More than 660 million people traveled by plane in 2014, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. When you travel a lot for work or for pleasure or both, you can spend a lot of your time standing in security lines, waiting for baggage and killing time on long layovers. Whether you’re new to frequent air travel or you’ve been flying forever, here are a few tips and tools to help cut down on the hassle and stress of air travel:
Finding the Best Deal on Airfare
You might hear a lot of contrasting advice on finding the best deals, but a recent study from Airlines Reporting Corp. found that the lowest average price for international and domestic roundtrip flights was on the weekend, particularly on Sunday. According to the Wall Street Journal, the study found that business travelers, who usually pay more, tend to buy tickets during the week whereas leisure travelers mainly search for airfare on the weekends. If you have to buy tickets during the week, the travel firm Yapta Inc. found that Tuesdays see a decline of 21 percent in airline ticket prices. As for how far out before your trip you should buy tickets, Airlines Reporting Corp. found the lowest prices were about two months, or 57 days, before departure.
How to Get an Upgrade
There is a big difference between coach, business and first class, but those coveted upgraded seats can be hard to nab. Airlines want to fill business and first class seats first because they generate more revenue, but people do not buy those seats as often, so they are regularly offered as upgrades.
Unfortunately, many airlines won’t offer the vacant premium seat upgrades until just before the flight departure. Instead of taking your chances, ExpertFlyer.com suggests using frequent flyer miles to purchase an upgrade to avoid outrageous premium seat costs. If you don’t have frequent flyer miles, continually check with the airline for possible open seats. Or you could use a flight alert service to daily check airlines for available upgrades and mileage award seats. If all else fails, wait to check into your flight until the last minute, as you may get lucky and get that last premium seat.
Skip the Expensive Drinks
It can be tempting after spending all day in the airport to splurge for the pricey, watered-down cocktails you can buy onboard. However, what most people don’t realize is you can actually bring your own booze on board. How, you ask? TSA allows you to pack as many containers of 100 ml or less that can comfortably fit in a 1 quart plastic bag. And, according to the blog ImATravelNinja.com, TSA agents are more than happy to let you bring small unopened travel bottles of alcohol with you. This is a welcome relief from the $11 mixed drinks in the airport and onboard flights.
Maximizing Your Mobile Device Usage
Your laptop or smartphone can be a lifesaver when it comes to killing time in the airport. Watching a video, reading the news or staying connected with your business are all great ways to stay entertained. However, if you run out of battery life, it can be difficult to find a free charging station, which could leave you out of luck. Luckily, some of the newer smart devices today, such as the Samsung Galaxy S5, let you create custom power settings so you aren’t wasting your battery reading an article or replying to an email. Setting your phone to a lower power setting helps you save battery life to last most of your trip.