If you’d like to take an airplane trip without feeling like you’re participating in a cattle drive, listen up. Here are a few tips for stress-free flying, courtesy of Peter Greenberg a.k.a. “The Travel Detective” and Best Life magazine:
- First, ship your luggage. Greenberg points out that there are basically two types of bags: “carry-ons” and “lost luggage.” By shipping your stuff separately, you can save 2 hours of bag-dragging, checking your luggage in, and waiting at the baggage carousel to see if you and your bags ended up in the same city. Door-to-door delivery is available from 17 courier companies, including FedEx, UPS, and Virtual Bellhop .com. Boy, peace of mind and a wrench-free back for about $40 bucks a bag. Such a deal!
- Next, don’t call the airline and ask if your flight’s on time. They’ll simply tell you if it’s scheduled to leave on time! Instead, ask for the tail number of the aircraft, and where it is now. That way, if you’re leaving Boston in two hours, but your airplane is still in Belize, you know your flight’s not leaving as scheduled.
- Go where you’re NOT supposed to go. In other words, if you aren’t checking luggage, and you’ve got an early-morning flight at a double-decker airport, get dropped off at arrivals instead of departures. Nobody arrives at 6:00 a.m.! Then, just take the escalator upstairs and go through security to your gate. And at your destination city, get picked up at the less-crowded departures level.
- If your flight is delayed or canceled for any reason OTHER than weather, invoke “Rule 240.” If you bring it up, so-called “legacy” airlines, like American, United, Northwest, Delta and US Airways are required to put you on the next available flight on any airline. Not just their next available flight. Just remember, some low-cost airlines, like Southwest and JetBlue, don’t have to comply with Rule 240. Because they have no ticket-trading agreements with other airlines.