Thanksgiving is the busiest time of year for airlines, closely followed by Christmas. With 54 million people traveling in the US alone for the holiday this year, it could be a potentially stressful time for passengers. How can you make your trip comfortable and more enjoyable?
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The busiest times to travel are the Wednesday before and the Sunday after, so it is good to avoid these times if possible. Ticket prices should also be cheaper, out of this time.
The Transportation Security Administration offers useful tips for travel on their social media. Did you know that you can take food in your carry-on? They also have a useful phone line for any questions you may have.
3/10 Online check-in
It sounds simple, but you can save a lot of time by checking in before you get to the airport. Some airlines also have self-check-in kiosks and bag drops that also save time. You can do it all yourself, without having to deal with any other people.
Online check-in and self-service kiosks are the way to go. Photo: American Airlines
There are always bottlenecks at security; try and save time before you reach the area and throw out bottles of water. Have your ‘liquids bag’ in the pocket of your carry-on to remove quickly. Take off any belts, jewelry, or metal items and put them safely in your carry-on.
The flight will no doubt be full, so make sure that you are as comfortable as you can be. Take a travel pillow and blanket for long flights. Be sure to have some snacks and water as well as some kind of entertainment.
Your travels may be delayed, so allow extra time to get to the airport. Check with the airline if there are any strikes or expected delays ahead of time. There may also be issues with labor shortages that may make the lines at check-in, security and immigration longer.
7/10 Travel light
Traveling light with just a carry-on is ideal. It is certainly less stressful and more convenient, as well as saving time at check-in and at the baggage carousel.
Extra fees at the airport can be a nasty surprise. Photo: Finnair
8/10 Baggage weight
If you are checking a bag, be sure to check the weight before you travel. Airlines have differing policies, so ensure you know exactly how much you are allowed to take. Going over the amount can lead to a nasty surprise at the airport, often with significant extra fees to pay. However, if you do need to take extra baggage, some airlines allow you to pay a cheaper rate by arranging it in advance.
Of course, not everyone can pay for a business class ticket. Check for any offers, as some airlines do offer last-minute cheaper upgrade prices. Airline loyalty programs may also allow you to upgrade using points or air miles. An upgrade comes with the advantage of having extra baggage allowance, a better meal, and a comfy seat.
10/10 Check your seat
A useful tip! Check out your seat on seatguru.com. You can see the location of your seat on the aircraft and whether it is recommended by other passengers or not. Then, if you sign up for a basic account at expertflyer.com, you can see another seat map of your flight and which shows how many seats are booked on your flight. If it looks like it’s going to be awful, you know it’s worth the investment to select a different position.