Posts Tagged "travel"

Mr Toad’s Wild Expedia Ride

Posted By on Feb 19, 2018

Last year, I booked a set of flights for my boyfriend. He was coming to visit me in Arizona from Europe. But he was going to go back home from Orlando after we did a week in Disney.

I had trouble finding decently priced flights. I normally start on Kayak and normally end up on one airline’s site to buy the best-priced route. This time, I was pretty stumped so I figured I’d try Expedia.

We ended up with:

  • [His local airport] -> Rome -> Chicago -> Tucson
  • Orlando -> London -> Rome -> [His local airport]

That’s 3 flights each way. They were mostly sold as Iberia flights but were really code shares for British Airways, American Airlines, Vueling… there were at least four airlines in there.

But we paid one low fare and carried on… until it came time to fly.

Oh get ready for this.

The trouble started when I called to try to pick out his seats. Called Iberia. No, this flight is on British Airways, American, and other carriers… call them. I called them. No, this is an Iberia flight. We can’t book seats on an airline that’s not ours.

Took days of calling to get him seats. Fast forward to flight day.

His local airport doesn’t have an Iberia desk. He checked in with the first airline. They weren’t sure how far they could check the bag. So it had to be re-checked in Rome with it hopefully passing through Chicago and then landing in Tucson. Which it did but that means paying to check it twice.

Returning to Europe, Orlando had no Iberia desk. He was checking in with British Airways for his flight to London. It took them an hour to check his suitcase. They didn’t sell him the ticket. They had no connection to his next flight to Rome. Everything the agent put into the computer it rejected because the next flight was on another airline.

The agent got her manager. The manager got her supervisor. The supervisor went to “the expert in the back.” These women were all lovely and really tried to help get the suitcase straight to Rome even though the next flight was on another airline.

What a mess. And of course in Rome, he had to get his bag and re-check it on another airline and pay again.

This isn’t unique to Expedia.

This is true for any company that gets creative with code shares or mixing-and-matching flights. has a neat solution.

If you go to book something like this on, when they give you a mix-and-match result, they have messaging right there that suggests you not check any bags.

Notice the message at the bottom of this suggested flight route? Cabin baggage aka carry-on luggage only. Why? Because they know that they are putting you on a series of disconnected one-way flights. You will NOT be able to check your bag at point A and arrive at point C or D without having to collect your checked bag and re-check it (and pay again).

Be warned about mix-and-match.

Mix and match will save you money unless you have checked bags. If you have checked bags, please consider the following:

  1. You will need to collect your checked bags on your plane change, which takes you outside of security. You’ll go to the check-in counter and wait in the line to check your bags again. You will pay again.
  2. Make sure there is time for that. There isn’t time for that on a one-hour layover. Not even sure about a two-hour layover given what ticket counter lines and security lines can be like

You’ve been warned! Book carefully. It might be worth a little extra money to fly all on one airline so they can check your bags straight through. Or as suggests, carry-on luggage only.

Read More

I recently took a round-trip flight on Delta. It’s been a while. I mostly fly United and I’m mostly happy. But I had to go to a Delta hub, and their timing was just better.

In each direction, they boarded the plane completely differently. Boarding took what felt like longer than usual in both directions. I was surprised to see it look so disorganized and inconsistent.

On the Way There

On the way to my destination, Delta asked people who did not have suitcases or other bags that would go in the overhead to go ahead and board early. That way, people who are more likely to board quickly and efficiently can get on board.

They asked other passengers with later boarding groups to please come up and start gate checking bags while us “faster” people boarded. They were sure they’d be running out of room, so you might as well gate check that now. They eventually forced people with the last boarding group to gate check on the assumption that there would be no room.

This boarding approach made sense. Forcing people to gate check when you’re not sure if there’s room or not didn’t make sense. Find out for sure. But as for boarding, this was a winner.

On the Way Home

Same predicament. Full flight. Lots of people to board, many with rolling bags that would go in the overhead bins. Assumption that space would run out. Let’s start gate checking bags.

Early in the process, they asked all people who have rolling bags to please come up NOW, gate check them, and then board. As you might imagine, this line moved incredibly slowly. People had to get tagged, the tag had to be associated with their ticket, and then they could move through the boarding process.

They seemed to mostly throw away groups and focus on the slow-moving gate-checking people.

I went up to the agent and said that on the way there, Delta had let people who didn’t need to gate check to board earlier since we don’t hold people up in aisles. Can we board too? She looked at me blankly and said, “We’re boarding people gate checking bags now.” Yes, I knew that. Thank you SO much for your help.

