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Home No. 77: Air travel: Any ways to reduce the hassle?

Jun 06

No. 77: Air travel: Any ways to reduce the hassle?

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Air travel: Any ways to reduce the hassle?

Reader question: I’m traveling extensively this summer. I’ve been hearing horror stories about how increased security has been making air travel more of a hassle than ever. My colleagues all seem to have a story about some problem they encountered. With heightened security and crowded airports, how can I make air travel easier for myself?

Expert comments: Everyone seems to have an airline travel horror story. Here are some steps to avoid hassles:

      1. Book your ticket as early as possible and try to get your seat assignment. Look for the location where you feel most comfortable —this might be the aisle, close to the front of the plane (so you can leave quicker) and exit rows.

      2. Check off what you can before you get to the airport. For instance, you can check in for your flight online before you leave home. In addition, you can review airport parking options, baggage requirements, amenities at the airports your visiting and available flight upgrades. Also, examine the airlines’ frequent flyer reward programs because they can provide added perks that make relieve some of your travel-related stress.

      3. Be ready for the security checkpoint. Have your identification and boarding pass ready to show. Make sure you aren’t carrying anything through security that will catch their eye. Remove all liquids, keep under 3.4 fluid ounces, and put them in a one-quart size clear plastic resealable bag. (Placing hygiene items in checked luggage is an even better idea.) Wear shoes that you can easily take on and off, and remove unnecessary metal items from your pockets. The idea is that when you get to security, you can slip off your shoes, place items in bins and get through the security line easily. Some airports actually separate lines according to how experienced you are at flying and will let people who know the security drill go to a separate line. It may not be shorter, but it’s usually faster.

      4. Travel during off-peak hours to avoid crowds. Take red-eyes or leave early in the morning on weekends. And avoid Monday mornings.

      5. Do whatever you need to relax. With cell phones, you can call a friend, practice relaxation techniques, and find someone friendly with whom to talk. Use earplugs and earphones, and bring something you find interesting to read but doesn’t require much concentration.

    Expert comments by Valerie Grubb, president of Val Grubb & Associates, an operations consulting firm in New York, has logged 14,000 airline miles alone in April 2011.

Comments (2)
Research Administrator
written by TK6200, May 16, 2011
It can be a horror story, so I travel mostly off hours, so the airport is less crowded and the lines are shorter. I'd rather take a red-eye and reduce my other hassles.
written by AssistantProf, May 23, 2011
I just take trains whenever it is possible. You get much easier trip with power to work with your laptop and a lot of legroom. The downside is it is usually very slow.

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