7 Habits Every Passrider Should Know
As an airline employee, your life and travels can be so much better if you are prepared to travel. With that in mind, I’ve prepared 7 habits to follow that will make every trip a success:
1. If possible list for your flights at least 24 hours in advance
Each airline has differing policies for this step. Some such as Cathay Pacific (CX) wants you to list at the airport on day of departure, while others such as American Airlines prefers you to list at least 24 hours in advance. I think initially, the primary reason for this is catering as the term is actually “meal listing.” Although these days if you are in the U.S. most domestic flights offer paid meal services. Regardless, the airlines want to know you are coming or have an intention to do so. Follow their procedures by contact them during the planning phase of your trip. In the same vain, if you decide not to travel, cancel your listing before you fly. If your carrier has online check-in you should definitely use it as it saves you airport hassles, plus some, such as United Airlines, have a facility where you can see your position on the standby list during the check-in process.
If you get a chance, you should sign up for Global Entry/TSA Pre as it will smooth your return into the U.S. as well as breeze you through the airport check-in process.
2. Have a backup plan if you get bumped
This goes without saying, but I’ve met many a passrider who do not have this handled. As such, once they get bumped, they do not know what to do next. Instead, they get rolled to the next overbooked flight or leave the airport to try again another day. Unacceptable. Here are a few things to help you:
- Know alternate airports. This way, you can purchase backup tickets and know exactly what to do in case you don’t make your intended flight.
- Have backup tickets. Get these tickets beforehand; check flight loads and know when to make your move. Sometimes you may have to give up on your preferred flight before it leaves.
- Have alternate routings mapped, these include non-flight options. If you can take a bus, train or boat then do so. Don’t wait around the airport unless you necessarily have to. Things won’t magically happen.
3. Join the loyalty programs of every service you use
You are leaving money on the table if you don’t do this. Especially with hotels. The more loyal you are the better things will be. Loyalty at hotels, will give you early check-in, late check out, room upgrades, complimentary arrival gifts, Lounge access, free breakfast, free Wifi, just to name a few. For car rentals, you get upgrades, miles and express pickups. Why would you give up all that?
You may not pay the full fare for airline tickets often, but when you do ensure you get mileage credit for it. These miles add up and status means perks such as: preferred seating, preferred boarding, upgrades and lounge access. Get cracking and sign up for the loyalty programs when you travel.
4. Be respectful to those you interact with on your journey
I can’t stress this one enough. Always treat your fellow employees with the dignity and respect they deserve. This is despite the level of service you receive. Sometimes you may not get the level you desire as they may be stressed, but be respectful at all times. Say hello, thank you and tip them as applicable. Especially the person who cleans your room at the hotel. One thing here too is if you can take a jumpseat to allow your fellow employee/airline staff to make it on a flight you should do it. I’ve been saved many times due to this gesture of kindness by another passrider. If you see something wrong happening, just make a note and send it to the Pass office after your flight. Or if you get a chance have a private normal conversation with the employee. Don’t confront the employee and create a scene.
5. Use a smartphone that is unlocked
I see a lot of questions being asked about how to communicate with family and friends when we travel abroad. Yes, you can use programs like Facebook Messenger, Telegram, WhatsApp, Viber, etc. but you need Wifi to make it work. If you are in an airport that does not have free Wifi, you are hosed. My best suggestion here is for you to get your local phone unlocked. For this contact your phone provider. Then when you arrive at your destination, get a local SIM card. Here are some popular choices:
- Australia – Yes Optus
- Germany – Blau.de
- Ireland – 3
- Jamaica – Digicel
- Portugal – Vodafone
- Spain – Vodafone
- Thailand – AIS
- United Kingdom – 3, T-Mobile UK
6. Know the policies of the airline you are flying including knowing the passriding policies
This ties in with the first habit that was mentioned. Don’t ask for favors that are outside of the policy as it just puts the agent in an awkward position. If you are unsure of how something works, call the airline beforehand. Research checked and carry-on luggage, pet, listing, upgrade, dress code, etc. policies before you fly. Note that carry-on policies of U.S. and European airlines are considerably different usually in the weight of your bags. So that carry-on you had on the flight to London, may have to be checked in on your flight to say Frankfurt and there may be a charge for it. Telling the agent you did not know is really no excuse. Remember you represent your airline when you fly.
7. Be knowledgeable about your destination
You will save so much time if you take this small but important step. Here are some aspects to think about:
- Car rental. Research your options carefully. If going internationally, check the coverage for your credit card and ensure you are covered. Otherwise, get the local coverage. Its such a great peace of mind.
- Ground transportation. Use the airport’s website to figure out your options. Most airports have a train/bus into the city at reasonable rates. Check the schedule to ensure you can make early morning flights, otherwise make alternate arrangements. In some destinations you just have no choice but to take a taxi due to your flight tines.
- Standby procedures of the airline. Goes back to the policy section. Some airlines have specific airport procedures. i.e. which terminal to check-in, where in the terminal to check-in, etc. Be familiar with it all.
- Airport hotels. It’s good to know which hotels have shuttles and are nearby in case you get bumped. You can use the Passrider Hotels page in your research.
- Distance from airport to city. It’s good to have an idea of where the airport is located in respect to the city. This will help you determine where to stay as well as is there an alternate airport to use.
So there you have it; 7 habits to fly by. Can you think of any other things you do that make your trip successful? Please leave a comment below. Also, if you know anyone who could use these 7 habits, feel free to share this article with them.