Airline travel today is more like riding a bus that flies. Filled with mazes from start to finish. A maze to find the best fare, a maze checking in, a maze at the X-ray, “Sir, do you have a bomb” machine, a maze finding your gate number, a maze getting your luggage off the carousel to nowhere, to finally a maze when you finally land trying to catch a cab. Airports are to people like a maze is to a mouse less the cheese at the end, instead we get meals served on plastic trays with disposable utensils. Who is the true rat?. Certain things we need to do to prevent getting trapped inside the maze. Those are called tips by many, I call them words of advice. Much more elegant for something so barbaric, even for a cavedweller.
Elegant Advice for Flying Caveman
Do I hear Florida for $499.00 one way, Going, Going, wait…new bidder $562.00. SOLD!!!
Buying tickets at the right time. Airline tickets are a commodity, meaning the price changes so fast, it should have it’s own exchange like the stock market. Buy too early, you pay too much, buy too late, you pay too much. It’s the Goldilocks of retail, you have to buy at the right time. But when is that?
General purchase rules:
Domestic tickets earlier than 14 days before your travel date.
International tickets 3 to 6 months in advance.
If you are using frequent flyer points, best reserve tickets as early as possible, minimum 6 months, as seats for sale using points are very limited and booked quickly by other savvy cavemen.
If you can time your purchase for a Tuesday, that’s the best day of the week, because airlines restructure their pricing on the Sabre system and offer the first discount fares of the week.
“Do You Have Your Papers”
Make sure your driver’s license is valid and won’t expire DURING your trip. If it does, it is not a valid government ID and you will NOT fly. Doesn’t matter if you are flying New Jersey to New York, you aren’t going anywhere.
International Travel requires more due diligence and is a maze unto itself:
Valid passport with a minimum of 6 months left before expiration, some countries won’t allow exit/entry if a passport is under that threshold. If you do find yourself in that position, apply for another passport but make sure you allow 4 to 6 weeks processing as it may take that long.
Make sure you have enough blank pages if you are a frequent international traveler as certain countries require a full blank page for visa like Brazil.
RUN!! Don’t Walk.
Connecting flight times should be a minimum of 1.5 hours. I know that sounds insane but planes traveling to hubs get delayed, airports are getting bigger and sometimes you can find yourself a mile away from your gate if at opposite ends of an airport and usually will require a change in elevation since airports are designed with inbound flight gates on ground levels and outbound flight gates on upper levels. Not to mention the advent of the monorail (I call them trains, I’m old) connecting distant gate terminals. This could leave you waiting for a train when you disembark to take you to a mainland terminal thus connecting you to another train taking you to your destination departure gate. Sound confusing, trying figuring out that maze. I dare you to in 20 minutes. Opt for the longer layover, it’s less stressful and has a cushion for the unexpected. And don’t rely on Expedia to make sure you have enough time to connect flights. That’s just being naive.
Where did I put my keys?
Being absent minded and unorganized is the kiss of death in airports. Thieves feast, experienced travelers loathe and TSA agents torture them for sport.. They are easily spotted by the look of confusion in the eye and the “deer in the headlight” look. Steer clear of these primitive Cavemen. they are easy to spot, just look for the traveler who has everything piled high in four bins you put your valuables in before sliding them through the X-ray machine. They usually have a minimum of 4. Bin 1 is their shoes, Bin 2 is a mess with their pocketbook, wallet, coins, keys, money, belt, earrings, bracelets, rings, pendants, brooches, cufflinks, religious medals, necklaces, cigarettes, etc. Bin 3 is their laptop or iPad, a fourth holds their Camera/Music machine aka Smartphone. Yep, you know that Cave Person.
Just Zip It!
Smart Cavemen put all of their personal items in a Ziploc bag. And that bag is in their carry-on, sitting on the very top, so if you are called into secondary screening, it is easily removed and examined by the Transportation Safety Administration’s Cavemen. Before you sit in your seat on the plane you can just grab your Ziploc before stowing your carryon securely in the overhead bin and you have everything you need for the next few miserable hours. Reverse the process before getting off if connecting to an additional flight or going through Customs and Immigration. An added bonus is that in the event of a water “landing”, your possessions will be waterproof and easily retrieved at 5,000 feet below seab level which will make your Caveman’s heirs quite happy.
Look for my next installment in the Caveman series. Never know what obstacle the Cavemen will have to negotiate next..
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