Hard as it may be to believe, particularly for those of us living in the northeast, summer is around the corner and, with a change in seasons comes a change in leisure travel.
Be Like The Boy Scouts
Every season has its own challenges, but the ones in summer turn mainly to those of congestion. Most of us remember the 2001 “summer of hell,” when you’d be taxiing to the runway and the pilot would say, “Well, folks,* we’re 26th in line for take-off,” and you would think, “Oh, good, we’re only 26th…” It makes sense. leisure travel picks up, everyone is flying into (and, more importantly, out of) the same airports and summer storms can throw things into chaos (from the guy who’s wife arrived after midnight last night because of a Boston thunderstorm). And while I don’t think that this summer will be as bad as 2001, airlines have been building capacity and that’s impossible to avoid. Keep in mind the following:
- Leisure travel often means families. If you don’t like kids, well, sorry, summer travel isn’t for you.
- If you do have kids, be sure to bring extra snacks and be prepared for unexpected delays. During the winter, everyone expects the bad weather. During the summer, people tend to be more footloose and fancy-free.
- Bring your own in-flight entertainment. Not only are companies pulling out seat-back TVs (for further research, see “Airlines, American.”) but you also can’t count on perfect video on-demand, working power ports or anything else that might make your life more convenient. Will everything work fine? Probably. But why take the risk?
- If you are using miles, don’t just look at economy. Since so many leisure travelers are booking rewards, the cabins up-front have lower load factors. First class seats might be just a few miles more than economy tickets.
- Have fun, and remember, the airline employees are likely having a worse day than you are.
*In the history of aviation, nothing good has ever followed the words, “Well, folks…”
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