We are right in the middle of the holiday travel season so I would like to take the time to answer a few questions that came through Facebook messages this week.
Tim: What percentage of the time have you been delayed or bumped to a later flight or had plane troubles?
Travel Addict: I would say that it comes in waves. For example, I had a terrible period from January to March where I don’t think I had one trip where I arrived on time with my bags to my destination. It actually took me almost four days to get home from India in March. Travel issues can also be seasonal and airline dependant. Winter is always a difficult time to travel due to weather conditions.
For the most part I think travel gets more complicated all the time as airlines cut flights and have more maintenance issues as plane fleets age. I usually plan extra time when traveling and do not schedule meetings or appointments close to travel times. I have had to learn patience and focus on the opportunities that are on the other side of the flight. I tell everyone that I love to travel but hate the process of getting from place to place.
I also recommend that you join frequent flier programs on any airline that you fly. I have status on many airlines so that prevents me from being bumped and helps persuade them to get me on flights that are running. I feel that United has one of the best frequent flier programs in the industry. Their miles go the furthest toward free flights and upgrades.
TSA Pre-Check is also now open for any passenger to apply and sign up. Pre-check greatly saves time when you arrive at airport security and you no longer have to take laptops out or remove shoes. (www.tsa.gov)
Tim: Which airlines are the worst to travel both in and outside the country?
Travel Addict: I live in Cincinnati so I am really locked in to flying Delta and Delta partners most of the time. Because of this, I tend to have most of my personal flying issues with Delta. I have also had my share of issues with Air France as well. One of my worst travel experiences recently was at Heathrow with Air France. They only permit one carry on at Heathrow, which is almost impossible if you are a photographer with expensive camera gear and any other bag. My biggest issues almost always lie when they don’t enforce the rules equally and allow some passengers to have extra bags and others are shutdown.
Make sure to check airline and airport policies when traveling overseas.
Overall Asia Pacific airlines are my favorites. Korean Air, Singapore Air, Cathay Pacific, and Virgin Australia all rank as my top picks.
They have a huge commitment to customer service and making your experience happy on the flights.
They also have friendly flight attendants who have not tired of their jobs or dealing with customers.
As a passenger, I don’t like to hear flight attendants in the aisles constantly complaining about their jobs and benefits, which is what tends to happen in the US.
If you have any travel questions, feel free to contact the Travel Addict on the contact page or via Facebook message.