Side Effect: Anger At Gate Checking Bags

There is a “side effect” of an airline pre-deciding that they will run out of space and forcing anybody in certain boarding groups to gate check bags, which they did. The side effect looks like this:

High strung local is forced to gate check a bag he didn’t plan to check. He’s told they’re running out of space, and he has no choice. He gets on the plane. LOTS of bins are open. He sits down at the window seat in front of my aisle seat and starts complaining endlessly to the poor woman in the middle seat.

He is SO upset that he had to gate check his bag. Why did they take it from him? They didn’t need to! Look at all these open bins. Now I have to wait for my bag when we land!

A flight attendant overheard him having a small fit and asked what the issue was. After being caught up, the flight attendant said, “Oh, the gate agent is supposed to check with us as to how much space is really left. I guess she didn’t do that.”

No she didn’t do that. You saved a 20-second call from gate to plane and in return, you will frustrate a lot of passengers who hate checking bags and waiting for them on the other side.

Other Delta Frustration: Zone 2 Is Last

When I get zone 2 boarding from United, I know I’m going on early. Zone 1 is first. Zone 2 is second.

Not at Delta. At Delta, Zone 2, will be fourth or fifth. Either way, it will be LAST. The groups that board before zone 1 don’t have numbers. They are called up by class or perk. “If you’re first class or have our American Express card,” type of stuff. Zone 2 on Delta is bad news. You are last. If you were hoping to get something in the overhead bin, start praying.

Wait, I Have One More

I was flying with a banner in a soft case for my conference table. On the way to the event, the flight attendants were happy to put it in the first class coat rack area.

Flying home, I asked if it could go in the first class coat area. NO. Stuff it into the overhead bin. Thanks a lot.

I’ll keep flying United where I can.

While United isn’t perfect (none of them are), I have had consistently good experiences with them. Boarding always seems smooth and logical. Treatment (for me anyway) is consistent. Approaches are consistent.

Consistency is important. Setting expectations is important. Meeting or exceeding expectations is important.

Read More

I’m working on a plan to visit Disneyland Paris (DLP) with my British friend. That plan is not coming together as easily as it should be, especially knowing how well the website behaves when I try to plan a visit to Disney World in Florida.

The website aimed at North America for DLP won’t let me book the month I want to visit. It’s all crossed out. Forbidden.

I tried Expedia. It shows no Disney hotels in Paris. My only choices are other neighbouring hotels. No, I think I really want the Disney experience. Just to see what that is in Paris. Collect them all!

I went to Kayak. They show the Disney hotels available for my dates, but for like $700 per night. No, that seems a bit out of wack.

I went to the UK Disneyland Paris site. DLP caters heavily to the UK folks. So my dates are available! Disney hotels are available. And in fact, there is a package deal where for the equivalent of about $800 (US Dollars), I can get 3 nights of Disney hotel, park tickets, and breakfast each morning. Well, that seems like a good deal. Let’s book it!

I went through the whole booking process only to get to the last page, which asked for my credit card and address. The country for the address said UNITED KINGDOM and could not be changed. So I can’t book it. My British friend can!

Evidently DLP wants us there if SHE books it but not if I book it. Why? What’s the difference? Our money is good.

I wanted to call to ask what’s up, but they’re only open regular business hours, France time. Ugh.

This whole thing was very frustrating and not at all the Disney magic I’m used to. But I’m determined to go. If my friend’s name has to go on it and her card hit, so be it. We’ll sort that out between us.

But why put barriers in front of someone who wants to be your customer? And I have to pre-pay, which means cash flow for you now.

Read More

The night before as 6.5-hour cross-country flight, I was on hotel Wi-Fi when I bought 3 books for my Kindle app.

I downloaded each book to my android tablet. I watched as a progress bar told me the book was mine and on my device.

I opened each book to make sure it downloaded, and there they were. The first few pages of each book.

2 hours into my flight, I’m awake and thinking about reading my books. I DO have 4.5 more hours to kill without internet or comfort.

I opened the Kindle app on the same tablet. I noticed each book was missing its cover… Just the name written in white on a blue background. Weird!

When I went to open each book, I was told I needed an internet connection. Having used the Kindle app many times before, this was a surprise. I thought it was download it and go.

So instead of reading $30 of books, I’m writing this blog post in my WordPress app.

It’s a serious UX failure.

Either the books are downloaded and available to read or they’re not. I had all the visual cues that would tell me yes, you bought this and it’s been completely downloaded to the device. Why can’t I read it?

