Ooof - it’s been far too long since my last post. It’s been a busy winter of traveling to exciting places like New York, Boston, Miami, St. Barts…and (most exciting of them all) Baldwinsville.
(I know…life is hard)
I’ve learned so much, yet have written so little about these travels. It’s time to fix that.
Well…almost time. I’ve got days worth of advice, and a yoga class starting in an hour. Might I reiterate: life is hard.
For now, some urgent Travel Tips by Caila:
Earn status on an airline, and stick with that airline:
I had the (dis)pleasure of flying an airline on which I had no status last month. Woof: was that rough. With no glimmer of a hope for an upgrade, the pre-travel dread of the 5-hour coach flight was intense. But that was only the beginning.
The long security line? Stood in it. Checked baggage? Paid for it. Group that boards plane last? Joined it. Overhead compartments? Filled by Groups 1-3. Seat assignments? Not until the last minute. What does that mean? Last row, middle seat, non-reclined red eye.
Before I get a #champagneproblems response: travel is hard. Travel for work is even harder (no post-redeye naps before you hit the ground running!). Passenger conditions that can only be defined as intentionally annoying are not the way to start a trip.
So earn your airline status. Pay the extra $50 to fly your preferred airline to earn your status faster. Do it before the airlines start assigning passenger seating in the baggage compartment - which - based on how things are going - is only a matter of time.
Upgraded economy is only worth it on some airlines and plane models:
Whether they call it Economy Comfort or Economy Plus or We’re Charging You $100 To Sit Close To First With An Inch Of Extra Leg Room, this new sub-class of seating can be a total sham. Why my American Airlines bathroom-adjacent seat directly under the overhead movie was considered “Comfort,” I’ll never know. Delta’s 4” of extra leg room makes a notable difference, and Virgin America’s free movies and drinks sweetens the deal - but your best bet before deciding on spending the cash is to check your flight on Seat Guru.
Never…ever…ever wait for the gate for seat assignment:
There is no need to get fussy with airline personnel most of the time. It’s not their fault that the person who spent $2,000 more than you did is sitting in first, and they didn’t invent the checked baggage fee, or the 3 oz. of liquid regulation.
An exception is when it comes to seat assignment. If you didn’t follow my advice, and are flying on an airline where you have no status, you may be faced with a lack of a seat assignment until the last possible minute (even if you remember picking a seat at the time of booking). The friendly airline agent will tell you “there are plenty of seats, and you’ll be assigned one at the gate.”
Do. Not. Fall. For. This. Nonsense. If there were plenty of seats, you would have one. There are maybe three acceptable seats, and a whole lot of back row/middle seats/non-reclining/bathroom-adjacent seats left. If you wait until you get to the gate for your seat assignment, can you guess which seat you’ll get?
Pitch the fit before it’s too late. You deserve that emergency exit row.