Thursday, 28 October 2010

Catching your Plane

* Give yourself plenty of time to arrive at the airport. Plan for traffic congestion or problems with a taxi or bus service. Expect there to be queues at airport security and check-in. Allow 2 - 5 hours for check in.
    * Call or check the airport's or airline's website for any last minute delays or alerts. If you flying at peak times such as Monday morning and Friday evening, or just before holidays allow an extra hour or two before departure.
    * Most airlines now give you the option to check in from home, over the Internet for at least domestic flights. This is great if you want to reserve a specific seat. Remember to print and take your boarding pass with you.

    * Many airports are now introducing touch screen, self-service machines where you can choose your seat and a boarding pass is printed. You then only need to take bags to the luggage counter - usually a great saving in queueing time.

    * Carry on liquids are now severely restricted so if you haven't flown for a few years check out the Security Resources panel to update yourself on the new rules

    * Where you sit can make a difference on a long flight. Some people want to be undisturbed and therefore prefer a window seat, others want the option to get up and move around which means an aisle seat might be better.

    * Those traveling with infants will have the option of a bassinet which fold from the bulkhead on some airlines and planes. Travelers without children should therefore be wise to avoid the first few rows near the bulkhead.

    * Using seat guru (see the More Information panel) will show you the detail for most airlines and the planes they fly.

    * At the airport be aware of the time and when you have to be at the gate. It may take an hour to clear security so don't leave it until the last minute. Normally there are retail and eating outlets past security so it might be best to clear security first.

    * Don't wait to hear the boarding call - many airports are now silent so there are no announcements except in the gate lounge itself. If a passenger is called in a silent airport it means that they are very late and if not found soon will miss the flight. The unloading of their bags will probably cause the flight to be late too.

    * The main reason for missing passengers appears to be over-enthusiastic farewell drinks at the airport, make sure you have set an alarm or make sure a responsible adult is keeping an eye on the time if you are going to do this Also if you are too intoxicated when you arrive at the gate you can be refused boarding by the ground crew.

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