A similar thing happened recently on another flight. A mah jongg tile game I got didn’t want to work without internet. Why? Why can’t I play that on an aeroplane without Wi-Fi? What is so important that your game has to connect now and can’t just report crap to your servers later?

Scenarios help you imagine how and where your users use your product or service. Next time you’re writing those, find out if your customer might use it where there’s no internet.

Read More

My best friend Mike travels a crazy amount for work including to Europe and Asia. I recently saw him and he was singing the praises of his new Bose 20i noise cancelling headphones.

He had me put them on. He turned them on. Ambient hiss and white noise went away. When he spoke, I heard mostly the high frequencies of his voice.

“I can hear you talking,” I said, as if to say that noise cancelling earbuds can’t live up to their name if I can hear him talking.

He told me that the headphones perfectly cut airplanes noises… Engine roar, wind, hiss. He was thrilled. Sounds like those might be good for moto riding. Cut road noise, engine, and wind without killing too much car horn frequencies.

But I’m writing this post on a plane that has a screaming and crying baby. And this is hour three.

And it occurs to me that noise cancelling headphones designed to cut airplane sounds might not cut the most dreaded in-flight sound, the unhappy infant.

I can sleep through plane sounds. I can’t sleep through unhappy baby sounds.

And as a sound engineer, it seems like it would be easy to fix this.

Step 1: record babies from all over the world making various crying and screaming sounds for various or no reasons.

Step 2: analyse these frequencies to determine the range where most babies go when freaking out.

Step 3: add a button with a baby icon to your noise cancelling headphones’ inline control. When I really need to cut unhappy baby sounds, that button goes right for those frequencies. Cut them all. If I really need to hear someone talking, I’ll use the control switch that turns off all noise cancellation.

But please give me a button that cuts out all or nearly all baby noise. I’d pay for that. A lot. I’m noticing my stress and tension level. How much I’m grinding my teeth. And how I’m not getting the rest I need. How I paid to upgrade to economy plus so the tray table and the seat in front of me reclining don’t hit my boobs.

I’d pay for this product. My plane doesn’t have Wi-Fi but you can be sure I’ll be Googling to see if this product exists. Even if it exists, make a better one with lots of granular controls based on ranges of unwanted sounds.

Thank you.

PS: Googling “baby noise cancelling headphones” brings up noise cancelling headphones FOR BABIES. Like people taking babies to rock concerts. Ugh, please invent what I need!

Read More

Visiting WDW sounds easy enough! But especially if it’s your first time, I have some tips for you. I’ve been going roughly every few years since I was about 6, and I’m about to turn 42. So I’ve got some experience.

There’s Way More to WDW Than A Castle And A Giant Golf Ball

Some adults wonder why go to Disney. They won’t like it. They don’t care about Mickey or princesses. They’re not sure what they’ll do all day in these parks. Don’t worry. Unlike the California park, Disney in Florida offers a mountain of stuff to do.

Most Disney resorts (and don’t stay anywhere else) have pools. Many also have bike rentals and surrey bike rentals (those family bikes). Some have watercraft rentals. Some have gyms. You could sit around at the pool all day if you like trips like that.

Disney has a number of spas. Many have services for kids. Book a spa half day!

There are the four main parks (Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom). Two water parks. Mini golf courses. Downtown Disney has dining, shopping, and a Cirque du Soleil. It also has Disney Quest, a multi floor gaming arcade. ESPN Sports Zone has some minor league games and other sporting events. All on Disney’s grounds.

And There Are Tours

Want to learn more about Disney’s hydroponic and sustainable farming? Want to do an off road Segway tour of Disney’s campground? What about a few hours behind the scenes of the Magic Kingdom? Disney offers lots of tours for an extra fee. I’ve done a few and the fun and memories are worth it. Budget it for it!

Don’t Overschedule!

The new Disney Experience website and app want you to schedule everything you can do. Every meal you can eat. Every FastPass ride you might go on. Honestly, you don’t have to. You can play things by ear. Other than tours and…

But Do Make Dining Reservations Months In Advance

OK, you don’t want to overschedule, but you do need to know that most of the better eateries are booked MONTHS in advance for dinner. Some for lunch. Not everything in WDW takes reservations. And not everything needs reservations. If you are looking for chicken fingers, you will find them. But if you want to sit down and eat in one of the parks or hotels for dinner, make reservations in advance. You can do this online or by calling the dining line.

