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Knowledge is power, or so Schoolhouse Rock taught me during my youth.
While flying home from Charlotte on Delta, I knew that we’d be on an MD-88 aircraft. I generally don’t mind this type of aircraft for shorter flights because it has a 3-2 seating arrangement. With that, I can choose to sit on the side with two seats and then Sharon can have the window (her favorite) and I can have the aisle (my favorite). Plus we have the bonus of not needing to worry about who will sit in the middle seat. One of the downsides of that plane is the overhead bin on the two seat side is smaller and doesn’t fit many carry-on bags. Everyone has to put their larger bags on the side with three seats, since those are larger bins and those who board later usually have to gate check their bags because all the space has been taken.
I didn’t want to have to gate check a carry-on bag if I didn’t absolutely have to, so I found a way to board the plane with one of the first boarding groups. Here’s how I did it:
It’s everyone’s travel nightmare. After making sure to get to the airport extra early because of the delays at check-in and security, you finally get to your gate and find a seat, preferably near a power plug. You hope there are no yelling children around, or adults talking with their phone on speaker mode. You start reading your book on your Kindle or watch some cute video of cats on your phone to pass the time. When it’s almost boarding time for your flight, there is one small HUGE problem – there is no plane at the gate. You think, “There’s no way we are leaving on time but if we were delayed, wouldn’t the airline tell us?” The dread of knowing you only have 90 minutes to make your connecting flight and who knows how long you’re going to be delayed sets in. You’d stand at the counter to ask one of the employees but you notice the line is already 15 people deep with fellow travelers who already had the same thoughts as you. If you’re waiting for the airline to let you know about a delay, you’re already WAY BEHIND THE CURVE.
Being prepared for a travel delay or cancellation is just like getting ready for a snowstorm or a hurricane. You don’t want to be the person rushing to the store the last minute to stock up on milk, bread, toilet paper (and possibly alcohol) and all you find are empty shelves. You need to have your emergency kit prepared ahead of time. This means you need to have several important travel apps ready to go at a moment’s notice.
Here are things you can do when your flight is delayed or cancelled that will, hopefully, help you get to your destination.
I’m at the point where I am ready to sign up for a new credit card. We’ve almost finished with the spending requirement to get the bonus for the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card, which is the last card we applied for. I’ve read many articles of the “Best sign up bonuses for May” so I have an idea of what is available. Instead of making yet another list, I’ll give you some insight into the things I take into consideration when making a decision like this.
I’ve booked a fair amount of airfare over the years, always trying to get the best price for the flights I wanted. At first I used a program called Easy SAABRE (anybody else remember that one?) that linked into the same system used by travel agents to book flights. I remember the amazement when I would call my travel agent and feed her the flights I wanted to take and told her what the price should come out to be.
Alas, the days of IBM PC computers, 2400 baud modems and airlines changing fares once a week are long gone. Now prices can change from one second to the next, depending on if there is a change of any one of many factors that go into the formula the airline uses to set their price. So how do you beat the system?
As I mentioned in a previous post, I recently had to book flights for us on routes that offered Basic Economy fares. After studying up on what the restrictions were for each airline and taking into consideration the details of each trip, I decided to book the basic fare for one of the trips and paid the extra money for “regular” economy for the other.
The following is a breakdown of how I made my decisions: