20 Air Travel Tips from Insiders

Posted on December 8, 2009


Before you snuggle up with an airplane blanket or tie a red ribbon on your suitcase, read these tips from frequent fliers

1. Planning
Know the difference between “direct” and “nonstop” flights, and always opt for the latter.
Unlike nonstops, direct flights can touch down at other airports on the way to their ultimate destinations, explains Macon Dunnagan, a baggage handler with US Airways. And while stops are built in to the total travel time, the potential delays they can cause aren’t. “Whenever possible, fly nonstop,” he says.

2. Make sure you purchase your ticket under the exact name that appears on your ID.
It might seem obvious to you that Betsy is a nickname for Elizabeth, but it may not to a skycap, a desk agent, or a security officer — any one of whom could ask you to show identification with that name before boarding, says Delta Air Lines public-relations representative Katie Connell.

3. Select your seats ASAP.

“If you have a disability and need a premium seat in the bulkhead, tell the agent when you make your reservation rather than at the airport,” says David Martin, a Delta passenger-service specialist who creates the airline’s policies for customers with disabilities. Other passengers might be able to nab those seats 24 hours before the flight, when they’re made available to everyone through the airline’s website. [more]