The biggest travel day of the year just got a bit more stressful, thanks to the winter nor’easter in the forecast. It’s inevitable that the day before Thanksgiving will include record-long lines at the airport and headache-inducing traffic — and now, add likely hazardous roads and delayed flights.
Take a deep breath and keep these tips in mind to avoid a holiday travel meltdown.
Take advantage of an airline weather waiver.
With winter weather in the forecast for Wednesday, big airlines such as American Airlines, Delta and United are waiving change fees and relaxing their rebooking rules, even allowing fare differences to be waived. Look carefully at the rules; most include the note that rescheduled travel has to start by Friday.
Photography by CPI
Windowless planes may very well be the future of air travel. The aerodynamic and sleek engineering of these new planes will cut fuel costs significantly. The great thing about lower fuel costs? Lower ticket prices, which is a definite plus for regular travelers.
Photography by Robert Churchill / iStock / Thinkstock
Airline tickets can be ridiculously expensive. But plan your trip right this time, and you can save big. These nuggets of travel wisdom are the best-kept secrets on airfare deals. Keep them close at hand when planning your next big adventure.
Photo Courtesy of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
It’s never too early to start saving for next year’s vacation — particularly when you’re planning a $119,000 ultra-luxe splurge on board the brand-spanking-new Four Seasons Jet.
Indeed, the high-end hotel and resort company has decided the sky is quite literally the limit, unveiling the travel industry’s first fully-branded private jet experience on Wednesday.
Debuting in February 2015, the jet — a completely retrofitted Boeing 757 — will be emblazoned with “Four Seasons” on the fuselage, and have the company’s logo displayed on its tail. The redesigned plane will take 52 guests on bespoke tours around the globe and will include an in-flight staff, as well as a dedicated on-board concierge happy to book spa treatments or golf dates at pending destinations.
Photo Courtesy of Thinkstock
We’ve all done it before… Just moments before the plane takes off, we watch the airline attendants go through their routine of demonstrating the proper procedures in case of an emergency. So, where is your floatation device stored? Should you or your child receive an oxygen mask first? And where are the emergency exits near you?
Well, if you don’t know the answers to those questions, you are probably one of several people who “zone out” by thumbing through the latest SkyMall magazine or you’re one of those passengers who has to focus on wrapping up that last-minute text before the plane takes off.
In the midst of one of the busiest travel times of the year, fliers want to spend as little time in the airport as possible. And who can blame them? Some long lines and security hassles simply can’t be avoided. However, we can think of worse things than spending an extra hour or two at these architecturally-stunning airports. From glowing skylights to theatrical design, the world’s most beautiful airports might ease the pain of flying during the holidays — or any time of the year for that matter.
Changi, Terminal 3
The “butterfly” roof is just one of many reasons why Terminal 3 in Changi, Singapore, is worth seeing. During the day, 919 skylights adjust to let in just the perfect amount of sunlight, and at night the ceiling glows with lighting carefully concealed below the panels.
Photography by hslo, flickr
Photo by Getty Images
Anyone who’s flown has been there — that moment when you’re passing through the TSA security checkpoint, and have to take off your shoes, empty your pockets, take off your belt and place your laptop in a bin. And you can double the fun if you have little kids in tow. Now TSA’s PreCheck program aims to make travel easier for those flying the increasingly complicated skies. But just in case you think PreCheck is a one-size-fits-all panacea, not so fast.
You can’t just sign up for PreCheck. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple … yet. TSA plans to — eventually — allow all travelers to apply directly to the PreCheck program, but it’s not clear when they’ll open up the application process. For now, travelers can enroll in the program in one of 2 ways: be selected to apply for the program based on your frequent-flyer status with an airline, or, enroll in one of several US Customs and Border Protection trusted traveler programs.
For Airline Frequent Flyers
Elite members of airlines’ frequent traveler programs — United, American, etc – if selected, can apply for PreCheck. If not selected, frequent flyers can still participate by joining a CBP Trusted Traveler program. Note that you must submit your biometric fingerprint for registration with the FBI, as well as undergo a criminal background check and pay an $85 fee to the TSA for a 5-year PreCheck membership. This program is slated to bring a total of $225 million to the TSA in 2013, and beyond that, over the next year, a reduction in passenger screening – the TSA’s goal is to see 25% of passengers see lighter scrutiny.
This year — for the first time in 95 years — Thanksgiving and Hanukkah will be celebrated on the same day … and it wont happen again until 2070.
As if navigating the airport around Thanksgiving wasn’t enough of a nightmare … this year Hanukkah falls into the mix, adding to the travel headache. But fret not; we’ve got you covered with our best tips to help you fly through the airport this holiday season. And if you’re looking for a way to avoid a Thanksgiving-float-sized meltdown, don’t forget to check out our Top 10 Survival Tips for Holiday Travel.
So whether you’re sitting around the table with your family enjoying turkey and cranberry sauce, or standing around the menorah lighting the Hanukkah candles, remember that there is plenty to be thankful for this holiday season … and that you’ll have to wait another 57 years until the next Thanksgivukkah!
You May Also Like:
Best Thanksgiving Day Parades
Stress-Free Thanksgiving Trips
Happy Holidays From Our Hosts
Ready for the busiest travel day of the year? Ready or not, it’s inevitable that the day before Thanksgiving will include record-long lines at the airport and headache-inducing traffic. We checked in with Foursquare to get their insights on Thanksgiving travel patterns. Looking at more than 4.5 billion check-ins from last year, Foursquare determined the busiest airports, busiest rest stops and even the busiest restaurants (see full list below for busiest hours). Hint: You’ll definitely want to avoid Atlanta’s airport, ATL, at 6pm the day before Thanksgiving!
Bad news? It’s not likely this year will be any less busy for travel. Good news? There are heaping amounts of comfort food waiting for you on the other side.
Some interesting overall Thanksgiving check-in trends to note:
A 48% increase in farm check-ins suggests people are heading out to pick their own turkey. Get your gobble on at these turkey farms.
Small Town Pride
Travelers returning to small towns are much more likely to check-in and show off their hometown pride than those from the big cities. The most popular hometown destination in the nation for Thanksgiving? Detroit (based on largest percentage increase of check-ins).
There is a 53% increase in rest stop check-ins during travel season. Nothing like a bit of caffeine and sugar to fuel a long drive.
Photography by John Moore/Getty Images
Think the only way to avoid an airport meltdown during the holidays is to stay home? Fear not, it is possible to snag a cheap flight during the holidays, breeze through long airport lines, keep the kids happy during the entire flight, and not lose your cool (or dignity) in security.
We asked an air travel expert, Mark Drusch, Chief Supplier Relations Officer for CheapOair.com, to reveal his secrets for flying through the airport during the holidays. With over 20 years of experience in executive airline roles, Drusch shared with us his forecast for the holiday travel season, how to glide through security lines, and what he never gets on a plane without.
So before you take off this holiday season, take in Drusch’s expert travel advice:
Traveling Type: What’s your forecast for this holiday travel season? What trends are you seeing?
Mark Drusch: Higher traffic than last year, however the peak days (Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and the Sunday and Monday after) may be marginally less full because the other days around the holiday are seeing very strong traffic. But planes will still be very full. We see an increase in customers celebrating their Thanksgiving in vacation spots, particularly the Caribbean, Mexico and Costa Rica.