Flying Tips

Normally I just ignore and delete messages from the various companies who have my email address, including American Airlines. I get quite a bit of email from them because I’m a frequent flyer and I’m too lazy to bother opting out of their email campaigns so 99% of the time I just hit “delete” for anything I get from them that’s not related to a trip I’m taking. Then this morning I received an email asking me to share a travel tip and in exchange 250 miles would be donated to one of six charities – I would get to pick which – and I’d be entered into a contest with a chance to win something which I can’t even remember. I was eating lunch at my desk so I decided, “Ah, what the hell” and clicked on the link and I’m glad I did because there are a ton of travel tips shared by others that are kind of fun and informative to read. Here’s a couple:

easy snack (shared by maryt) – I pack single serve instant oatmeal packets and a plastic spoon. Just ask for a cup of hot water and voila, an easy breakfast

Empty Water Bottle (shared by StacyB) – Bring an empty water bottle and fill it up after security. Save money, stay hydrated, be environmentally friendly. Help reduce the significant amount of water bottle waste created by air travel.

Pack a carabiner (shared by Kdro) – I pack a small locking carabiner. Attached to my carry on, it holds a small LED flashlight and it can fix a broken strap; it holds my hat, on my small shoulder purse it keeps track of my sunglass case, my umbrella and sometimes my water bottle. In a pinch, it can even be a belt extender.

maps (shared by Wal) – A few days before you depart download an offline version of Google Maps of the places you are visiting. Helps you around town even if you don’t have roaming data service.

Pre-Load Phone Numbers (shared by Gregg) – Load all of the phone numbers you might need to dial in advance so you don’t wast time searching if something goes wrong.

There were literally thousands of tips shared and I’m betting the airline is mining them for customer experience data as I type this. There was most definitely a lot of overlap, with scores of people recommending that you roll your clothes when you pack, make sure you have a change of clothes in your carry on bag, the empty water bottle thing, etc., but given enough time I think even the most seasoned traveler could find a useful tip in there somewhere.

I’ll end with one of my own tips, based on hard-earned experience. If you’re on a flight that ends up being cancelled at the gate then call the customer service number for the airline immediately to try and re-book your flight. I’ve done it several times while standing in the customer service line at the airport and invariably I get it done on the phone before I get to the head of the line. And if you know you’re going to be stuck in the airport overnight, and especially if it’s weather related and the airline isn’t providing a room, then find the closest airport hotels and make a reservation, either by phone or mobile app, ASAP. If you don’t you might find all the rooms booked and you’ll end up sleeping on the terminal floor.

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