Sunday, June 4, 2006

Sleep in your own bed

As I mentioned in an earlier post, it took me 23 hours to make it from Raleigh to Quebec City for my conference. This is up there with some of my worst travel delays, but this one wasn‘t the least bit unpleasant.

Here are the promised travel tips. I used every one of these this trip, and #3 contributed to making it a not so bad experience. My record for being trapped in airport hell was a 38 hour trip a few years back from St. Louis to Portland, Oregon. Hurts just to think about that one.

My short list of travel tips:

  1. Tip #1: Never fly into the abyss. If a hub is having a weather problem you do not want to go there. Once you are at the problem hub there is little anyone can do to help you. You're just one of thousands needing assistance, and you're not going to find anyone who cares about your situation.
  2. Tip #2: When there are delays information is your best friend. Know everything you can about: your flight, your connecting flight (where is it? is it on time, in route, etc), other (later) flights going to your eventual destination, the arrival and departure gates, and the map of the terminal (how long is it going to take you to get from one gate to the other?). Spring for the wifi, use your laptop, open lots of tabs in your browser. Create your own mini flight command center. You'd think that airlines would have all this information available for mobile devices. Not so! The key here is knowing your options as early as possible. You need to be prepared to tell the agents what you're wanting to do. One time I was flying from Madison, Wisconsin to Raleigh through O'Hare. Chicago was a total mess. When I finally got to see an agent he greets me, "And how might I ruin your day?" I suggested that he was going to make my day by putting me on a competitors flight through Saint Louis. You need to be prepared to suggest your own solutions.
  3. Tip #3: Sleep in your own bed whenever possible. If you're on the first leg of a trip, meaning you're still at home, then ask to be rebooked for the next day. The airlines will not present this to you as an option, you have to ask. When you do ask, they are more than willing to accomodate you. Also, more than once when I have been rebooked for the next day I've been upgraded to 1st class.

I hope you never need these tips, but if you do I hope they‘re helpful. If you use them drop me a note and let me know how they worked out for you.

No comments: