Tips to Prepare for Your Next Flight

AdobeStock_229411618.jpeg

Travel has rebounded like never before, and with the influx of people coupled with staffing and equipment shortages, preparation and patience are essential to a smooth flight. Potential hassles travelers are running into include long lines and wait times, canceled and delayed flights, limited services, and crowded planes and airports. Use the following tips  to ensure your next trip goes as smoothly as possible. 
 
Confirm All Plans
Most travelers have grown accustomed to planning a trip and making all flights, accommodations, and other bookings many months ahead of time, with any changes made with plenty of notice. However, because of the uncertainty of the pandemic, last-minute changes have become more common along with constantly changing restrictions. Confirm your plans and prepare to be flexible in case of any last-minute schedule adjustments. In case of cancellations, come up with an alternate plan since last-minute inventory is scarce and prices for accommodations are higher. With COVID testing requirements changing daily as international borders open, schedule appointments ahead or purchase an approved at-home test accepted at your destination or for your return home. Other tips include:
 
  • Confirm all reservations at least a week before departure to address possible disruptions
  • Book all refundable tickets, if possible
  • If traveling internationally, pay attention to formal announcements
  • Have more than one plan for getting an eligible COVID-19 test for arrival and departure. 
 
Leave Plenty of Time 
The travel surge has left many airports with multiple hour waits for checked baggage and security. Even lines for getting your rental car or checking into your hotel have been longer than usual due to staff shortages. Plan to leave plenty of extra time at the airport and take advantage of ways to skip lines. 
Other tips for limiting waiting in line include:
 
  • Fit belongings into a carry-on bag to avoid checking a bag, if possible
  • Use online check-in to print or save your boarding pass to your phone
  • Apply for expedited security programs like TSA PreCheck, Global Entry, or Clear
  • Look out for any eligibility for airline or hotel upgrades, sometimes included as a benefit with many credit cards 
 
Pack Essentials in Your Carry On
If you can’t travel without a checked bag, make sure you plan ahead with your carry on. Especially if you have a layover, packing some essentials in your carry-on bag will ensure your preparedness in case of any situation. Especially during this travel season, there is always a chance of flight delays or cancellations and very long gaps between your original flight and the next flight you can get on. In the event of a cancellation due to maintenance, shortage, or weather, some airlines will provide you with a food or hotel voucher, or basic amenity kit. Other tips:
 
  • Always pack a change of clothes and essential toiletries like contacts, a toothbrush, and prescription medication
  • If your flight is canceled or delayed and you are stranded overnight, keep your receipts when purchasing necessities to potentially be reimbursed by your credit card company or airline 
  • Book your flights with a credit card that has trip protection 

‚ÄčPlan for Meals and Snacks
Many airport lounges and restaurants  remain closed. Those that are open are experiencing ingredient shortages and long lines.  Some flights have a very limited or nonexistent inflight food menu. Don't depend on airport or airplane food options if you know you need a meal or snack.
Tips for eating:
  • Leave extra time if you plan to eat at the airport 
  • Pack snacks along, especially if you are traveling with kids or have dietary restrictions
 
Sources: 
 
Posted: 8/13/2021 11:42:40 AM