Air Travel News 9.28.10

Air, Air Travel News, Extras, Leaving & Coming Home, Packing & Wardrobe, Passports & Visas, Travel Products & Services — By on September 28, 2010 at 6:00 am

by Nancy Yeomans

LG Air Travel Editor

Look up in the sky! It’s a bird….it’s a plane! No….it’s your weekly air travel news! Here’s what’s happening in the world of aviation, from the ground up.

Is Southwest’s Gain A Gain For Travelers?

So Southwest is joining the big leagues by buying up Air Tran.  It does seem like a win for all…Southwest claims they have no intention of changing their philosophy or practices.  They’ll expand their markets and acquire new routes and customers.  The merger may even force some of the other airlines to adopt some of Southwest’s policies or risk losing customers….we’re all for that!

Source:  CNN

Tips To Ease The Boarding Process

The airlines want us to have a smooth embarkation as much as we do.  Meg Howard, from United Airlines, sends us this advice to streamline the operation:

Before Travel:

  • Make sure that the name on your plane ticket matches your government identification exactly.
  • Reconfirm all of the aspects of your trip 48 hours before traveling, including flights, hotel accommodations and ground transportation.  On United, you can even check-in 24 hours in advance right from your home computer and sign up for mobile alerts that can be sent straight to your cell phone with your flight status.
  • Have your boarding pass and acceptable ID ready to go for yourself and all family members.

Packing Your Carry-On:

  • Federal regulations allow every customer to take onboard one carry-on bag and one smaller personal item.
  • Remember the TSA’s 311 rule: all liquids, gels and aerosols need to be in bottles no larger than three ounces; all bottles should be in one one-quart clear plastic bag.
  • Your carry-on should include essentials, particularly prescription medications, supplies for contact lenses and baby needs.
  • Be sure your portable electronic devices are fully charged and in your carry-on bag along with their power cords and extra batteries.
  • Because travel is often a long process that starts well before and ends after your flight, take along light snacks like granola bars or crackers, particularly if flying with children.

Quickie: For a customizable packing list check out the Universal Packing List

Your Checked Baggage:

  • You can often receive a discount on checked bag fees if you check-in and pay for bags online.
  • Consider shipping your luggage from home or the office directly to your final destination. United is the only airline that offers a Door-to-Door baggage shipment and delivery service.

Day Of Travel

  • Allow for plenty of time to check in and get to the gate. During busy travel periods arrive at the airport 90 minutes before departure of a flight within the U.S. and two hours before an international flight.
  • Boarding for most flights begins 30 minutes before departure. Customers need to be checked in and at the gate 20 minutes before departure.
  • There is no need to stand in line, especially with your kids in tow.  With your home computer and your mobile devices, you have everything you need to check your flight status, check in, pay for your checked bags and get your boarding passes.
  • Wear comfortable clothes, shoes and socks when traveling and consider dressing in layers to account for the range of temperatures you may experience during the travel day. Be sure your shoes can be removed easily for security screening. Be aware of items that frequently set off metal detectors, such as keys, loose change, jewelry and belt buckles.
  • Coats and jackets must be screened via x-ray.
  • When weather causes delays and missed connections, the kiosks located throughout the gate areas at United hubs are your best friend. You can generally bypass the lines at the customer service counters and – by checking any available kiosk — confirm whether you have been automatically rebooked and print your new boarding passes.

Additional details to speed your trip through security and streamline your airport experience that might be of interest to you:

  • Mobile Check In: There is no need to stand in line.  On United, you can now use your mobile device for check in and paperless boarding.
  • Red Carpet Clubs: United Red Carpet Club members now have reciprocal club privileges at all US Airways Club locations, providing access to an additional 19 lounges at seven airports not currently served by a Red Carpet Club. United’s recent reciprocal agreements with Continental Presidents Club® and the US Airways Club provide Red Carpet Club members the opportunity to relax in 77 lounges at 44 airports worldwide.

Quickie:  A Red Carpet Club one-time pass is only $35 if purchased online in advance…worth the splurge if you have a long layover!

Photo credit:  YoLoPey,edkohler,javajoba/flickr

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