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Travel By Flight
Travel by Flight
Whether you are travelling for business or pleasure, consider Travel by Flight as the means to get there.
Travel by flight with airlines, charters or private aircraft is usually the quickest way to travel and can actually be quite economical.
This hub is intended to provide some helpful tips and hints on making your journey a smooth one. Enjoy!
What is covered in this hub?
- Airfare and Ticket Types
- Where to Sit?
- How to get to the airport
- What time should you get to the airport?
- Liquids and Gels
- Supplies and Entertainment
- What to wear and security
Air Fares and Airplane Tickets
One way, return, and open ended tickets? Insurance, fixed and flexible tickets? Already things seem complicated. It doesn't have to be complicated at all, the breakdown below will get you started.
Aren't Air plane tickets expensive too? Why not drive? Well driving may seem less expensive at first glance but when evaluating the true cost of anything you need to consider the whole picture, the "life cycle cost" of the journey. Driving will cost you money for gas, it will increase your maintenance cost by causing wear and tear on your vehicle. You will need to take extra vacation time for the travelling maybe even hotels, extra food, and coffee. Air fare can be quite economical in comparison especially when you take advantage of deals.
There are great deals available from Airlines for reduced return or one way airfare with travel on certain days of the week. I strongly recommend being flexible with the date that you travel. Weekdays are less busy and will yield significant savings making air travel less expensive then the gas and maintenance costs you would incur while driving.
Airfare Ticket Types
One way tickets allow you to travel directly to your destination without paying for or booking a return ticket. This is most recommended for traveling within your own country or from two places of residence.
If purchasing a one-way ticket for international travel be sure to check that you don't require special arrangements to enter the country. For tourism, some countries will want you to demonstrate that you have a return ticket and aren't going to stay forever.
Return tickets get you to your destination and back. Book both dates at the time of purchase of the ticket.
Open ended tickets typically cost a full, un-discounted airfare and allow you to select the flight date after the time of purchase within a year. The flight is still subject to availability which means if a flight is booked when you call to use your ticket you might be out of luck for the time you wanted. For the premium in cost you might as well keep your options open and look for deals when you are certain of your travel dates.
Most ticket purchases are firm, meaning any changes (or cancellations) to the date or time of the flight results in a service charge usually at least $50 plus the difference in flight cost.
Flexible tickets are available for a premium and allow you to change the date of your flight without and extra charge. It is a form of open ended ticket. It may be useful if you are uncertain of you travel dates or other commitments, however the ticket cost is usually more than the cost of a firm ticket even with an extra service fee for a change.
Where to Sit?
If you have a preference of where you sit i recommend picking seats in advance. Sit ahead of the engines, it makes a huge difference to sound in the cabin. I recently flew a return leg of a flight in a new Westjet 737 sitting in front of the engines and it was significantly quieter than the flight to my destination where I was sitting in the back. Combine this with a decent set of noise cancelling headsets and you will be impressed. Sit away from the WC. Your nose will thank me. Emergency isles have extra leg room but you must be responsible for helping with the exiting in an emergency. Don’t pick the seats in front of the emergency exist because they will not recline as they cannot block the exit route!
No, not the credit card. Travel Visas or Business Visas may be required depending on the country you are coming from and the country you are going to. For example, Canada requires Travel Visas for people entering from many countries but exempts USA, UK , Australia and many other United Nations Countries.
Visa HQ is a fantastic resource that allows you to select your nationality and visually shows you where you need a travel visa or a business visa (http://www.visahq.com/citizens/).
Getting and from the Airport
Generally the most cost effective method. Depending on the city you are in this may be a convenient and quick option, but this is not true for all cities so it helps to know the transit system. I recommend figuring out the route before you arrive, tired, in a foreign country with an unfamiliar language. Been there, it’s not fun.
The shuttle is a more direct, more expensive form of commuting. It is more costly than public transit but is typically quicker because it is more direct. Though it may be scheduled less frequently and therefore may not work with your schedule. Traveling with multiple people is always less expensive because you are cost sharing.
