Flying is certainly a lot different than it used to be. Decades ago, there was a certain elegance to flight, with meals, flight attendants, and even checked baggage. Now? Now you’re lucky to get a bag of peanuts and a very small drink; don’t even think about a free checked bag. But even if you might have suffered a series of setbacks with delayed flights, hungry hours in stale, smelly cabins, and more, you can do better.
You can hack not only your next flight but all your future flights, too. For example, you might consider an airline credit card to earn points and have access to some perks that only members get. Of course, it’s better if you just fly that airline, at least most of the time. What should you do to make all your travel while enjoying the best flight perks? This infographic offers some ideas!
Travel hacks for your best flight yet – Infographic transcript
Consider an airline credit card
- Airline credit cards often provide perks such as frequent flyer points, priority boarding, seat selection, extra legroom, and free checked bags, helping you obtain the cheapest flights.
- This is most helpful if you’re a frequent flyer and you usually fly with one airline.
Book 7 weeks in advance for cheap airfare
- Passengers pay the lowest price (nearly 10% below average fare) on plane tickets if they buy 50 days before their flight. Timing depends on where you go, too.
- Use a flight tracker to estimate the best moment to book airline tickets.
Number of weeks ahead you should book
- Within North America: 4 – 6 weeks
- Central America: 4 – 5 weeks
- The Caribbean: 2 – 4 weeks
- South America: 3 – 6 weeks
- Europe: 26 weeks
- Asia: 5 weeks
- South Africa: 9 weeks
Choose the right time when you search cheap flights
- Research shows that the best time to buy airline tickets is on Tuesdays at 3 p.m. EST.
- Fridays and Sundays are typically the most expensive days to book.
Set airfare alerts to get the best deals when you search flights
Flight websites and search engines allow you to set airfare alerts that will notify you of price drops.
Download a “forecasting” app
Apps such as Hopper, Flyr, and Kayak predict when fares will change and notify you when it’s the best time to buy.
Allow enough layover time
If you can’t book direct flights, shoot for layovers that are a minimum of 60 to 90 minutes to avoid missing your next flight and losing check baggage, and also so you have time to use the restroom and grab something to eat.
Don’t shy away from exit row or bulkhead seats
The exit row and bulkhead seats (the ones near walls, screens, or curtains) typically have more space.
Check out seat maps
Use SeatGuru to compare different aircraft amenities (such as TV type, laptop power, and WiFi) and layouts to choose the best plane and seat for you based on customer reviews.
If you have a large carry-on, book in the back of the plane
- Choosing a seat in the back of the plane will allow you more overhead space for your bag since most airlines seat passengers from the back to front.
- This also ensures your carry-on can stay in the cabin, and won’t have to be checked if the plane runs out of overhead space.
Double-check that your carry-on will fit
- Each airline has individual restrictions on carry-on size and weight as well as the number of items allowed per person (some airlines do not allow a personal item in addition to a carry-on bag).
- Check the airline’s site directly to ensure your bag will be permitted.
Pack your carry-on right
Here are some items that can help you have a more comfortable trip:
- A collapsible water bottle (which you can fill after going through security)
- Portable battery charger
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Face wipes
- Hand sanitizer
- Socks (for going through security)
- Snack, as long as it’s wrapped and non-liquid (foods that spread such as peanut butter, are considered liquid)
- Sweatshirt (wear it or drape it over your arm to save bag space)
If you check a bag (and in case your checked bag is lost):
- A full change of clothes
- Daily medications
- Tickets and other travel documents
- Valuables (jewelry, cameras, electronics)
Look up airport food and drink options before you get there
Rather than settle for the first thing you see, scout out your terminal’s food options from home so you can save time when you get there.
Check airport conditions
Well before your flight, check traffic and airport conditions (use the MyTSA app) so you can allow plenty of time for delays, long lines, and other setbacks.
Pick the checkpoint farthest to the left
Research shows that since most people are right-handed, they tend to choose airport security lines to the right, so lines on the left side may be shorter.
Flying is typically one of the least fun parts of a trip but by using the right tools to book the best flight and planning accordingly, you can increase your odds of having a more pleasant travel experience.
Brought to you by Sean Farrell via Quill.com.
Sean Farrell from Ireland is a commercial pilot. He is passionate about travel and a healthy lifestyle. Besides blogging about aviation and piloting, Sean enjoys sharing flight tips for passengers.
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