Travel Tips & Tricks for 2017

Last year was my busiest year of travel and I learned a few new tips & tricks. The following tips & tricks will make your travel experience for that well deserved vacation much more enjoyable. Be sure to check out my new How-To Guides page to get started.

Tip: Flight Times

It might not seem to be a major issue when booking your trip but when you depart for a long-haul or redeye (overnight) flight could make or break your productivity the following day.

Example #1 (US to Singapore): Departing at 1AM from SFO to HKG and then continuing onto SIN is a much better experience than departing at 11AM from LAX to NRT and then continuing onto SIN. When I arrived Singapore on the redeye I felt much more rested and had a productive day in Singapore after I landed.

Example #2 (US to London): Departing at 8PM from LAX to LHR allowed for more sleep due to my natural body clock (PST) than the 6PM departure would of allowed. I arrived in London well rested whereas the 6PM departure departs too early from the US to get enough sleep.

Example #3 (SFO to MIA): When I originally booked the flight it was scheduled to depart at 11:59PM but a schedule change pushed it back to 9:45PM. This was one of the worst flights I had in 2016. I departed SFO and couldn’t go to sleep right away. Then we landed in Miami at 2:45AM body clock (PST) and I was exhausted. If you are going to book a coast to coast redeye be sure to take the latest departure time from the West Coast.

Early AM Landing @ LAX

Early AM Landing @ LAX

Trick: “Flat Tire Rule”

Some US airlines have an unwritten rule where if you show up to the airport up to 2hrs after your scheduled departure time they will put you on standby for the next available flight. Just make sure to mention you had a “flat tire” on your car preventing you from making your flight.

Tip: Twitter for Customer Service

Most airlines in the world use Twitter to provide service updates and also customer service. Airlines have teams dedicated to Twitter to make sure their customers are happy. If you are having an issue with your flight, ticketing, baggage, etc. you might have better luck with using Twitter to tweet or direct message the airline. Be sure to never put your record locater or any other personal information in the tweet. Direct messages is where that data belongs. Most airlines respond within 15 minutes which can beat the hold times on phones. I’ve had excellent luck with resolving simple and complex issues via Twitter with multiple airlines globally.

VX Customer Service via Twitter

VX Customer Service via Twitter

Trick: Global Customer Service Phone Numbers

Have you have a hard time booking an award ticket via the phone? If so, you should try calling an office in the airlines headquarters country or maybe outside in American Airlines case. You can use Skype credits to call internationally for very cheap. The best example is if you are trying to use American Airlines miles to book Etihad award tickets you should call their Australian customer service line instead of the US line. They can see the First Class availability whereas the US line won’t see any seats. I’ve also had better luck with calling ANA in Japan rather than the US line. Time zones for the local call center could also be a reason to call a different country if you are trying to call late at night in your home country.

Tip: No Global Entry? Use the Mobile Passport Control App

If you can’t get your Global Entry card before your next international trip be sure to download the Mobile Passport Control App to expedite your entry.

Mobile Passport

Mobile Passport

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1 Response

  1. Randy says:

    Similar to your tip about using global customer service numbers, I was once in Hong Kong with a Cathay Pacific flight, and I had to call customer service to change my flight. When I chose the English option in the phone menu, I waited over 30 minutes and still didn’t get to a representative. While I was on hold on my phone, I used Skype on my laptop and selected the Cantonese option instead. Instant pickup by a representative. I knew enough Cantonese to change my reservation. Lessons learned: 1) Learn more languages 2) Choose the language of the airline company’s home country.

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