Making Airline Travel Less Stressful

Get cheap airline tickets and avoid the crowds

Making Airline Travel Less Stressful : The Air Transport Association is predicting that 2006 will see record numbers of passengers; especially during the summer season. With nearly 207 million passengers boarding commercial airplanes in the United States this year, terminals are going to be crowded and people are going to be crabby.

Additionally, due to the rise in gas rises, which especially affects airlines, the domestic capacity will be down this summer, leaving fewer planes to carry more travelers. Don’t let this discourage you from traveling though; you just need to plan ahead. Follow these few travel tips and you’ll make airline travel less stressful and make summer vacations more enjoyable.

Booking your tickets: How to get cheap airline tickets and avoid the crowds Trying to book airline tickets is always stressful. There are so many things that need to be considered, especially the price. Just break down the decisions into steps and the task will be less formidable.

The more flexible your travel plans are, the better deals you will get. First, when are you traveling? The best deals can be found if you leave during the week and stay through Saturday. Second, the time of day you leave is almost as important. Often less popular times like early morning or late night departure times will be less costly. Also, the airport will be less crowded during the times and alsoduring the week.

If the prices are still high, try looking at departing or arriving at different airports. Sometimes neighboring airports will offer better deals. For example if you are vacationing in
San Francisco, arriving in Oakland or San Jose may save you hundreds of dollars. Additionally, if you are looking to save money, nonstop flights can oftentimes be more expensive.

If layovers are not too bothersome, they can oftentimes save travelers money. The more you shop around – the better deals you will find. Visit multiple airline ticket sites like Priceline or Travelocity. Another great place to find cheap airline tickets online is Studentuniverse.com. This Web site offers cheap airline tickets for students and educators.

Picking the best seat So, you’ve found the best deal out there, now you get to choose where you are sitting — this is one of the most important airline travel tips. The first decision is front, back or middle. If you are in a hurry or have connecting flights that need to be made, a seat near the front of the plane is your best choice.

If you are traveling with children, the bulkhead seats are a good choice because it allows for more legroom, but these seats also do not have seats in front of you to store items under. Children are not allowed to sit in the exit rows. So, if you want to keep clear of children, the exit rows are a good choice to sit in. They also have more legroom, but you are responsible for opening the exits and assisting if there is an accident.

If you get airsick or just hate turbulence, the seats over the wings offer the smoothest ride for airline travel. The last decision is window or aisle seat. If you want to sleep the window seat allows you to lean against the side for comfier snoozing. If you have large legs or have to get up and move a lot to get things from your carry on bags, the aisle seat will be the best choice to make airline travel more comfortable

Check-in: Airline travel tips Again, crowds will be reduced during early departure times and during the week. However, to speed up the entire check-in process there are a few things you can do. Firstly, if you have an e-ticket, be sure to have your confirmation number and you may want to call ahead and confirm with the airline to avoid last minute issues. Departure delays and other flight information can be found online before leaving for the airport.

To make sure you don’t miss your flight, arrive at the airport at least 1 hour before departure or earlier if the flight season is busy such as a holiday. The electronic check-in kiosk is the fastest; make sure you have a credit card and your ID handy. If you have luggage that needs to be checked in, make sure there is an officer at the electronic check-in to do it. One way to beat the check-in line is to use a curbside check-in service.

Usually there is no line outside. The only downside to curbside check-in is if you’re checking in for luggage that may not get to your destination quickly, and isn’t available for international travel. However, I’ve never had a problem with my luggage getting lost during roadside check-in and it always saves me a lot of time.

The second check point before boarding the plane is security. After September 11th, security has been upgraded, but if you know what to expect, you can get through security without a problem. First, lighters, scissors, or knives are not allowed, so don’t bring them. In most airports you will need to remove your shoes and belt, before going through a metal detector.

Also, the laptop must be removed from the case and placed in its own case. Have your ID and ticket ready at all times, as they will be checked here as well. Once you’re done with security it’s time to find your terminal. If you’re not familiar with airports, it’s a good idea to print a map online or at least view it before departure.

No elbow room: How to deal With fewer planes and record numbers, planes will be overcrowded. According to the Air Transport Association, planes may have up to 85 percent capacity. So when choosing your seat keep in mind that the plane may be overcrowded. If you’re sitting in the middle seat or by the window, make sure you have everything you need from a carry-on bag so you don’t have to get up often.

There’s nothing you can do about bad airplane food, bad movies or the fact that you’re stuck in the middle seat next to a fat guy, with an annoying kid behind you, so be prepared for it all. Pack a snack or meal before you leave and bring plenty of things to keep yourself entertained. Earplugs are always great too, if you want to cover up the screams of a small child. Most importantly though, stay calm and don’t stress, you’re on vacation.

Elvis has left the building After crammed into a plane for hours, leaving the airport as soon as possible must be on your mind. Plan your outbound travel plans before leaving. Some hotels offer an airport pick-up service, so when booking your hotel, ask if that option is offered and plan a pick-up location. Some airlines also offer package deals with air tickets, car rentals and hotel reservations.

If you’re traveling with a family, this is a good thing, especially if you have a lot of kids and need a bigger vehicle to fit them all. The Transportation Safety Administration says it estimates nearly 200 million air travelers nationwide between Memorial Day and Labor Day, so to avoid crowds as much as possible, get cheap airline tickets and make travel less stressful, follow these simple airline travel tips and you’ll be on your way to having fun.