Have you ever missed a flight? You do not want that to happen, ever. Scheduling your own flight or if you have a professional helping you, you may want to have a few tips to follow. Getting to the Airport on Time Did you book a flight at 6 am? Did you think about what it will take to make that 6 am flight? There is a good possibility you will have to leave at 3 in the morning; between the distance you live from the airport, traffic, be sure to know what terminal your flight is leaving from, is it a domestic flight (1 to 2 hours early to the airport) or international (2 to 3 hours early), allow time to check-in and than the dreaded security line – how long will it be, and how fast will it be going.
Take the time to think about the variables of getting to the airport and to your gate on time. Tip: when I am flying internationally, because I live over an hour from the airport and with traffic that can double the time, I normally stay at a hotel at or very close to the airport; usually a hotel that has a shuttle service to the airport.
True story: when we were in Hong Kong we got on an elevator to go back up to our room and there was a man that got on with us. He looked upset/sad, so my husband started chatting with him. Come to find out that his family’s flight from Hong Kong to the UK was at 12 am – he made the mistake of thinking that was 12 – noon. It was the exact opposite it was 12 midnight. Big problem. He missed his flight and was unsure how he and his family were going to get back home to the UK.
Sidenote – Code Shares: be sure you know what airline you are flying. That seems clear-cut but with all the “code shares” that airlines do you may not be flying the airline you thought you were.
We had a flight from San Diego to Italy, with a plane change and as it turned out an airline change at JFK airport in New York. We not only had to change planes we had to change terminals, find the check-in for the next airline our flight was on, go through their check-in process (which was very different from our domestic flight), and go through security again all before we got close to the gate we were leaving from. Don’t let this be a surprise, know before you go. When there are delays, search out a good place to be comfortable!
When I book a flight I always allow at least one hour between domestic flights and two and a half to three hours if you have to go through customs. Things to think about – is your next flight in the same terminal (if you are changing airlines it is not unusual for it to be in a different terminal), do you need to buy food so you don’t starve, and do you have to go through customs (see below for more on customs).
True story: we were coming home from Orlando, Florida, and we had a connection in Houston. As we are landing, and we were late, the flight attendant came on and asked if everyone could remain seated to let five passengers off first – “they were holding a plane for them.” I was amazed but everyone cooperated; we had great people on our flight. But than the FA said, “ (our last name) don’t hurry your flight has already left.” Yes we did spend the night in Houston.
In your carry-on, have the things you need to make long delays or the unexpected over night stay bearable. If you take medications please always have at least one or two days in your carry-on bag. Other things like power supplies, books, snacks, the phone number of the person who was going to pick you up – call them as soon as you know you are going to be late, hair brush, tooth brush (you can usually buy toothpaste at most hotels), and an extra shirt to name a few. We never did see our bags till we landed in San Diego the next day, so be prepared for delays. If you want to think a little deeper you might want to take into consideration if you are flying during the winter and have a choice between changing planes in Denver or Dallas, which one wou