It will be just as crazy on the roads. AAA is projecting travel by car will reach its highest level since 2005 with 54.3 million Americans driving 50 miles or more this Thanksgiving, a 4.8 percent increase over last year. Trains will offer little relief. It’s Amtrak’s busiest week of the year.
If you haven’t booked your flight yet (what in the world are you waiting for?) choose the first flight of the day. Earlier flights have a better chance of taking off on time. Delays accumulate throughout the day. If an early flight is canceled, you also might have a chance of jumping on a later flight.
Download essential apps to your phone or tablet long before you get to the airport. Start by downloading the app for the airline you’re flying. Airline apps have varying levels of usefulness, but most will update you on your flight status even before you depart for the airport.
Several airlines apps, such as those for Delta and American, allow you to track your luggage. Your airline app is also important for entertainment. Many, such as Southwest and Alaska, only offer streaming entertainment to your personal device. There are no seatback screens. Most also offer access to customer service representatives.
Consider checking a bag rather than using a carry-on. Full flights often mean no space in the overhead bin. Checking may cost an additional $25 to $30, but it takes the stress off of searching for space in the overhead. It will also make the boarding process move much quicker.
Do your part to make the line at TSA checkpoints move faster by shedding coats, shoes, and belts while you’re standing in line. You don’t need an associate’s degree from Pole Dancer Community College to know that you should be stripping while waiting. Empty your pockets, or remove your laptop from its case. You know you’ll need to do these things once you approach the scanner, so why not start early? The TSA has made an effort to improve service at checkpoints, now it’s your turn.
If the weather is looking questionable before your flight, regularly check the airline’s website. Many offer the option of rebooking without an additional fee as inclement weather approaches. If you run into problems with delays or cancellations, don’t be afraid to tweet at the airline or post to its Facebook page. I’ve found that I get very quick responses from tweeting to the airline. I once got booked on a new flight when I was about to miss a connecting flight just by tweeting.
Whether it’s on social media, on the phone, or in person, don’t lose your tempter with the gate agent or service representative if problems arise. Trust me, they also wish your flight wasn’t canceled or delayed. A little civility goes a long way.