How To Survive Air Travel

This past summer Lynn and I flew from Nashville to Monterrey, CA for our grandson's graduation from the military's Defense Language Institute. Had a great time with family and our travel went very smoothly.

On the other hand, everyday, air travel for thousands of others does not go smoothly. If you have any doubt, simply turn on the news and watch stories of delays, vacations ruined, special occasions missed and people stuck at airports, sometimes for days.

Why did our trip go smoothly while others are experiencing air travel from he**? Did we do everything right and they didn't? Yes and no. Confusing? Let me explain by giving you a few tips to survive air travel.

  • Whenever possible, travel early in the day - This is what we did. Not intentionally, mind you. Those dark thirty flights were the cheapest! That being said, the airline system typically resets each day so early morning flights are much more likely to be on time. Also, during the summer, weather delays are more likely to happen later in the day as storms build with the heat.
  • Book off-peak travel days - Stay away from Monday mornings and Friday afternoons! The more people flying, the more quickly problems can cascade and swallow you. Happened to us last year flying from Orlando to London Heathrow. Booked a Friday afternoon flight to JFK and then on to London. First flight delayed due to weather, missed connecting flight and arrived in London 6 hours late.
  • Allow yourself a time buffer - Za's graduation was Thursday so we flew out Wednesday morning, giving ourselves a bit of a buffer should we have encountered any delays. The bigger the occasion, the bigger the buffer you might want to have. We have our first Alaskan cruise booked next year and we're planning to fly to Vancouver 2 days before our cruise!
  • Tight connections...NOT - Want to ratchet up your blood pressure? Book a tight connection and then watch time fly as you're sitting on the tarmac waiting for your gate to open. My suggestion is to pass on connections less than 90 minutes for domestic flights and give yourself at least 2 1/2 hours for international flights. You will thank me later.
  • Arrive to the airport/gate early - When I was traveling extensively for business, I prided myself in cutting it as close as possible when it came to getting to the airport. Not anymore. Lynn has convinced me it's a lot less stressful to arrive early and hang out at the gate. We take when we want to be at the gate, subtract time for travel, parking and TSA, then take off another hour just to be safe.

Following these tips will not guarantee reduced stress, but will definitely reduce the odds. Travel safe!

Click here for more tips on surviving busy air travel.