Driving is great because you are in control of your schedule, but you are already stressed about making your flight, and whether you have packed everything. DO you really want to have to concentrate on fighting traffic as well? Parking when you arrive is also an issue. I recommend parking at a long term parking lot associated with the airport. They offer the best rate and offer transport from the lot to the terminal. Parking close will cost a premium and if you are going for more than a few days you just paid for a nice limo ride or that public transit a few times over.
I have been pleasantly surprised by how cost effective this service is. The rate is generally somewhat less expensive than a taxi and you can usually combine rides to additional pick-ups and drop offs if you specify in advance. The fee is a flat rate so you know what you are getting into and it is private and more comfortable than most of the other forms of transport. If you are traveling for more than a few days it will be less expensive than driving and parking your own car.
Friends and Family
I like to offer my friends $20 to drive me to or from the airport. Costs the same as the Airport Shuttle, your friends get some money, you get to leave at a time the works for you straight from your house. Everyone wins!
Beware! If you are solicited for a taxi ride whilst inside the terminal it is likely that the taxi driver is unlicensed. Proper taxi services are set up formally in front of the terminal and are safer and a better experience. I have taken the unlicensed taxi route and had the guy basically try to rob my friends and I when we arrived by claiming there was an additional $20 Van fee above the flat rate that we had negotiated and confirmed before entering the cab.
Do you like to fly?
At the Airport
Technology is great and it has made travel by flight even more convenient. You can check-in in advance on-line or from your mobile phone. You can then print a boarding pass or display it from your phone. If you wish to check-in at the airport I recommend the self serve Kiosks in order to skip the line.
Everyone has some Baggage
If you can, pack everything into two carryon bags. Most airlines allow two free carryon bags. This allows you to skip baggage check in and waiting at the other end to pick up bags. I just saved you two hours and all the hassle of lost luggage. If you are travelling for more than 2 bags worth of clothes then consider buying some inexpensive clothes when you arrive or simply doing laundry at the hotel or Laundromat or your relatives house.
If you do have checked baggage, including your towel,don't panic!You followed my advice above and checked in before hand or at the kiosk, now this permits you to use a much shorter baggage drop off line.
What time should you get to the airport?
I recently witnessed a man and his elderly grandmother being turned away at the check-in because they arrived within half an hour of the flights departure. This rule exists because your luggage has to travel with you and it takes 30 minutes to process it and get it loaded.
At a large international airport leave home such that you expect to arrive within 2 hrs of take off (if you are checking bags add a half hour). This way if you encounter traffic you have a buffer and you also have a buffer for the security line. If you are more familiar with your airport or it is a smaller airport you can cut it to 1.5 hrs or even an hour. Never go less than one hour! Even when I was in a hotel on airport property in Winnipeg where the security line is 5 minutes with carry on, by the time you get checked in, through security you have 45 min left. Enough time to grab some food, hit the washroom, send an email and board 30 min prior as the airlines request.
What to wear?
Even if travelling by flight for business i recommend dressing down and being comfortable for the flight.
Don't wear jewelry and other metals. You will have to take off jewelry, belts, shoes and other metallic items at security. It will stress you out, take longer and you risk losing items or forgetting to pick everything up. Why make a hassle for yourself.
Liquids, Gels, Bombs?
Don't bring any; it’s not worth the trouble. You just spent hundreds of dollars on a plane ticket, just go to the dollar store or Wall-mart when you get to your destination to buy toothpaste and deodorant. Bring an empty bottle that you can fill with water from the water fountain when you pass through security. Hotels will have soap and shampoo otherwise hit the local department store.
Supplies and Entertainment
Do not buy unnecessary items at the airport if you can avoid it they have a huge markup as they know you are desperate in that situation and you will pay extra.
Bring entertainment in case the plane's entertainment system fails. Bring your own headset. I recommend noise canceling head phones; they work great at cutting out steady noises such as jet engines. I upgraded my headset for when flying in single engine aircraft to help prevent hearing loss over time. Most airlines have normal headphone jacks and not the old two prongs set ups, so you don't have to buy the airline's headsets. Save $5-$10 and bring our own. Bring a crossword or magazine, but remember to buy outside of airport.
Congratulations on choosing to Travel by flight! By now you are just sitting down in your seat and have been asked to turn off your electronic devices. Personally I am not sure whether transmitting and receiving devices really impact the avionics, but disabling that function is Law and a requirement of the FAA so please comply.