Budget For Souvenirs

It’s easy to plan a trip and say OK, we have to buy flights. Disney will pick us up and drop us off at the airport for free (Magic Express). And Disney will sell us a package that has the room, park tickets, and tax. Disney will sell us a dining plan too if we want to prepay for meals.

But remember souvenirs, especially if you have kids. I go alone and I buy t-shirts. They are not overpriced. A t-shirt is $20 and up for adults. A track jacket for adults might be $70.

But there is one souvenir people forget to work into their budget. $150 for what’s now called Memory Maker. This is you buying a copy of every photo Disney staff take of you. And trust me, you will want these. Their photogs are great, and capture lots of fun moments. They are all around every park, and I’ve even found them as I clumsily splashed off the end of a fast water ride at one of Disney’s 2 water parks.

You can easily end up with 100 cool pics, so the price isn’t that bad for high quality downloads. But work it into the budget because you should get it! It’s $149 if you buy it in advance of your trip through the Disney Experience website.

Dress For Waiting In Line

Flip flops are cute, but are they still cute when you are waiting 1-2 hours for a 5 minute ride? EPCOT alone is 300 acres. That’s nearly twice the size of the whole California Disneyland. EPCOT is mostly in a circle, and I think walking around it is around 2 miles. The parking lot at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World, Florida is larger than California Disneyland.

WDW is around 48 square miles. That’s about the size of San Francisco. Bigger than Manhattan. Sure, they have transportation to get you between parks and hotels. But get your legs, back, and feet ready.

If you’re not waiting, you’re walking. Forget the cute shoes. Wear the most comfy things you have, which might be your workout trainers or something like that. You are basically running a marathon in slow motion. Dress for it!

Bring snacks if you need them. Disney is OK with you bringing some snacks and beverages in last I checked. So if you have kids, maybe have some granola bars and juice boxes. Disney has endless food everywhere, but if you’re on a 2-hour line, it might be good to have something quick someone can have as a snack if they are losing their mind.

Bring Your Charging Cable and External Battery Pack

If you plan to take lots of pics from your phone, use your phone a lot, or social media a lot, you will probably burn your battery down pretty fast. And then what.

One year, I went to WDW with someone who burned his iPhone down before lunch. He had his charging cable and plug with him (great!) but it’s not like Disney is full of outlets. He found outlets outside a men’s room. He stood there for an hour waiting for his phone to charge up. He looked like he was trying to turn tricks standing outside the men’s room like that.

I have a small battery pack that’s 6x my phone battery. This is where understanding your phone’s battery helps. If you have a 2100mAh battery, and you go buy a 1500mAh external charging pack, you will barely double your phone’s time. That’s why I own two 20,000mAh battery packs. Yeah, you read that right. I’m a “be prepared” kind of gal. I don’t want to get stuck looking for outlets. I keep myself charged with my battery packs.

Bonus Tip: Go When American Kids Are In School

If you have kids, you might not be able to try this tip. Though I know some people will take their kids out of school for a week to go to Disney in a quieter season. Quieter seasons are not only more fun, but they are cheaper. Supply and demand. Disney hotel prices drop during their “value” seasons. Park tickets are the same. Flights might be cheaper since who’s going to Orlando for a week when every kid is in school.

Yes, we associate Disney with long lines. I remember going Xmas week when I was a teen, and waiting 90 minutes to get on Spaceship Earth (the giant golf ball). Ninety freaking minutes. Feels like most of your day gone.

As an adult (with no kids), I go to Disney when every American child has school. Sometimes that was late September. Sometimes early February. Either way, school is in session. Most of the kids there were from other countries. And by going during these times, I can walk right on Spaceship Earth with literally zero line.

So if you can go early January to mid-Feb or September into early October, those are hands down the best times. Usually good weather, not blazing hot. And the lines are way way way shorter. Especially lines for the bus back to your hotel. After 12 hours of walking, it can suck to have to wait for many transport buses to cycle through before you can get on one.

I love Disney World, even as an adult, and am heading there on my bi-annual pilgrimage in a few weeks. Have a question about hitting WDW? Happy to help!

Read More

I’ve had a few friends Facebooking wildly while stuck in multi-hour delays on planes sitting at the gate. I guess it’s time once again for Deb’s Travel Tips: Airports and Flying Edition!

Bring Water

It’s important to stay hydrated when flying. Security has you thinking you can’t bring beverages, and bottled water once you get past security is more expensive than a night out in NYC.

