Planning on flying this holiday season? Here are some holiday travel tips for stress free flying from Shannon. Who better to offer advice about flying during the holiday season than someone who works in the industry!
1. What types of flights should we be booking if we are flying during the holiday season with kids?
There are two ways to look at this. I personally prefer the direct flights. Direct flights will get you to your destination the fastest. A connecting flight could give you a break during your travels and usually cost less as they are less desirable.
The busiest days to fly are Monday Friday Saturday and Sunday. Most people do not start or end their holidays on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday so many airlines offer lower fares on those days.
2. What should we do with gifts that we’d like to bring to family and friends?
Keep in mind that any gift you bring with you can and probably will be unwrapped by security whether they are in checked baggage or carry on.
I would check with your airline to see if you can bring a carry on with you and bring your presents, unwrapped on board with you.
During the holiday season, planes are packed – packed with people and stuff! I have heard of some travellers doing their shopping for gifts at their destination. Or purchasing on line and having the gifts delivered ahead of time to the recipient already wrapped!
3. Do you have any tips on how to minimize the wait time at the airport?
Arrive early. Web check in is your best bet. There is usually a separate line up for those travellers already checked in. This line up will move quicker than the line of folks checking in with an agent.
Generally for domestic flights the recommendation is 90 minutes (30 min for baggage drop off line, 30 min for security line up, 30 min for boarding).
During the holidays, add another 30 minutes for good measure. If you miss your flight, odds are all other flights are full and you may end up forfeiting your money and trip!
4. If something goes wrong (ie. delayed flights, lost baggage) what should we do? Who should we contact?
For delayed flights I would talk to customer service reps at the airport. They will know (as soon as they can) when the flight will be leaving. Most delays in winter are due to weather in the city you are departing from or the city your plane is in. Remember a storm in Toronto can affect your flight out of Winnipeg. For lost luggage you should always call your airline.
5. Do you have any other holiday travel tips for parents flying with children?
Try to keep yourself as free of luggage as possible. Check as much as you can. Ask about gate checking your stroller (confirm up to what size they allow) so that you have your stroller right up to the door of the aircraft. Strollers can be helpful in a full airport. During the flight I keep a few fun stuff in my purse. Some snacks, coloring book and crayons, card games, comics etc. I will “present” them throughout the flight. Bring headphones for free TV (when available) and handheld gaming devices (if you have older children).
Shannon has worked for a Canadian airline for years and has travelled extensively with her two kids and husband. You can find her blogging over at Shannon’s View From Here and connect with her on Twitter.