David Stempler, President of the Air Travelers Association, has advised airline passengers over the holiday season to “Follow the 3 ‘Be’s for smooth holiday airline travel -- be early, be informed, be prepared.” “If you follow this advice, you will be in a better position to defend yourself against the ‘slings and arrows’ that you may confront in dealing with today’s congested aviation environment, especially in this upcoming holiday season.” Stempler continued, “The 3 ‘Be’s for smooth holiday airline travel are as follows.”
Be Early Rule #1
You can never be too early for your flight.
Be Early Rule #2
Allowing extra time is often the only thing that gives you the ability to solve many airline delay problems.
Be Early Rule #3
For holiday travel, provide at least twice the time you normally would allow for each segment of the travel process.
Be Early Rule #4
Arrive early at the departure gate and board the aircraft as early as possible to help to avoid being bumped from your flight.
Be informed about your flight and use advance, online check-in to obtain your boarding pass.
■Confirm all of your flights well before departure day either online or through the airline’s toll-free telephone numbers.
■Check-in and print boarding passes online at least 24 hours before departure.
■Confirm the actual departure time of all of your flights: before leaving for the airport; when you get to the airport; and when you are waiting at the airport. Things change.
Be informed about your airline’s rules.
■Check the airline’s rules for check-in times and for boarding times at the gate. When flights are full, such as during the holidays, airlines will start boarding even earlier.
■Check the airline’s rules for the number, size, and weight of carry-on and checked bags.
Be informed about the U.S. TSA Rules.
■Know the Transportation Security Administration rules at http://www.tsa.gov/ for what you can and cannot bring through security checkpoints.
■Know the TSA 3-3-1 Rule for liquids and gels in carry-on bags.
■3-ounce containers in 1 quart-sized zip-top bag with only 1 zip-top bag per passenger.
Be prepared to use self-service, check-in kiosks.
■Use check-in kiosks to obtain boarding passes, obtain or change seats, and at some airports to check bags.
■Go directly to the security checkpoint if you have a boarding pass and no bags to check.
Be prepared to check any bags.
■Confirm that all checked bags have bag tags on the outside and inside that contain your name, address, e-mail address, home phone number, cell phone number, destination phone number and flight information.
■Important Note: Never pack anything in checked bags that are breakable, valuable, irreplaceable, necessary for your health, required for your identification, or absolutely essential for your trip.
Be prepared for the security check point.
■Be prepared to show your photo identification and boarding pass.
■Be prepared to offload all of your metal objects into your carry-on bag before entering into the security line.
Be prepared for long lines and delays from the time you arrive at the airport until you get on the plane.
■Be prepared for: lines on the roads into the airport; lines to get into the parking lots; lines at the check-in counter; lines at the security checkpoint; lines to get food and drinks; lines at the Starbucks; and lines at the gate.
■Be prepared to be self sufficient during flight delays on the aircraft, by bringing food and snacks with you from home and buying drinks after passing through the security checkpoint.
Be prepared for all the necessary phone number in case of emergency.
■Be prepared to call the toll-free number of your airline if your flight is cancelled or delayed, to re-accommodate yourself on an earlier or later flight. Do this in addition to standing in line with passengers waiting to be accommodated, until you are re-accommodated on the phone or at the desk.
■Be prepared to call your car rental company, local ground service provider, or those waiting for you at the destination airport to keep them advised of your delayed or cancelled flight.
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