Thursday morning, I had a text from a client that they were not going to make their Los Angeles departure for the South Pacific.
What should they do? They were on their late departing flight from Boston and their arrival was not going to make their departure flight.
Let’s back up and look at the booking of flights particularly if you are flying on a domestic flight to meet your international departure. The following notes will be good for any trip to anywhere.
1.) If you can with time and money, fly into the international departure airport the day before your flight departure. This allows you maximum time to be sure you will be in the airport for your flight. It also allows you to reduce stress that comes with flying. You can check-in early for your international flight and then enjoy the departure area even more as many now have spas and economy lounges.
Flying in the day before is a very good idea particularly in winter or when weather can delay you like Dallas with thunderstorms.
2.) If flying in the day before is not an option for you, arrive into your international departure airport as early as you can on the day of departure and on a non-stop into that airport. Having connections to your international departure airport just adds more possible reasons for delay. I recommend having at least 4 hours before your international flight departs. I also try to allow at least one other flight departure for my international departure airport from my home airport. I allow two flights between my departure time of my international flight if possible.
3.) Book your entire flight itinerary in one ticket and try to use the airlines that are all in one partnership like One World or Star Alliance. If you flights are all in one ticket and the airlines are all in the same alliance then the airlines work real well for you to get to your destinations as fast as possible in case of delays. And if a delay makes you miss a flight it is the airline’s responsibility for finding you the next available flight, any overnight hotel or meals you may need while you wait, and and compensation.
4.) Use a travel agent for your flight and land itinerary. They are invaluable for delays and other challenges. My client lost a day of their trip, but i was able to change all their itinerary before they arrived into the islands to make their delayed arrival as comfortable as possible.
5.) I hear some of you saying that this would be more expensive by using airlines with partnerships and flying in the day before. It might be, but it does not have to be if you book well in advance. The main point is that you lessen the possibility of an expensive delay, losing money for missing nights on your travel, and the time necessary to do all this on your own.
6.) Finally, it is very important to protect large, international trips with travel insurance so that when the delays happen you have help in the situation and reimbursement if the delay is for a covered reason.
One thing to include in your planning these days is belligerent travelers on planes. My flight my client was on this past Thursday had the delays for weather, passengers were late getting back to the plane, and one was so belligerent due to the delays that the flight was delayed even more.
Take the time to plan ahead and avoid as many delays as possible.
Enjoy the week!