The Official List of 2007 Holiday Travel Nightmares:
- You could miss your flight being stuck at security in your stocking feet. If only you were up to date on the latest TSA travel restrictions. It takes a few minutes at home on your computer before you head to the airport. The best resource to us is www.tsa.gov. Another alternative would be your airlines website -- if you check in on-line then it's just an additional click of the mouse.
- Your flight's been canceled and now you're 30th in line at the customer service desk. As a standard practice, your travel agent or preferred airline or websites customer service number should be in your speed dial. At the first hint of a delay, contact one of these individuals directly and ask for the flight status. They have access to information that you don't and can start working on alternatives for you. Remember, you're traveling during the busiest time of the year and there are only going to be so many seats available. Your objective is to get one of those coveted seats before anyone else does. One call can save your holiday plans and your sanity.
- It's Thanksgiving Day. You live in New York, your family is waiting for you in LA and you're in Albuquerque at 5pm eating a day-old ham and cheese from the airport vending machine. So you saved money by booking a flight that was not direct, although that option was available. A few strategic maneuvers might get you on your way that much quicker. Do some research and know when the direct flights are. Get to the airport early and inquire with the front gate agent if there is room on a direct flight. If there is room you might just be put on the flight. If it's full ask if you can be put on the stand-by list.
- You actually made it home for the holidays... But you're wearing Aunt Edna's bathrobe because your luggage never arrived. With the change in the carry-on procedures more people are being forced to check their luggage. The airlines have reported a 20% in checked luggage and the lost luggage statistics have risen as well. A few simple steps can help you avoid being one of the statistics: Get to the airport early if you are checking bags. Those that make it right under the one hour cut off limit are more likely to get left behind. Bring all valuables and medicine on board with you. Make clear plastic bags your new best friend. Put yourself in the shoes of the luggage screeners. Make it easy for them to view what is in your luggage, especially creams, makeup and liquid. Put a copy of your itinerary in your checked luggage. If for some reason your bags didn't arrive with you, you've given yourself an extra layer of protection for the handler to know your destination. Finally, if you are traveling with someone, pack an outfit in his or her bags. This way if one of the bags doesn't make it you at least have a change in clothes.