Are you flying home for the holidays? Then here’s a page ripped from our hassle-free holiday flying guide. Tips to help you get where you’re going faster, with fewer problems and more money in your pocket, courtesy of Money magazine.
- Most airlines charge $40 to check two pieces of luggage. Still, checked-bag fees are usually cheaper than shipping it by FedEx or U.S. mail. Be sure your bag’s not overweight. On domestic flights, a bag that weighs more than 50 pounds costs an extra $50 to $125 to check through. So, consider dividing the contents into two suitcases. It costs less to check two normal-weight bags than one overweight one – and it’s easier to schlep through the airport.
- Remember the 24-hour rule. Don’t wait for the airline’s email reminder to check in. Instead, check in online and get your seat assignment a full 24 hours before you’re scheduled to board. That’s when airlines release the better seats held in reserve for frequent fliers and VIPs. Checking in early can also prevent you from being bumped from your flight, and moves you to the top of the upgrade list.
- Then: Program your airline’s toll-free number into your cell phone before you leave home. That way, if your flight is cancelled, you can get rebooked faster than by standing at the counter with all the other disgruntled flyers. Most airlines will book you for free on the next flight with available space. If it’ll be a long wait, ask the phone rep if you can connect through another city, or leave from a different airport. Also, ask whether a competing airline has seats to your destination, and get the rep to endorse your ticket to that carrier.
- If you want to speed through the X-ray machines, hit the security points on the edges of the airport. They tend to be less busy than the ones in the middle. In fact, to find the quickest security lines at any U.S. airport, check out the “wait time” section of the Transportation Security Administration website.