You CAN bring empty bottles/water containers through. TSA doesn’t have a problem with containers. They have a problem with liquids. So I bring a one-litre platypus (reusable bottle) or sometimes my one-gallon Camelbak hydration bladder thing. I fill it up from a water fountain (free and usually good-tasting) once I’m past security.

Bring Bars

Make sure you have at least 2 nutrition bars in your bag. These could be granola bars. I wouldn’t do more than 1 candy bar unless it’s Snickers. Candy is just not filling. I bring Luna bars or the new Zone Simple bars that are gluten free. At least two bars per person. They weigh just about nothing. Bring them. Sometimes I end up eating mine on the car rental lines. 🙁

Bring A Meal or Have JUST Eaten a Meal

Don’t board hungry assuming you’ll be there in 90 minutes. Anything can happen. Either have just eaten a good meal or bring one. I normally bring one. Both directions.

When flying from home, I normally get some good takeout (like beef and broccoli) and put it in my special reusable Rubbermaid thing that flattens when you’re done. Don’t go running to the store. They don’t make them anymore.

Beef and broccoli is a good choice since without dairy and with everything well cooked, it’ll stay good for a long time.

Sandwiches seem like they’re easy to take and store, but they have some strikes against them.

  1. Sometimes they have dairy on them, and that can start to go bleh or soggy. Mayo’s not dairy, but have you ever seen mayo after a few hours? Bleh.
  2. Lunch meat is typically salty and full of chemicals. That’s not good for you any day.
  3. Bread will typically mess with your blood sugar and make you feel hungry again sooner. It’s a real pile of empty calories.
  4. Unless you got your sandwich at a Jewish-style deli, chances are it had 3 pieces of meat. See above about bread, and this thing is just not going to be that filling that long.

On your way back, find decent food (even if you have to Yelp for it or drive the rental car a bit out of the way on the way to the airport). It’s worth it. In Anaheim, I Yelp’ed a great local taqueria that got great ratings. I brought the spicy sauce home for my boyfriend. He said it was the best he ever had. Guess where I’ll be stopping on my way back from my next Anaheim trip.

I was recently in Vegas. I went to Beijing 9 Noodle Company (or whatever it’s called) in Caesars. Got a sirloin beef and string bean to go, no rice. Wasn’t cheap. But man it was one of the best Chinese dishes I’ve ever had. Great quality. Ate it in the airport while waiting to board my delayed flight.

All better choices than the fast food and crap in the airport. Period.

Bring a Battery Pack

I have two 20,000 mAh battery packs that are rechargeable. That’s about 10 cell phone batteries for those keeping score. One of them can power a laptop or a USB device. The other can power 2 USB devices at the same time. You don’t want to run out of battery, especially if you’re sitting for hours on a plane before it even goes anywhere. Stay charged up with battery packs!

I get them on eBay from China. They’re like $25. They’re a little bigger than a deck of playing cards and not too heavy at all. Can’t go wrong having that for your many devices. The one that can power a laptop is the size of a small hardcover book and weighs one pound. It’s a bit more to carry but not by that much.

And those are some of my travel tips! Good luck!

Read More

Valid Passport vs. Clean Passport

Posted By on Mar 6, 2013

Categories: Human Behavior

Tags: passport, travel

I was recently shown a potential job that included some international travel for meetings. The job description said I need to have a valid passport.

A valid passport is one that hasn’t expired yet.

Workplaces SHOULD be asking for a Clean Passport. Take it from my days in the music biz. Yes, I have a Clean Passport (and it’s still valid… expires in 2016).

A Clean Passport

A clean passport means you will be let into and out of any country because you have no arrest or criminal record that would keep you from entering or leaving a country.

One of my adventures in the music biz had to do with a bus tour we were managing. The bus driver swore he had a clean passport. A few days before we were going to enter Canada, he admitted he was once arrested for possession of a small amount of drugs. This means Canada won’t let him in. I found a website that summed this up nicely with respect to trying to enter Canada:

If you have a trial under way, or there is a warrant for your arrest, or you have charges pending against you, you are considered criminally inadmissible. If you have been convicted of minor offenses (including assault, dangerous driving, DUI, theft, shoplifting, unauthorized possession of firearms, possession of illegal substances, etc.) or indictable criminal offenses (including assault with a deadly weapon, manslaughter, etc.) you are prohibited from entering.

Canada is just my example. Each country has its own requirements. But if you want to play it safe, you want your employee or contractor to be “Clean.”

Ask for what you really need and want: a Clean Passport

So, recruiters and companies that are hiring, make sure you ask for what you really need. You don’t just need someone with a valid passport. You need someone who will be able to enter and leave the countries to which you might send this person.

