Be Prepared Before You Head Out To The Airport – Holiday Travel Guide 1

Increase the odds of arriving on time and keep your stress level at a minimum

The Holiday season is an extremely busy time at airports. Flights are packed, lines are long, and things sometimes go wrong. We’d like to offer a series of tips that will help you navigate through the holiday air travel complexities like a seasoned road warrior.

Airports are busiest and flight delays and cancellations are most common during the Dec. 19-23 period and between Dec. 26-28. If you are traveling on any of those days, pay particular attention to the following tips. FlightStats has compiled a list of suggestions and a checklist of things to do before heading to the airport.

General suggestions:

    1. Travel light. Ship your gifts ahead of time and don’t check luggage if you can help it. Having checked luggage makes it difficult to change your plans along the way – catch an earlier flight on standby or get a seat on a later flight if yours is canceled. If your bags are in the cargo hold of a delayed flight, you have to stay with them and if the flight is cancelled, retrieving them is never easy.

    2. Don’t drive yourself to the airport. Parking lots are often full during the holidays. So get a ride with a friend, take a cab or use rail if you can. If you have to drive, reserve a parking spot in an off-airport lot well in advance.

    3. Stay connected. Arm yourself with information tools. Download one or more of the many very useful mobile travel applications that include FlightStats flight data or bookmark mobile.flightstats.com so you can track airport delays, check flight status, look for availability on other flights, and more. Or if you prefer to use a laptop, sign-up for wi-fi service at the airports and on flights.

Here’s your checklist before you head to the airport:

    1. Check the weather at every airport you will be transiting through on the outbound trip. Bad weather anywhere along the way can disrupt your trip, sometimes severely

    2. Check the airport delay map at FlightStats.com to see what is happening at the airports you’ll be visiting. If you see yellow or red dots, that indicates delays are a factor – a clear indication that you need to keep close watch on your flight status.

    Click here for a video tutorial explaining how to use FlightStats.com to track airport delays and set-up flight stats alerts

    3. Set-up flight alerts to be sent to your mobile phone to save yourself the trouble of checking flight status.

    4. Check the on-time performance of the flights you’ll be taking. That will give you a clear indication of whether or not you’re likely to have a tight or missed connection. If you’ve booked a tight connection with historically delayed flights, you may want to make a back-up reservation with a refundable fare.

    Click here for a video tutorial explaining how to use FlightStats.com to check flight status and the on-time performance of your flights

In Part 2 of our 2010 Holiday Air Travel Tips, we’ll share how best to manage your travel experience while at the airport through the use of FlightStats Mobile applications. This includes the launch of a new video tutorial covering monitoring flight status and using the FlightStats Flight Availability tool in the case of cancellations and missed connections.

Safe travels!