As we embark on the start of the busy summer travel season, we thought we would share some valuable tips. If you find yourself saying one of the common phrases below, please read the tips prior to making that decision.
1) “I’ll just book the cheapest flight.
If you ever find yourself looking up flights and saying… “oh I’ll just book the cheapest one”, then please think carefully about what type of traveller you are. If you never plan to fly again after your next vacation, then you’re fine. While an inexpensive flight is certainly a breath of fresh air, you need to think towards how often you may fly over the course of the next 20 years of your life and remember that creating a relationship with an airline can pay off in the long run. When looking up flights, if there is a moderate to low cost difference, it’s often better to pick one airline and stick with it to build up your status. Remember, many of these airlines calculate lifetime miles and you may find yourself traveling in the future if you start a new job or move to a new city. Every mile counts and you can receive free flights with miles.
* Take a look at the different airlines, specifically the ones who have a hub/home base out of your area and consider choosing one preferred airline.
* Try to be consistent with booking your travel with one airline or another airline.
2) “I’ll create a frequent flyer account later.”
While returning from a group trip to Italy in 2012, the airline needed to change equipment from an A380 to a 747, leaving the airline with 100 fewer seats. When an airline is required to re-accomodate passengers, their first priority is to customers who booked direct through their airlines and those with frequent flyer accounts. That’s what we discovered when we were traveling with a group of 26 and the 5 people in our group that the airline re-accommodated to another flight were the ones without a frequent flyer account. It’s a simple proposition: the airline is loyal to those who show their loyalty. Also when you fly, you earn miles, which have monetary value. Take a few minutes to create your account today or leave money on the table.
* Never book a flight without a frequent flyer account:
• Consider downloading airlines apps on your phone to keep track of points and upcoming bookings.
3) I don’t have time to sign up for Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check
Any experienced traveler knows that time is precious. If you travel internationally, utilizing global entry drastically expedites the customs and security process in the U.S. TSA-Pre-Check is for domestic travel and security and by adding Global entry for about $15 dollars more, you can have access to expedited return into the U.S.
Fill out a few online forms and then go to the designated facilities for your interview. The process is pretty simple and saves you lots of time in the future.
* Here’s a simple walk-through on how to sign up for TSA-Pre-Check or Global Entry.
4) I’ll take any seat
When was the last time you found yourself wedged between two people who didn’t have time to grab a shower that morning? Seat selection is a critical component to your travel experience. Every time I book a flight, I have the airline website in one window and seatguru.com in the other.
Seatguru.com is a site filled with input from other frequent travelers related to details you would not find elsewhere about a plane.
These details include:
• A window seat with no window.
• Seats that do not recline.
• Seat with limited legroom
• No floor storage space for your carry on
Download the app or bookmark the site before your next flight.
5) WOW that flight was cheap!
If you choose to fly an airline like WOW airlines, Ryan air or Spirit, be advised that these airlines have:
• High baggage fees
• Fees for seat selection
• Fees for carry ons
• Fees for beverages on board or food on board an international flight (make sure to pack your dinner.)
While there can certainly be a time and a place for low-cost airlines, make sure that you are aware of the limitations and are not caught off guard by the hidden fees.
We know people can find travel to be frustrating because of cancellations, hidden fees or complications. Being forced to fly on an airline they hate or where you have no status is never ideal. Avoid these pitfall and phrases and enjoy the next destination even more.
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