With Reduced Capacity and Extra Fees, Follow These Tips to Travel in Comfort
SeatGuru announced today its top ten tips for air travel during the holidays. Founder and air travel expert Matt Daimler, who logs more than 100,000 miles in the air each year, says, “With these tips, you’ll be able to stretch out your string bean legs, ensure your knees aren’t mashed like potatoes, and avoid overstuffing the luggage bin.”
1. Board early to avoid checked baggage fees. Boarding order may be just as important as your seat. Boarding early is crucial for passengers who need extra time to get settled, as well as for those in need of overhead bin space. Most domestic carriers have instituted checked-baggage fees, so passengers are carrying on more bags, making the overhead bin a hot commodity. Many airlines board back to front, so try reserving a seat toward the back. See: http://www.seatguru.com/articles/boarding_procedures.php.
2. Request a bulkhead if you have children. Bulkhead seats are often set aside for passengers traveling with infants and children. If you’re flying with the family, call the airline and request a bulkhead for some extra room. Read more: http://www.seatguru.com/articles/bulkheads.php.
3. Select seats at your time of booking. Especially if you’re traveling with family and you want the group seated together, select your seats as early as possible. Be aware that some airlines charge a fee for seat selection. Read more: http://www.seatguru.com/articles/booking_airline_seats.php.
4. Confirm your seat assignment the week of your flight. Airlines sometimes switch the aircraft close to the departure date due to load factors and maintenance. When this happens, pre-reserved seats are reassigned, so you could lose the seat you so carefully selected. Check back often!
5. Check in online. Many airlines only allow exit rows and bulkhead seats to be booked on the day of the flight. Check in as close to 24 hours before departure as possible in order to be one of the first passengers to select from these prime seats.
6. Reconsider bringing your homemade gravy or favorite wine. If you plan on flying with food, make sure liquid, aerosol, and gel items are in your checked baggage. You can bring pies and cakes as carry-on items through the security checkpoint, but be advised that they might be subject to additional screening. See: http://www.seatguru.com/articles/tsa_prohibited_items.php.
7. Do not bring wrapped gifts. Whether your gifts are in your carry-on or checked baggage, do not wrap them as security officers may have to un-wrap packages if they need to take a closer look.
8. Keep the kids entertained. In addition to bringing books and games, check in advance to see if your aircraft has in-flight entertainment (overhead TVs, personal entertainment systems, or outlets for plugging in your laptop). Compare aircraft entertainment options on SeatGuru comparison charts — http://www.seatguru.com/charts/domestic_economy.php.
9. Ship your gifts ahead of time. If you are traveling with a lot of gifts, consider shipping them to your destination in advance. It could save you money (using a luggage shipping service may actually be less expensive than checking extra bags). See the SeatGuru comparison chart of ship-ahead fees: http://www.seatguru.com/articles/luggage_shipping_services.php.
10. Come prepared and be flexible. Holiday travel often means delays and changes of plans. Assume there will be delays and cancellations, especially if you are traveling to, from, or through areas that typically experience snow storms this time of year. Bring a change of clothes and any necessities in your carry-on in case of lost luggage or an unplanned stop-over. Use http://mobile.seatguru.com/ to check the seatmap if your aircraft is changed at the last minute. To identify your aircraft type, see: http://www.seatguru.com/articles/aircraft_type.php.
For more tips, see our Guide to Booking the Best Airline Seats http://www.seatguru.com/articles/booking_airline_seats.php.
SeatGuru (http://www.seatguru.com/) is the web’s most comprehensive resource for airline information, featuring 20,000+ user comments on airline seats, services, and amenities, and helpful information and links about baggage and TSA regulations. SeatGuru offers more than 475 airline seat maps covering 70 airlines to help travelers find the best seats. SeatGuru is part of the TripAdvisor Media Network.