Read More

Did You Pack Your Own Bags?

Posted By on Jan 28, 2013

I was flying recently, and I remembered how you always used to get asked if you packed your own bags. And then they stopped asking that. I’m guessing that didn’t work. But I want to know who THOUGHT it would work.

Who thought that we could ask people if they packed their own bags and then catch terrorists by detaining the ones who said, “Nope, someone else was sticking stuff in my bags, and I have no idea what it is.”

Once upon a time, the TSA COULD have stopped me and didn’t. I was going through security. Even though it was a domestic flight (New York back to my beloved Arizona), the guy checking driver’s licenses asked me if I had anything to declare. I did. I confidently told him I “fucking HATED New York.” And I quote. And I do. I grew up there, and just didn’t like it. You’re welcome to like New York.

Now, given how tippy toes everybody is about airport security, they could have said that was some sort of threat I was making, and detained me. And he didn’t.

And how much C4 can fit in a shoe anyway?

Ugh, I hate security theatre. Let’s just take a page from El Al here, and improve our system.

Read More

Luggage: To Check or Carry On?

Posted By on Dec 14, 2012

I always check luggage. I travel a lot, and have never lost a bag. I once had a bag arrive on the flight after mine. Nobody in my family has ever lost a bag, as far as I know. Yes, I know these things happen, but they are rare. When they happen, they’re awful and frustrating. But the stat I found is that 98% of “lost” bags turn up within a few days. That feels better than the 2% who never see their bag again!

So in the scheme of the universe, checking a bag is not high risk. You are VERY likely to see it right after your flight. And on the off-chance you don’t, you are VERY likely to see it within a few days. Yet every day, people schlep zillions of bags through security, through airports, onto the plane, and into the overhead bin. I have watched MANY people unable to lift their own bags over their head. Who decided that was a better idea than checking the bag?

Think about your experience boarding a plane. It’s a mad dash to get your bag up in an overhead bin. You can’t always get space. Sometimes, a flight attendant puts your bag in a row behind where you’re sitting. UGH! You’re waiting for people to find that overhead spot and sit down already. They’re bumping into you. This can only be improved by people bringing on smaller carry-ons (that they can more easily handle) and/or more people checking bags.

I check my bags and just bring on a backpack. You’re welcome!

Here are a few of my travel tips relating to checking a bag.

  1. I went to a fabric store and bought a yard or two of blue camouflage fabric. Go spend $6 and buy some crazy fabric. Cut a strip, and heavily knot a strip of that fabric on EVERY handle your suitcase has (except the bottom handle). You might think putting something on your bag helps you see it when it comes down the carousel. But you know what it REALLY does? It helps someone else NOT accidentally take it. Somewhere, a guy who has the same suitcase as mine and was about to grab mine realised he did NOT tie blue camo fabric all over it.
  2. Don’t pack anything important or not easily replaced in there. Don’t put important meds or jewellery in there. Don’t put your computer or hard drive in there unless you have backups somewhere else. Pack like you might not see that bag again, though that’s really really rare. In fact, some people suggest packing one night of clothes (say clean undies and a t-shirt) in your carry-on in case you had to spend one night without your bag. I tend to not do that.
  3. Pack your carry-on it as if it’s going to be thrown around and come down a carousel. Southwest checks bags for free, but many airlines who charge for bags will last-minute gate check your bag for free. When they have a packed flight, they know they will run out of overhead space. They will often make an announcement before boarding that if you are OK with gate checking, come check your bag now for free. So pack it as if you might end up checking it. You might get it checked for free!
  4. Take a camera phone picture of all of your checked bag tags. Sometimes, people notice paper in their bag or pocket, and throw it away. And sometimes that paper is their bag claim tags. I have seen this happen. “Oh, I must have thrown it away on the plane change when I cleared out my pockets and threw away the first flight’s boarding pass.”
  5. If your bag is lost, keep on the airline to make it right. Don’t be a jerk. That never helps any customer service incident. Nobody’s in a big rush to deal with the jerky guy. But stick around the airport to make a report. Keep all the report/claim information. Follow up with people. Get names and phone numbers, and call people back if they don’t get in touch with you when they claim they will. Be polite!
  6. If your bag is lost, deal with the airline. It’s probably NOT the airport’s fault. Don’t complain to the airport. Save your time and anxiety. Deal with your airline.

Those are my luggage tips! If you’re travelling this holiday season, I hope it’ll be safe and fun.

Read More