Flight delays, checked bag mixups, long security lines… this is the reality many air travelers are facing during this busy summer season. You might be questioning if now is really the best time to hop on a plane and check off those bucket list destinations you’ve always dreamed of. And I get it, reading the news surrounding current air travel conditions would have even the most experienced traveler wary.
But as an expert travel advisor, my whole job is centered around planning stress-free vacations for my clients looking for a luxury experience from take-off to your return home.
So here are a few tips to ensure airport chaos doesn’t derail your travel plans this summer!
Skip the Long Lines
Lines at security are long. They just are. And as much as I wish I could change that as your travel advisor, it’s a reality of travel you’ll have to plan around, giving yourself ample time to get to your gate.
But if you’re curious what your options are to avoid the 3-hour wait at the security gate, here are a few ways:
For $85, your 5-year TSA PreCheck status will allow you to join the coveted shorter PreCheck line at the security gate. You’ll also be able to avoid the irritating chores of taking your shoes off and removing things from your bags like laptops in the security line. TSA PreCheck is widely available at airports across the country.
Clear is a service offered by a third-party biometrics company that uses finger and eye scans to identify travelers. It’s marketed as a “faster, safer, touchless way through airport security.”
This membership allows you to skip the line leading up to the ID verification checkpoint by offering separate CLEAR lanes where you’ll step up to the CLEAR pod and scan your boarding pass as well as your fingerprints or eyes. Once your identity is verified, you’ll be escorted to the front of the line where you’ll get ready for your security screening.
The cost for a 1-year membership is $189, but you can add up to three other people to your account for just $60 and children under 18 can use the service for free with a member so if you travel often as a family or with a group of friends, this option might prove to be just what you need to avoid those long wait times.
If you’re a self-proclaimed globe trotter and you find yourself spending far too much time in US Customs lines upon return from your international adventure, Global Entry is the option for you!
This program allows you access to the Global Entry Line with special kiosks for international travelers, expediting your return process. It costs $100 for 5 years and it includes a TSA PreCheck membership so if you’re looking to do some international travel in the next half-decade, you’ll want to look into this program.
For Trusted Traveler programs like these, many of the major credit card providers cover the cost as a perk for using their services. You’ll want to check before purchasing your membership!
Book Direct Flights
Whenever possible, book your flights direct to your destination. One of the biggest hiccups travelers are experiencing is their first flight is delayed which causes them to miss subsequent flights.
If you can’t book direct, try to book the earliest flight you see. Flights are usually on schedule in the early mornings and tend to see the most delay and cancellation problems as the day goes on.
Track Checked Bags
With the consistent flight delays, flight cancellations, people being booked on new flights (and sometimes even new airlines), it’s become difficult for airlines to manage checked bags and ensure they arrive on time to their owner’s destination.
I highly suggest you pack important clothes, chargers, and medications in your carry-on bag to make sure you’ll have those for your trip. I also suggest planting a tracking device like Tile or Apple Air Tag in your checked bags so if they do get lost, you won’t have to deal with the headache of tracking them down.
Plan a Buffer Around Important Dates
If you’re flying for a wedding, a graduation, a business meeting, or any other important event that can’t be missed, I highly encourage you to plan your travel day a few days in advance rather than banking on traveling the day before or the day of.
The same goes for your return flight. If you need to be home before a certain date or event, plan your return flight at least 2-3 days in advance to make sure any delays or cancellations don’t infringe on your important commitments.
Download Airline Apps
Downloading your airline’s app ahead of time will allow you to check in from home, pay for checked bags beforehand, and track flight changes in real-time so you don’t end up driving all the way to the airport just to find out your flight has been delayed 8 hours! It will also come in handy if you miss a connection because you can often re-book through the app if there are other flight options.
Get a Good Travel Insurance
In this time of flight uncertainty, you don’t want to get caught without any sort of insurance on your vacation plans. As your travel advisor, I will recommend travel insurance plans that have good customer service options (you want to be able to talk to a real person if possible!), and also consider splurging on those plans that will pay for extra hotel days if you end up getting stuck in your destination or an airport unexpectedly.
Know What You’re Entitled To
When airlines cancel or drastically change your itinerary so much that you decide you want to cancel, they’ll typically try to offer everyone a travel voucher for the price of their ticket. But in this case, you’re entitled to a full cash refund! Airlines would rather keep your business so they’ll often not offer a cash refund unless it’s explicitly asked for.
Book Your Vacation Through a Trusted Travel Advisor
I may be a bit biased, but I truly believe the best thing you can do to protect your travel plans against the chaos at the airports is book through a travel advisor who will have your back from the planning stage all the way through to when you return home.
If anything happens with your flight schedules, you won’t find yourself stuck in the 2-hour line at the counter waiting to hear if you’ll be making it to your overwater bungalow or spending the night on the airport floor.
I’ll be right by your side the whole way, managing the situation and ensuring flight conflicts don’t derail your vacation plans!
If you’re planning your dream vacation, but you’re a bit worried about the current air travel chaos, we invite you to contact us today to see if booking your trip through a trusted travel expert is right for you!
P.S. My email subscribers received these tips and more in their inbox this last month! If you’re interested in staying up to date on all things travel - destinations, travel planning tips, new blogs, and exclusive travel opportunities, subscribe today!
About Bermudaful Travel & Beyond, your go-to luxury adventure travel agency. We customize your journey based on your personal interests, hobbies, tastes, and thresholds for adventure. Our goal is your utmost experience, truly allowing you to immerse yourself in the colorful culture of the country to give you more than just a vacation – we help you build vivid memories to last a lifetime! Recent world events have really demonstrated the value of having a competent travel advisor in your corner. When you dial our number, you will speak to a real person. When you email us, you won’t get a computer-generated response. We are always available for our clients. Our primary goal is to design the best journey and experience for you!