Four Ways to Fly Stress Free
Tom Kerr writing on how to fly stress free…
Air travel has descended from what was once a luxurious, high-altitude thrill…to a hard landing punctuated by dread, frustration, stress, and discomfort.
But you can take steps to alleviate some of the hassles, long lines, and problems.
One insightful way to stay ahead of the curve when traveling through American’s airports is to do what federal air traffic controllers do…
Check out the interactive map at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Air Traffic Control System Command Center website. The map displays arrival and departure time updates for airports throughout the U.S. If movement is normal, you’ll see a green pin in the map. When the pin turns red, you can expect snarls.
If you monitor potential layover airports in the days leading up to making a reservation, you can get an idea what to expect…and reroute yourself if one airport looks likely to be a sticking point.
While we’re on the subject of maps, you can also plan to travel through great airports…and avoid awful ones.
Top-notch airports include Denver, Portland, Las Vegas, and Tampa. But for the crème de la crème, try to arrange connecting flights through Indianapolis, which wins first place in polls and rankings year after year. The terminal is less than a decade old, and was designed to be easy-breezy when moving through security lines.
By contrast, Atlanta is full of horror stories, as are the mega-airports around New York.
Also, before booking your flight you should figure out what routes have the shortest average flight delays and the shortest wait times for things like customs and security checkpoints.
Various government agencies offer their own assessments…but I don’t recommend them.
The information is usually at least a few hours old – and can be more than a day old. Air travel dynamics move at jet-fueled speed, making the info you’ll get from those stale sources downright obsolete.
For more frequently updated and accurate flight information, a better option is to use a crowd-sourced smartphone app. These apps rely on input from other travelers who use the platform to relay real-time updates.
One of the most popular and dependable of these apps is MiFlight. You can also use these kinds of apps to access air terminal maps, or to find out where the best places inside a specific airport are to shop, eat, charge your devices, or just chill-out.
Finally, signing up for TSA PreCheck is a good idea, and the whole process only takes a few minutes…making it a smart errand to run while you’re passing the time before your next connection.
When you spread the cost – $85 for five years – it comes out to only $17 a year. Once you’re signed up you can zip through security in most airports without fooling around…removing your shoes, laptops, and liquids.
This saved me so much time during my first year that it more than paid for itself.
Better still, these airport travel hacks help ensure that my blood pressure stays calm…and that I arrive at my destination in a much better mood.
That, my friend, is absolutely priceless.
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