Six Steps to (almost) Complaint Free Air Travel

FlightDelayed As a seller like me, you probably fly a lot.

There’s one difference, while most people LOVE to complain about airlines, I am almost always pleased with the service. Why does this happen? Because I plan for success, and expect success.

Here is why and how.

Why: While occasionally everyone will encounter a grumpy gate agent, rude flight attendant, or long delay, the vast majority of complaints that I hear are 100% preventable. In other words, passengers are complaining about situations they created!

You must plan ahead.

Six steps to (almost) complaint free air travel:

1. Complaining that you got bumped from a flight? NEVER book a ticket without a confirmed seat. This is my #1 must have rule for stress free flying. If you book a flight, and can’t confirm a seat, it almost always means that the plane is already oversold. Why take the chance? Find another option. As a plus, if you book seats in advance you reduce the chances of having a middle seat!

2. Airline lost your luggage? Don’t check bags! I only check bags on direct flights when I have extra materials (books, handouts etc.) for a workshop that can’t be shipped. I think I checked bags 3 times last year, and only on direct flights. I simply don’t want to risk losing my luggage on a connection. Pack less, use the hotel’s dry cleaning and buy toothpaste when you land. Or stay at the Hyatt Grand where they supply it for free! Another option if you are flying domestically is to ship your bag ahead.

3. Can’t get on an earlier / different fight because of checked bags? See #2. Another reason for carrying on your bags is flexibility. You can be moved to another flight easily if troubles arise.

4. Running for a connection again? Don’t book a connection with less than 1 hour in between flights. Summer and winter storms will happen. Plan for them by giving yourself extra time. When flying overseas, I will fly into JFK, Toronto, or Vancouver the night before and stay at a hotel so there is no risk of missing my flight.

5. Angry because a cancelled or delayed flight caused you to miss an event? Stop booking the last flight possible that will get you to your destination on time! I always make sure there are 2-3 options for arrival at my destination after my scheduled flight, or that my arrival is scheduled several hours ahead of my event. Never fly the same day you have to be at a meeting. When you do, you’re just ASKING for trouble.

6. Sick of being treated as a peon? Either fly business / first class for better treatment and options, or stick to one carrier to build up elite status. Carriers are better to better paying passengers.

There you have it, six easy ways to reduce your travel stress and rage. They work for me – I flew 150,000 miles last year and 90% of them were trouble free! I know they can work for you too.



2 responses to “Six Steps to (almost) Complaint Free Air Travel

  1. Excellent tips colleen, I am lucky that I don’t have to fly as often since im in UK but I agree with your statements, especially the one about planning enough time to get to your destination, I always give my self enough time to arrive to important meetings. Thanks for sharing

  2. […] a bus, and a little walking to get me to the gate with 10 minutes to spare ! As I mentioned in a previous post, the key to hassle free travel is planning  […]

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