Ten tips to help with hassle free travel

Posted in Air Travel, Travel by Jeff on the June 12th, 2008

Gone are the days of simply turning up at the airport and with minimal time and fuss, simply boarding the plane and waiting for take off. As with any journey, a little research and planning can go a long way to easing the stress of the trip to the airport and enhancing the enjoyment of your holiday or business trip.

Rather than dreading the pre destination part of the journey between front door and the aircraft seat, why not make it an enjoyable part of the overall experience so that you arrive at your destination refreshed and relaxed. Start your holiday from the moment you leave home with the help of these simple tips.

Picking the best airlines

Especially important if you’re embarking on a long haul flight, the varying differences in legroom and standards of service can make all the difference. With a little research on websites like www.airlinequality.com you can read extensive customer reviews that can help you decide on which airline is best for you.

Online Check-In

Some airlines now offer this service that allows you to check-in online and in some instances, enable you to pick your own seat. Online check-in facilities do vary between airlines and are normally on a first come, first served basis. Check-in is usually available up to 24 hours in advance but rules and terms can vary so it’s always best to double check when booking your trip.

Flight Upgrades

Although high end upgrades can be expensive, some standard and last minute upgrades can be had for a much more palatable surcharge of around £15.00*. Upgrades are well worth looking into especially on Long haul flights as a relatively small surcharge can bring about a big difference in the standards of comfort and enjoyment of your flight.

Booking a seat with a view

Enjoyed by most first time or seasoned travellers, a window seat truly does give you a window to the world. Operated by Trip Advisor, www.seatguru.com provides a guide to the best seating on all of the main airlines. Simply select an airline and aircraft type for a detailed seating plan and a handy guide on the seat position.

Getting to and from the airport

Probably one of those things that people leave to the last minute. For those who intend to drive to the airport, this is rarely a problem with the extensive range of cheap and affordable airport car parking deals either at or near to the airport. Alternatives include either getting a friend or relative to pick you up and drop you off although this can be inconvenient with early morning or late night flights. Using public transport such as buses and trains can be a viable means of getting to the airport. Service operating times and the cost of some journeys however may exceed the cost and benifits of travelling by car. Whatever means of transport to the airport you decide on, it’s always best to plan well in advance and allow extra time for potential delays.

A good time to fly

Not always an option for all but if possible, try to avoid booking flights that are on school and bank holidays. Statistically, mid-week flights are usually less crowded than weekend flights with Mondays actually being the busiest flying day of the week. With a little research and planning, £££’s can be saved on flights if booked on less popular dates and times.

Local and regional airports

Many airlines now operate services from some of the smaller local and regional airports. Although there may not always be a flight to your destination within the required time frame, it’s always worth checking. Why travel potentially hundreds of miles to one of the major national airports like Gatwick, Heathrow, Stansted, Luton or Manchester when there maybe a suitable flight from one of the smaller regional airports potentially saving time, hassle and money.

Start your holiday early

No one enjoys the prospect of a long drive to the airport late at night or in the early ours of the morning followed by hours of waiting at the airport terminal. Chances are that by the time you arrive at your destination, you’ll be tired and harassed and looking forward to a rest. An easy and affordable way of avoiding this scenario might be to book an overnight stay at one of the many airport hotels at or near to the airport. With prices starting from as little £30.00* with full access to a range of hotel facilities, you can add a whole new dimension to your holiday by waking up refreshed, relaxed and usually just a matter of minutes from the airport terminal.

Airport Lounges

Often thought of as something that only executives or celebrities use, airport lounges are in fact a facility that is available to anyone. Usually costing in the region of £15 to £20* per person, the airport lounge admission price usually includes access to a range of complimentary snacks, soft drinks, newspapers, magazines and more. Facilities on offer can vary from lounge to lounge but some also include free alcoholic beverages and internet access in the price. Airport lounges provide an opportunity for you to relax and unwind in a less stressful environment with some great home comforts like sofas and TV.

Travelling light

Turning up at the airport with excess luggage can cause no end of problems for you, your travelling partners, family or friends. To avoid potentially expensive excess luggage charges or the prospect of emptying everyones cases in an attempt to re-distribute the load, pack carefully. Only take what is really necessary, you’ll be surprised at the amount of things that people will pack that they don’t really need. Check the luggage weight restrictions of the airline well in advance and prior to departure just incase they have changed. Weigh your cases prior to leaving for the airport and make sure that the scales you use are accurate. Never go right up to the maximum weight allowance on your own scales and allow for a margin of error, if your scales are understated by just a couple of pounds you’re likely to face an excess luggage charge at the airport.

By following some or all of these simple tips, you can help to make your travel experience that little more enjoyable and a little less stressful. For further information, the latest deals and to compare airport parking, hotels and airport lounges visit www.gosimply.com. Further advice and information on BAA operated airports such as Gatwick, Heathrow, Stansted, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow airports, can be found at www.baa.com or alternatively by phone on 0870 8502825.

Your views and travel experiences

If you have any interesting stories or helpful travel tips, why not let us know?

* Prices shown and marked give an approximation of the costs involved. Prices of airport services are based on date and time of travel, airport concerned, car park, hotel or lounge operator and service availability at the time of booking.