Travel Tips from our Friend Deanna
Many of our friends are traveling in from out of town this weekend! Some of you probably haven't traveled in a while - Deanna Granato '82 agreed to give us all some tips that might help avoid frustrations and complications. Thanks Deanna!!
It has been some of the most challenging & stressful travel after the pandemic. Wild weather, airline staffing challenges, missed connections or cancellations.
A bit of preparation can help elevate some of the stress & things you wish had with you when things don’t go as planned.
At the end of the day I approach every flight like I approach business. Follow the golden rule - treat people the way you want to be treated it will serve you well.
Download the app for the airline you are flying
Join the loyalty program and attach to your reservation
Allow alerts from your app for notifications so you can keep on top of flight info, gates changes or possible delays
Don’t rely on apps only, a printed boarding pass is very helpful – you can print for free at the airlines self-serve kiosks
A super helpful app is Flightview
When traveling I use this as much as the airline app
Sometimes gates changes or delays are on this app before the airlines
Check the website for the airport you are departing from and make sure you follow suggesting times for arriving to the airport.
Even though I have status and pre-check I always allow 90 to 120 minutes prior to a flight for security and navigation. I have had many times things that have happened that didn’t derail my plans because I had plenty of time ahead of my flight.
I would rather relax at the gate a bit longer before boarding than miss my flight because I am too late for check-in
TSA Precheck or CLEAR
If you have these make sure they are in your reservation so when you check in, you have full ability for clearing security faster
If you do not have you need to start that process a few months before travel
TSA CARES –
TSA Cares is a helpline that provides travelers with disabilities, medical conditions and other special circumstances additional assistance during the security screening process.
You may also request assistance through the TSA screening checkpoint by completing clicking on the link below
Call 72 hours prior to traveling with questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint
When approaching the TSA agent have your boarding pass ready (electronic or paper) & your ID and Check your ticket/boarding pass and make sure your name matches exactly to your id
Any errors can be corrected at the airline counter before you go to TSA
If you are carrying a backpack or carry-on tote keep them in a quick access pocket
The easier you make it the faster they can get you through security
When choosing a line for security or the belt:
Always go behind a business traveler avoid going behind a family
When you have choice rule of thumb is left lanes are always quicker
Test this out on security, escalators, people movers
After I get through security, I navigate to my gate so I am familiar where it is and what is near by
Then I go and find food, drink, or restrooms
If you have status or a credit card that help you with entry to a airlines club - always use the club if you have a long layover
Best rule of thumb is all devices are fully charged prior to getting to the airport
Charing cables in your carry-on bag are a lifesaver
You can not always depend that you will have port or a working one on the planeI travel with a portable charging device & that has been a lifesaver for myself & a seat mate as well
If you are planning to watch movies or shows on the plan download at home
Wi-Fi is spotty & pricey on flights
Not all streaming platforms work on plane WIFI
A book or magazine in paper format is a great back up
Purchase prior to the airport saves you money
Drinks & Food Options
You can’t bring liquids through security, but a wise move is an empty water bottle saves you money & time. All airports have water bottle filling stations
The whole world is short staffed and that surely goes for airport restaurants & food options
Brings some small snacks like protein bars, nuts, dried fruit they will be so handy when you are hungry & the lines are too long, or everything is closed
Bring cash & credit cards
I was delayed very late one night in ATL and some folks at the gate said all the vending machines were broken. I decided to investigate, they were working for credit card only - $8.75 for a bottle of fancy water. Boy I wished I had my water bottle!
Check Luggage vs Carry On
I am a huge fan of checking my luggage, but I always make sure my carry on has things to help me out of a pinch
My own small lap blanket is like my emotional support item, got me through many a long evening
I dress in light layers to face unexpected cold & hot temps
I carry travel size contact lenses solution & case for long days as well as my glasses
If you can swing a change of clothes in your carry on you will be in great shape
If you decided to carry on your bag and not check, make sure you are up to date on liquids and sizes. So frustrating to have expensive products takes away because they are too large.
Check your suitcase size, gigantic bags do not fit in overhead bins & you will have to give up your bag
The advantage of a carry-on bag also is if you are delayed you have all of your items with you if you need to go to a hotel. Once your bag is checked it is almost impossible to get your bag back.
Same as the airlines makes sure you download the app & join the loyalty program
Confirm your reservation for accuracy as well as calling the hotel to let them know your estimated arrival time is helpful
Be aware of check in times and check out times in advance
Make sure you are aware of the hotels deposit, credit card & authorization policies
Some hotels require one night deposit in advance – make sure it has been billed
Some hotels do not allow cash at check in, they want a credit card to authorize for the full stay and incidentals
Some hotels will run your credit card day of arrival in the am to make sure your reservation is in order. I have seen cards declined because expirations dates have expired, or cards changed. You don’t want to have your reservation cancelled so call in advance to ask what their procedures and policies are day of arrival.
Some credit card companies will decline transaction if you out your spending habits. So, it is a good idea to confirm with your credit card company that you will be traveling out of state.
This is also a good time to confirm your pin number for your credit card so you can smoothly use your card on the road
If you are planning on using a hotel van, call the hotel to confirm times, pick up location and if it must be reserved in advance.