If you're flying somewhere amazing for summer vacation, the best way to have a great time is to be prepared. The worst thing that could happen is that your flight is canceled and you don't make it to your destination. Here are some air travel secrets to ensure that you have a stress-free time in flight and on the ground.
Don't Check a Bag
If you can avoid checking a bag, do so. The airlines allow you to bring on one carry-on item and one personal item. That means that you can bring a roll-aboard suitcase that is 22 x 14 x 9 inches as well as a large purse or duffel. Try to cram all of your things into carry-ons so that you don't have to deal with lost baggage, especially if you have a canceled flight or a quick connection.
Cabana Life clothing folds down well and doesn't wrinkle like cotton. You can fit plenty of sun-protective clothing into a tight space. Plus, swimsuits don't take up a lot of room either.
Leave Time for Connections
If you're making a connection, give yourself enough time. Large airports like those in Miami and Atlanta can take a while to walk through. If the first leg of the flight is delayed, you don't want to get stranded at a strange airport. (But if you do, it's a good thing you have all of your personal items with you in your carry-on).
Know Your Rights as a Traveler
No matter what you've heard about airline rules, there aren't any across-the-board guidelines. Every airline has its own contract of carriage. This contract spells out exactly what your rights are in case of delays, cancellations, baggage and refunds. It's worth it to have this handy if you do have a problem. That way, you can advocate for exactly what you're due.
If the airline offers notifications about your flight's arrival or departure, set yourself up to receive texts, and keep your cell phone on hand. You'll be one of the first to be notified of a delay or cancellation--even before it's announced over the PA system in the airport. If your flight has been significantly delayed or canceled, dial the number for the airline's customer service system as you hurry to the ticketing agent. Stay on the line with the airline. If there are long lines at the ticketing counter, you'll be able to make a new reservation over the phone while everyone else is waiting in line.
Most airlines are required to put you on the next available flight managed by their airline if your flight is canceled. Some airlines will transfer you to another airline, but some won't. Check with the contract of carriage, and ask anyway. You might be surprised if you have a ticketing agent who is willing to work with you.
Get the Best Seats
If you're traveling as a pair and the airline has rows of three seats, reserve a window and an aisle seat for yourselves. The middle seats are often the last to fill up, so you might end up with a whole row to yourselves. No one wants to sit in the middle, so if the seat does become booked, the traveler will likely switch to a window and an aisle so you and your spouse can sit together.
It's hard to make several hundred people comfortable at the same time. The temperature on airplanes is often way too cold or way too hot. Even though it's the middle of summer, bring socks to slip on and a sweater, shawl or cardigan to throw over your shoulders. Pack a reusable water bottle too. You won't be able to get it through security with water in it, so fill it up with a water fountain or spring water once you're at your gate. A reusable water bottle is less likely to crack and crumple as you're trying to stash your stuff under the seat in front of you.
Your vacation should be fun, not stressful. Getting there doesn't have to be a battle. Use some of these air travel secrets, and have a cocktail in the airport to get started on the festivities early and keep your peace of mind while you're traveling.