Wednesday, January 07, 2009

PinkBird's Pointers: Travel Tips, Volume 7

After returning from our Holiday trip (visiting our families in the Midwest) I had a few insights about traveling...or really, I guess I thought of a few tips after witnessing a few travel snafus (because flying into O'Hare on Christmas Eve during an ice storm can be a bit of an adventure).

1. If you are going to make demands from the airline, at least have some idea of what they are able to give you. As we waited in line to voluntarily give up our seats (we love getting bumped) a girl behind us was very upset with the possibility she would not get on the flight. She kept telling the gate agents, "this is ridiculous. Why is the flight overbooked?" (Well, flights are always overbooked). Later, she asked to be put in first class...the problem was that she was demanding something they couldn't even give her. This was a regional American Eagle flight, they don't have first class on planes that small. Had she known what type of plane she'd be in, she could have at least requested a free snack or something.

2. In that same vein, if you are volunteering to give up your seat on a flight as we did, be polite. And, don't be embarrassed to ask for other perks--but don't act entitled either. The airport was a mess the day we were flying out of BWI, and the "most" American Eagle could offer was $250 vouchers for each of us. The attendant called her supervisor who would not make an exception. So, after making sure we had confirmed seats on a later flight, the attendant gave us our vouchers along with a meal voucher.

3. If you have a rental car reservation waiting and your flight is delayed call the rental car agency to let them know. (They may even want your flight number to track it themselves). I was very glad we called the rental car company to tell them we were delayed, because when we got there at 9pm the line was long and people were frustrated because their flights were late the rental place was out of cars (or at least out of the cars they wanted). Since we called ahead, our transaction was quick and our car was ready.

4. In my backpack (luggage) I carry a tag that says "fragile," that way, if while traveling I acquire things that are breakable and that I must put in my bag, at least I have the tag to remind baggage handlers to take it easy with my bag (or at least I have some "peace of mind" even if they aren't even looking at the tag!)

5. Airports can be crazy, trains can get delayed, people may be rude....Relax. Slow Down. Smile. At least try to enjoy the journey.

(For more PinkBird's Pointers, click here).
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