The New York Times has published a “holiday travel checklist” that will help ensure you’re prepared for the worst as you head to the airport. Here’s the Cliffs Notes:
1. Map out Plan B. Figure out your next best flight options in case your plane is delayed or canceled.
2. Load up your cellphone with emergency numbers, including the airline reservation line or the number for the frequent flier representative if you are a member.
3. Add the numbers of some major hotel chains, like Starwood or Marriott, with airport locations – just in case you get stuck.
4. Set up a flight alert for yourself and anyone who may need to know your whereabouts – like those who are picking you up at the airport. Most airlines offer alerts that let passengers know if a gate or flight time has changed via e-mail or text message.
5. Pack smart. If you can limit your luggage to a carry-on, you can avoid the scrum at baggage claim and easily move between flights if your itinerary is wrecked by delays. If you must check luggage, you can save $5 on baggage fees with most airlines by prepaying online.
6. Know your rights. This is critical during busy travel periods when flights are often overbooked and confusion reigns. Travelers can receive up to $400 if they are involuntarily bumped and rebooked on another flight within 2 hours after their original domestic flight time and within 4 hours for international flights. They are eligible for up to $800 in cash if they are not rerouted by then.
7. Check in ahead of time online.
8. Reserve a parking spot at off-airport lots and avoid the holiday parking crush.
9. Know your airport. If your flight is delayed, you may end up spending a lot of time there. Does it have Wi-fi? And more importantly, where’s the bar?
10. Be polite. It’s the holidays for crying out loud.
Here’s some more travel news you can use: