Comic Talk and General Discussion

Lessons and Tips in Air Travel
kaminari at 1:55AM, Dec. 9, 2006
posts: 489
joined: 3-10-2006
With the holidays coming, a lot of people use airlines to travel, so I thought I would give some friendly advice about it.

First of all, let me clarify the term “airport”. This is a facility and section of land where travel-related businesses are located and aircraft can take-off/land.
Im a way, its like a mall. You have a building with many stores each seperate from the other. Many people dont realize an airport is like this.
Each airline is a seperate company as are rental car companies, taxis, shuttles, even the parking lot, telephones, restaurants, and cart machines. None of these have a general place you go for information on all of them. For example, if you want rental cars at an airport, you dont call the airport and ask for the rental car section. You have to specify which company you want, and at that point, it wa sprobably best to just look up the company you wanted in the first place. General airport phone numbers are not good to call unless you're looking for directions or very basic information. Its always best to call an airline for flight status, prices, and baggage problems, not a general airport number. Chances are that general airport number goes to the people who own and maintain the airport property (usually and “airport authority” or county government) who have no idea what say Jet Blue or Hertz or Yellow Cab do during the day. They are just there to collect the tenants' money and make sure the facilities are safe and all equipment is working properly. Even if you want a local number for an airline, you'll find its not that easy to get. Most airlines wont deal with you on a local level and request that airports not give out their local numbers or transfer people to them. This is logical actually. Airlines have hundreds of people to deal with face to face and dont really have time answer questions that someone in a call center can do for them. How would you feel if you were the person in line trying to get on your flight and the ticketing agent has to stop, pick up the phone and deal with someone asking how much a plane ticket is?

So here's a list:
(feel free to add some advice)

1.Call the company you want to do business with direct and not “airport” if at all possible. You'll just get a lot of useless run around or waste time needlessly.

2.Travel as light as possible. If you can go with no carry-on; awesome. Security would be a breeze. I try to do that as much as possible.

3.Wear shoes that slip on/off and as little jewelry as possible.

4. Check for a list of what you can and cannot bring.

5. If you have valuables, keep them in a carry-on. People who handle your bags may have sticky fingers.

Let me stop and explain baggage. You bags potentially can pass through the hands of 10 companies on a flight with one connection.
Lets say you're going from Pensacola, Florida to Cancun, Mexico with a stop in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. You would start with Delta Connection operated by Freedom Air (which is not really Delta but uses their name and flys routes for them at cheaper operating costs than if they used their own equipment/employees). You give your bags to a skycap company agent who passes them off to an airline employee who puts it through to TSA for screening. TSA clears it then sends it to the baggage handlers which is typically an outsourced company like or ASIG or Servisair (mainline airlines with regular service generally have their own baggage handlers at large airports). From there it goes to the aircraft. In the connection city, another ground handler unloads the bags (quite possibly another company working in this city) and it may go to TSA again and it may not. They sort the bags and send them off to the connecting flight designated on the tag (providing it has the right tag on it). For this leg you have to switch airlines. so now, say, Spirit Airline's baggage handlers take it and load it. Then at the destination, yet another baggage handler company unloads the flight and the bag goes to customs agents, then finally to you and maybe a skycap if you need one.
Now if that was confusing to you, then maybe you can understand why luggage gets lost often.. And then, it gets handed off to a baggage delivery company seperate from the airline @_@

-If your luggage gets lost:
1. Don't panic or blame the poor girl in the baggage service office at your destination. They will do what they can for you, and you have to realize that you're not the only person that this has happened to so you probably wont get special treatment. Also, it doesnt matter what airline you fly; luggage gets lost and thats a fact of life with air travel.
2. Don't call “airport” in the phonebook to see if the airline found your luggage.
3. Don't call the airport you left from about your luggage. 99% of the time, luggage gets lost in the connection process. Either way, its probably not going to be in the city you left from.
4. If you have an important suit you need that day or the next, take it as a carry-on.
5. Take an extra set of clothes and minor toiletries allowed by TSA in your carry-on if you are concerned about losing luggage and not having anything.
6. Airlines will give you decent sum vouchers for clothes and other necessities you are deprived by not having your luggage.
7. Airlines deliver bags pretty much automatically at no cost to you. If you want to pick them up, then you should specify that in person when making the claim.

This is getting kind of long and Im getting kind of tired..
Some other things:

No one will cry for you if you show up 15 minutes before departure and dont have a boarding pass and need to be in Denver ASAP to have major heart surgery. It wont matter if the plane is at the gate still and boarding is going on. There is a thirty minutes cut-off on MOST flights. If you dont make it by then, then you've missed it and will possibly have to pay fee and fly standby for the next flights. And its ultimately your fault.. but people tend to blame everyone else.
I was at an airport on the Gulf Coast after hurricane Katrina and I remember a Red Cross worker screaming and literally crying for someone to get her on a flight that was leaving in 10 minutes. At that particular place, they shut down the ticket counter for 45 minutes or longer 30 minutes prior to departure. She then said she wished she had never came down to that “stupid place to help all of those stupid people”.

A good tip, is to go to your airline's website 24 hours in advance and check-in online. That way you're confirmed and have that precious boarding pass before you head to the airport, but its still good to be at least an hour to two hours early.
If youre late but you have the pass, then you have a good chance of getting on the flight.. Your luggage is a different story..

Also, send a complete itinerary or two to people who are expecting you in your destination. Just saying that you're going to x from y and expect to be there in the afternoon is not good. When someone is looking for you, they need to know what airline exactly (most important) and the connection city if applicable (very important because when you look up arrivals, you wont find the flight from the destination city, only the connection city because you're coming in on a completely different plane that's unrelated to your original trip). Times are good things too. Rough estimates times are okay because with the other info you can figure it out.
And if you are picking someone up, make sure you have ALL OF THE FLIGHT INFORMATION.

If you cant find your passenger, then airlines will page them for you. Don't be afraid to ask, but DO NOT try to call the airline or airport to find out the status of a passenger. Divulging this info is technically illegal and airlines are pretty strict about it if you are not there in person with an ID. Even then they may be wary of giving out the info. You could be waiting on that person to cause them harm (which, since there is a law, has happened before on more than a few occasions).

I'll post some more later if anyone is interested in the topic.
Also, I hope none of this sounds to harsh, but Im trying to say this stuff honestly because you actually cant in a real airport because its considered bad customer service.

and, uhh, yes, I do work at an airport..

I am FS2 champion! w00t!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:13PM
ozoneocean at 4:45AM, Dec. 9, 2006
posts: 26,723
joined: 1-2-2004
Hey, that was fantastic. Stuff like that should be published in the newspapers.
If you wrote a book about arlines, that info would get you interviews! :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:25PM
MrColinP at 6:57PM, Dec. 10, 2006
posts: 69
joined: 11-24-2006
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:07PM
MagickLorelai at 8:25AM, Dec. 11, 2006
posts: 337
joined: 1-20-2006
I've been through airports more times than I'd like to recall. A lot of this I was fortunate enough to have figured out as I went(I recall one winter, I walked into the airport with slip on sandals, which earned a derogatory chuckle from some people. Imagine the look on my face as I was able to breeze on past them while they struggled with their complicated boots!).I tell you, I went through losing luggage once, and ONLY once. It was when I had my CD collection AND my favorite VHStapes(this was a while ago).

An important thing to note, is DON'T put your most expensive/personally valuable items in your luggage. Try to put them in your carry-on, if they can. Airport personelle have to go through hundreds, thousands of people in one day, and that includes checking them carefully and as efficiently as possible for each item. Imagine if you had to do all of that, AND deal with angry passengers who've lost luggage/were delayed/were too late for their flights/anything else that might happen.

So, uh, Kudos to you, Kaminari, both for your occupation and for posting this here. ^^
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:50PM
AQua_ng at 11:20AM, Dec. 11, 2006
posts: 7,830
joined: 4-6-2006
Also, best to carry a mongoose with you too, Samuel L Jackson can't be there for every plane :).

K.A.L.A-dan! Brigade Captain :D
K.A.L.A.-dan forums!
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:55AM

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