departure time, that’s ideal.
Being able to check in ahead of the rest of the passengers will limit the chance of your seat being taken, and will also mean that if a flight does get delayed or outright canceled, you can act quickly and change your plans with thinking time to spare, rather than in a last-minute flurry.
This summer, it’s a case of hoping for the best but planning for the worst if flying is on the cards, and you’ll be glad you did all this prep when your vacation eventually kicks off.