Are you travelling this winter? Perhaps you’ve decided to visit one of the top ten travel destinations. The winter travel season is one of the busiest, especially between December 20 and January 8. So, to ensure that you’re travelling is smooth and uneventful, I’m passing on these time-saving tips.
Check flight status online
Most airlines offer some version of a Travel Updates section on their web page. Make sure you check it out before you leave home. The information on that page will alert you to delays and any other issues that might affect your flight.
Many airlines will send notifications of flight delays and cancellations directly on your mobile device or via e-mail. Check the airline’s official website for information on how to register for this service.
I’m not sure how many airlines offer this service. My guess is quite a few. I know, however, that if you’re flying Air Canada, you can check-in at aircanada.com. This service certainly speeds things up.
Mobile check-in on your mobile device
Like the service mentioned above, the mobile check-in service is a definite time-saver.
Blackberry and iPhone Apps
Some airlines offer free apps that you can download to your phone. The app will allow you to retrieve electronic boarding passes, track flight information in real-time, receive notification of itinerary changes and obtain other details.
Self-service rebooking tool
In the event of flight disruptions that may be caused by bad weather, this service allows you to rebook.
Electronic boarding pass
There are some restrictions on this one, but if you’re eligible (it’s not available for flights to or from the US), you can choose to receive an electronic version of the boarding pass on your mobile device. This option is available for mobile and web check-in. Electronic boarding passes may be sent via email or SMS.
Recommended check-in times
Under normal conditions, travellers are encouraged to arrive a couple of hours ahead of their departure time. During peak travel days, however, you’d be smart to arrive even earlier. I’m always amazed at how long it can take to move through the various stages from first entering the airport to actually boarding the train. Holiday congestion makes the situation even worse. Arrive early, bring a book and relax.
Remember that all valuables, including electronics, documentation, medication, car keys, money, etc., are on your person or in your carry-on bags and not in your checked bags. To facilitate security inspection, anyone carrying gifts on board should keep them unwrapped.
Pre-register your sporting equipment on the airline’s website up to 24 hours prior to departure. Some sporting equipment are entitled to a waiver of oversize and/or additional piece charges. Check the airline’s webpage for more info.
External and internal name tags
Here’s one that never occurred to me. Sometimes external baggage name tags become detached, so make sure that you have your identification information inside your bag, too.
Security measures for carry-on luggage
Here’s a biggy: Government regulations stipulate customers can only carry on a limited amount of liquid, gel and aerosol items through passenger screening points. The quantity of liquids, gels and aerosols permitted is 100ml/100g (3.4 oz) per article or smaller. Larger containers must be placed in checked luggage.
Stick to the rules, and you’re sure to have a fantastic trip. Bon Voyage!