Friday, November 4, 2011

Holiday Travel Tips and Tricks

It’s already November and the holiday season is sneaking up on us! But before we are bombarded with the inevitable stress of shopping, traveling, and the anxiety of crowds that follow synonymous, we have compiled a few tips and tricks to help you beat the holiday travel woes!

As if airports weren’t crowded and stressful enough during the holiday season, airlines are cutting capacity in order to save on costs such as rising fuel prices and an uncertain economy. Ironically, as airlines cut capacity, there has been a rise in passengers using air transportation. This means more tightly packed airplanes, in addition to the already large crowds in airports, and of course long security lines and delays. In anticipation of the large crowds and densely packed flights, we have found a few helpful tips and tricks for a more comfortable and efficient holiday travel season.

You are all familiar with the rigid airport security and long lines that follow, but there is one change to security lines that will put your mind at ease. In the past, T.S.A. has used scanners that display a virtually nude image of passengers to security agents. However, this year T.S.A. is implementing new scanners that show only a generic, computer-generated body outline that passengers can also view online.

In addition to new privacy implementation for security lines, passengers can now choose to pay to go through security lines faster. United sells

expedited security and pre-boarding starting at $9, and Jet Blue’s “Even More Speed” program allows passengers to pay $10-$65 extra for more legroom and expedited security lines at certain airports. American’s “Five Star Service” program also offers expedited security line options as well as other V.I.P. services for those willing to pay the extra cost. So if you want to skip the lines while traveling this holiday season, check out what options your airline offers for moving you through security faster, as well as additional comfort features.

This season, some airlines are also changing their boarding procedures. In order to ensure you get on the plane with your seat preference, be sure to check your airline’s boarding process. American, which used to board back to front, now randomly assigns boarding groups; but, coach passengers can pay $10 and beat first class and even elite frequent flyers to the front of the boarding line! United, and soon Continental, will be boarding window, then middle, and finally aisle seats, as opposed to boarding back to front. If seat preference is important to you, then remember to check your airline’s website for their procedures as many companies are changing this year to ensure faster boarding.

Trying to fit all those presents for your friends and family into your checked bags? Don’t forget about checked bag fees most airlines impose, including fees for overweight and oversized luggage. Jet Blue offers one free checked bag and Southwest offers two. Check your airline’s website for baggage limitations and fees including oversized and overweight bags.

We hope these tips and tricks help you have safe and efficient travels this holiday season!

Happy Holidays from the Meeting Sites Pro team!

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