How to resist when traveling in summer

Summertime is synonymous with vacation departures and returns, busy airports and traveling children. If the destination is synonymous with warmth and rest, the journey is for many synonymous with stress, whether by car, bus, train or plane.

Whatever your situation, there are many solutions to make your life easier. Review of solutions in air transport.

Travelling light

The title speaks for itself: minimize the size and weight of your luggage. Easier said than done? Not really, you just need to be organized.

If you are going away for a week, a carry-on suitcase is enough as long as you plan in advance what to wear during your stay. Don’t forget that, on location, you can always wash your clothes, either empirically (at the sink) or with a washing machine in a vacation home, or with the laundry services inside or outside the hotels (if you go to Asia, it is really cheap). This will prevent you from stressing out in the check-in line at the airport or traveling with luggage that is too big to fit in the trunks, at the risk of having it ” removed ” when boarding. Note that even low-cost airlines have relaxed their cabin baggage policy, not really using the standard dimensions anymore (it slowed down boarding too much).

If you wish to check in your luggage, please arrive well in advance and drop it off the day before. Many airlines offer this service, including Air France.

Another point, if you are boarding among the last ones,don’t forget to take an extra bag to put your valuables, in case your luggage has to be put in the hold because of a full trunk.

Get priority access or an upgrade

OK, you’re going to tell me that you’ve already paid a lot of money for your ticket because you’re going on vacation and you’d be right. It is for this reason thatI personally avoid leaving during this period, but my employer usually forces me to take a break during the summer.

If you are traveling on a low cost airline,they usually offer to add the fast track to your ticket for a small fee, around 10 €. Believe me, during the summer, it is a very low cost considering the time saving (and serenity…) that it provides: reducing the wait at check-in, at immigration, at security and boarding among the first to make sure that the luggage will fit in the trunks seems absolutely essential to me.

If you have a few euros to spare and want to treat yourself, most low-cost and legacy airlines have a Premium or Business class, allowing you to enjoy free snacks, priority routing and access to the Business lounge, for a stress-free trip. Note that this will allow you to have a higher baggage allowance and to carry two pieces of luggage in the cabin: the benefit goes well beyond the comfort on board (especially since it is often quite limited).

Take security margins

Not to foresee is already to groan. Yes, you are not the only ones to travel in the summer. Arriving early is therefore essential, especially if you have a lot of luggage or if you are traveling far away or with your family. This means taking large margins in case of multi-modality: public transport, cab, everything can be delayed or overloaded.

In concrete terms, this means arriving at least 2 hours early for a medium-haul flight and 3 hours early for a long-haul flight if you have no particular priority.

Avoid risky combinations

This is the pitfall of our time: since everything can be booked online, some people think they can save money by self-connecting, i.e. buying separate tickets to make connections.

That’s pretty smart except:

  • It is very rare that an airline accepts to check a bag from end to end on one or more separate tickets, even on the same alliance or on the same airline! European and American airlines are the most reluctant, Asian airlines the most accommodating. If you take a low-cost one, don’t even think about it,
  • What happens if you miss a connection? You will be left with nothing but tears in your eyes! Not only will no airline provide you with assistance, but you’ll be out of pocket to buy another ticket, since you are ” no show ” on the flight. This can amount to several hundred euros per person, and we are talking about economy class.

Our advice: don’t take any risks: if you organize your own connection, take large margins,at least 2.5x higher than the MCT(Minimum Connection Time) of the airport, knowing that this is often 90 or 120 minutes in major airports. Or, even better, buy a ticket that allows you to travel from end to end (note that it must be the same ticket number, not the same reservation number. The contract is not linked to the reservation number).

Stay calm

This is the ultimate advice. There is nothing you can do about a delay. However, don’t wait for information or assistance to come to you. If you travel with major airlines, they all have websites and servicing mechanisms via Facebook or Twitter. Use them to be rebooked and receive assistance instead of waiting in line for hours.
And remember, the staff has little to do with it, so be courteous in all circumstances!

On that note, happy vacations to all, and we’ll see you back home for a new surprise!

Bertrand and Olivier

Olivier Delestre-Levai
Olivier Delestre-Levai
Olivier has been into airline blogging since 2010. First a major contributor to the FlyerTalk forum, he created the FlyerPlan website in July 2012, and writes articles with a major echo among airline specialists. He now co-runs the TravelGuys blog with Bertrand, focusing on travel experience and loyalty programs.
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