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Top Ten Tips for Flyers

Top Ten Tips for Flyers

The Traveling Professor has over 2 million air miles under his belt.  He has taken hundreds of travelers all over including Canada, Europe, and South America.  Here are his Top Ten Travel Tips for flyers:

Have Global Entry:  Whenever I use it, especially Global Entry, I am thankful for the HOURS it saves me.  For instance, The Professor just returned from Toronto, Canada where the passport control line was in the hundreds of passengers who did not have Global Entry.  However, the Global Entry line was empty and took about 90 seconds to get through.   It would have taken at least 30-40 minutes on the non-Global Entry line. 

Have TSA/Pre Check: All travelers must go through security before their flight.  There are usually two lines.  One if for those without TSA/Pre Check and there is another line for those with TSA/Pre Check.   On rare occasion, the TSA/Pre Check line is longer but getting through the TSA/Pre Check line is easier because shoes do not need to be removed and laptops do not required to be removed from carry-on bags.   By the way, many credit cards pay the fee for TSA/Pre Check and Global Entry.

Carry-On Only:  All experienced travelers will tell you that it is probably never necessary to check bags unless they are traveling with golf bags or skis.  The Professor travels with carry-on luggage whether going on a 5-day or 50-day trip.  

Sit Near the Front of the Plane:  Do this, especially if a connection needs to be made.  Getting out of row 9 is going to be 15 minutes faster than getting out of row 46.  It might even be worth the money to pay for a seat closer to the front. 

Get a Travel Credit Card:  I travel enough where the cost of a premium travel credit card is justified for me to have lounge access.  But less expensive cards give priority boarding and free checked bags. 

Try to Travel from Smaller Airports:   Parking is cheaper and the experience is a whole lot less stressful.   For example, tomorrow I have the choice of flying into Atlanta (ATL) or Chattanooga (CHA).  I'll take Chattanooga any day.  No busses, no trams, no hassles.  My ride will pick me up right outside within 2 minutes after getting off the plane. 

Buy Tickets Directly from the Airline:  Avoid buying airline tickets on secondary sites like Expedia or other travel portals.  Why?  If there is a problem with a ticket, the airline takes care of you last, if at all.  They may send you right back to the place of purchase just adding another layer of bureaucracy and hassle onto the process.  

Don't Stop at the First Restroom You See:  This might sound a bit weird but right after getting off your flight, a restroom break might be needed.  Whether it be a small or large airport, the first restroom you see is going to crowded with waiting "customers".  Strolling down the the next restroom might provide faster "relief".

Connecting Flights:  Connecting flights, especially international connecting flights, may be less expensive, but they pose the risk of travelers missing connecting flights.  This is why it is important to sit in the front of the plane and not having checked luggage when there is a connection.  When taking a connecting flight try to make sure the connecting flight is not the last flight of the day.  So, if the connection is missed, there is a "backup" flight leaving later.  Also, book connecting flights all on one reservation.  For example, on a Traveling Professor small group tour to Peru, we book a ticket leaving from Cusco (CUZ) connecting with a flight in Lima (LIM) back to New York.  If I book the ticket from CUZ to LIM on one airline, then the connecting ticket from LIM to New York on another airline, there could be a problem if the flight from CUZ to LIM is late and the connection is missed.  The connecting airline may then say it is not their problem the other airline's flight was late - and the flyer may face expensive re-booking fees. However, if they are all booked on the same airline, the airline is on the hook for getting you back to  New York even if the originating flight caused you to miss a connection.

Uber and Lyft Can Save Parking Fees:  It is not unusual for airport parking fees to be $15 or $20 a day.  On a 2 week trip that could add up to $200-$300 in parking fees.  An Uber or Lyft could be a lot less expensive.  They also drop passengers off directly at the terminal thereby avoiding the dreaded transfer bus to/from the parking facility.

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