12 Ways To Make Your Flight More Enjoyable
Sept. 11, 2019
The holidays are coming up, and with them come big crowds at the airports. As if flying isn’t bad enough, it can always be worse. We are here to share twelve tips to make the whole process of flying just a bit more enjoyable. OK, in some cases, just a little less painful.
Whether you are looking to save some time, save some money, or just keep your sanity, we will have a tip for you. You can improve your airport experience by skipping the long security lines, getting the right seat assignment, or even just finding ways to improve your mood.
Whether you are flying for pleasure or business, take a few extra minutes planning your trip to avoid long hassles along the way.
Here are our twelve ways to make flying more enjoyable:
1. Have Status With An Airline
Have you ever stood in line, seemingly forever, waiting to check-in for your flight at the airport? Do you look over and see a much shorter line for Airline status members? You can save hours at the airport just by having airline status and getting to use the shorter lines. You may also get to board the plane earlier, which often means more overhead bin space. Also, you will likely get better treatment when, when things invariably go wrong with a flight or a plane.
2. Fly Direct Whenever Possible
The more stops you take, the more chances for a flight to be delayed or your bags to get lost. Adding stops to your flight also extends your travel time. Time is money, at least in my book.
I am aware that sometimes, direct flights are not available. Similarly, direct flights often cost more. Totally agree, it is worth having a stop to save $500 each on a flight. However, is it worth traveling for three extra hours to save $30 each? Not if you ask me.
Tip #1 is to have airline status. This alone can often help you get better seats. You may be able to get free upgrades to economy comfort right when you book, or even first or business class when seats are available on your flight.
Whenever taking longer international flights, it may be worth splurging to get business class seats. If you sleep on a 10-hour flight, you will land more rested and have a nicer start to your vacation. I typically use points to book these flights; you may need to be a bit more flexible to get the best deal. Look for airlines with lie flat seats, they are amazing.
4. Credit Card Two For One Voucher
If you happen to have the Delta Reserve American Express you will receive a two for one flight voucher each year. In this case, you can use the voucher for business class seats. You could potentially fly in Delta One from LAX to JFK. Lie-flat seats, all you can drink wine, separate check-in, the experience is pretty nice. The two for one voucher makes it more affordable for the average traveler.
5. Know Your Rights As A Flyer
Whenever you are buying an airline ticket, you will likely be offered the opportunity to buy travel insurance. You may not realize that many credit cards (hopefully the one you used to purchase the ticket) come with this protection for when flights are delayed or canceled. They may even have reimbursements for hotels room, meals, and misplaced bag when a flight is delayed or canceled.
The sad truth is that airlines will rarely pony up for a hotel room, and on the off chance they do, it will not likely be a hotel you’d really want to spend time in. I’m picturing an airport roach motel. A crappy motel is not how I want to live my best life.
If you do find yourself dealing with a delayed or canceled the flight, make sure to read the fine print on your credit card benefits. If you want to get reimbursed, you will likely need to provide proof of the flight delay, along with receipts for any expenses you incurred. Like pretty much anything insurance-related, this won’t always be an easy process.
Having airline status (tip #1) will make it easier to get rebooked as well. A few years back while sitting on the tarmac about to fly to Europe with my husband, we were notified we were heading back to the gate. The flight was canceled due to mechanical issues. I quickly called the Delta Elite Flyers line and reached a representative right away. My husband (who didn’t have status at the time) was told he would receive a call back in about 90 minutes. This may not seem like a big deal, but when flying internationally, it’s not as we can hope on the next shuttle flight in an hour.
6. Bring Food on the Plane
Airport food has improved a lot over the years. Still, we aren’t exactly talking the healthiest options. Also, if you are running through the airport on a quick layover (or because of long security lines, or you were just running late), you may not have time to grab something. Some airports have apps that will let you order a meal, snack, or even Starbucks and have it delivered right to your departure gate.
I am aware I just bagged on airport food already in this section, but the food in the terminal is still better than what you will get back in coach on the plane. Do your neighbors a favor and no fish on the plane, please. Thanks, it stinks up the whole plane.
I also love to bring my own stacks whenever possible from home. Saves money, saves time, and you never know how long you might be sitting on the tarmac. I try to eat healthily and save money whenever possible.
7. Global Entry and TSA Precheck Are Your Friends
If you are going through the trouble to get TSA Precheck, I don’t see why you wouldn’t just get Global Entry at the same time. Waiting in line at the airport is just miserable. Over the holiday’s precheck could easily save you an hour, or more of waiting in line. Global entry will save you time, when coming back into the country.
Several rewards credit cards — Chase Sapphire Reserve , Citi Prestige and certain American Express cards,— offer statement credits to customers who charge the application fee ($100 for Global Entry; $85 for PreCheck, both good for five years). Even if you don’t have one of these credit cards, pay the fee, you will thank me later.
I’m still too cheap to pay for Clear ($179 a year for individuals), but it would be nice to have. If any credit card company is reading this, you might gain some more big spender customers if you offer this free.
8. Book Flights in the Morning
Airports seem to back up throughout the day. If you book an early flight, you will have more opportunities to get rebooked and to your destination on the same day. Not a guarantee, but every little bit helps.
9. Get Free Lounge Access
There are many ways to score free lounge access. Which will afford you a free snack, coffee, and even some booze. I think it makes flying a bit less stressful than sitting around, waiting at the gate. You can get access to make airline lounges with the right credit cards. Other cards will get you access to Priority Pass lounges. If you have the proper American Express, you can use the fancy Centurion Lounges.
10. Noise Cancelling Headphones
Whether you want to sleep, read, or watch a movie, Noise cancelling headphones should help you have a more enjoyable flight. They might just help keep your neighbor from talking your ear off the entire flight. I also prefer them to the cheap ones the airlines pass out, and sometimes even have the audacity to charge an annoying fee to purchase.
11. Bring Your Own Reusable Water Bottle
You will feel better when you land if you drink some water during your flight. Especially if you are trying to balance out the free wine or beer, you drank on the flight. I typically fill up my reusable water bottle in the airline lounge, saving a few bucks and making sure I have ample water throughout the flight. The little cup the airline gives you on the beverage service is not enough liquid for me. Plus, have you seen what they charge for a bottle of water in most airline terminals?
12. Book Seats Sandwich Style
Want to increase your odds of an empty seat next to you? Book your seat sandwich-style when traveling with one other person. You book the window, they book the aisle, with the middle seat empty. Anyone else looking for a seat will likely try and find any other place to sit beside a center seat.
What are your best tips to have a better flight? Try and add one or two more to your repertoire, and you will be flying better before you know it.
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