David J. Danto
Business travel thoughts in my own, personal opinion
Things Only Frequent Travelers Know Ė May 2022
†This is going to be difficult. We are looking at pent-up demand from years of a global pandemic combined with a reduction in service by the US airlines who are short pilots and other staff.† Add to that the usual painful aspects of air travel nowadays and you have the makings of a miserable summer.† To make your lives just a tiny bit easier, Iíve compiled a list of things usually only the most frequent travelers know, which Ė in ways big and small Ė can make the journeys a little better.† Maybe you already know all of these, but hereís a list just in-case you donít.†
∑ Tracking your flights Ė your aircraft Ė is something the savvy traveler always does.† Many times an airline will show a flight as Ďon-timeí when it canít possibly be because the arriving aircraft will be late.† There is a website (Flightstats.com) that offers a paid service ($2.99 per month) to enter your flight information and set-up notices of all kinds.† Theyíll text and/or email about departures, arrivals and delays.† If you travel a lot itís worth the expense to have this independent, real-time source of whatís going on sent directly to you.† In addition, know what your alternate choices are if your airline cancels your flights.† Is it another flight on the same airline, or a direct or connecting flight on another airline?† If you are prepared with the best alternate then youíll be more likely to obtain it with a call or on the counter while other travelers are still trying to figure things out.
∑ If you can manage to travel without checking any luggage then that is definitely the right thing to do Ė it minimizes the risk of loss and saves a boatload of time not waiting for bags to be returned.† If you do need to check one or more bags, be sure to attach something to them so that they can easily be identified on the luggage belt.† For one example, handle wraps are inexpensive to purchase and can make your bag stand-out.† For another, ribbons of a unique color tied to the handle are also a decent idea.† Itís also a good idea to put at least two sturdy luggage tags on your bags in different places (top handle and side handle for example) in case one pulls-off.† Additionally, be sure your name and flight itinerary is in an outside pocket of the bag in case everything attached is pulled-off or lost.† Itís like traveling with an umbrella Ė if you bring it it probably wonít rain.
∑ If you take medicine like air-sickness pills and/or anything else, itís a good idea to put the dose youíll need for flight day in a small pill-box that fits in a shirt-pocket.† Itís far easier than digging in your other belongings to take the medications out in the airport or during a flight.† There are many inexpensive choices one can buy on-line or in stores.
∑ As a bigger than average person I always book an aisle seat for my flights.† When I board, after I put my rollaboard in the overhead bin, I reach under the aisle side armrest and press the secret button near the back that releases the hinge.† Lifting up the armrest allows bigger travelers to have an inch or so of extra room into the aisle, and makes getting into and out of the seat MUCH easier.† Sometimes flight attendants ask me to lower it for take-off and landing, sometimes they donít.† Either way it can stay in the up position for the majority of the flight.† Oh, and if some novice traveler comes up to me and asks me to swap the seat I meticulously prepared for so they can sit next to their friend or family, my standard answer is ĎIíll happily swap for any equivalent seat.í†† If Iím in an aisle in Economy Plus then thatís all Iíll swap for.† Other peopleís failure to effectively plan is not a reason for me to give-up the arrangements I went out of the way to make for myself.
∑ I hope this one is obvious, but just in case it isnít, DONíT DRINK THE WATER COMING OUT OF THE BATHROOM SINKS ON A PLANE.† It sits in a tank on the aircraft that is not cleaned out or disinfected nearly as often as it should be.† Wash your hands in it if you must, but then always use hand-sanitizer afterward.† You donít see flight crews hoarding huge bottles of water because they like the look of the bottles.† They know the on-board water canít be trusted.
∑ When you arrive at your hotel room, before you unpack anything, check everything.† Is there a hair dryer?† Does it work?† Is there internet in the room and is it working?† Does the room have the view or the proximity or features that you asked for?† The time to find out that something is wrong shouldnít be after youíve already put clothes in the closets.† The time to find our there is no hair dryer or it doesnít work isnít when you have a wet head the next morning.
This will be a bumpy (and expensive) traveling summer.† Prepare as much as you can to make it as easy as it can be.†
If you have any tips youíd like me to add to this list just send me a note and Iíll update it and repost in the future.†
This article was written by David Danto and contains solely his own, personal opinions.
All image and links provided above as reference under prevailing fair use statutes.
Copyright 2022 David Danto
As always, feel free to write and comment, question or disagree.† Hearing from the traveling community is always a highlight for me.† Thanks!