Travel

Travel Tips for Frequent Travelers

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As I write this, I’m crammed into a tiny economy seat on a sold-out American Airlines flight because yesterday’s flight got cancelled and everything was pretty much sold out. As many frequent travelers know, and I’ve certainly been reminded over the years, there are huge differences between airlines, first class cabins, and airplanes. Below are my preferences and tips, based on my experiences so far:

Travel Tips for Frequent Travelers

Travel Tips:

Get Global Entry & TSA Pre: If you fly a lot, these will shave precious minutes off the time you have to spend in the airport. For $100 per 5 years (or, if you’ve got a Platinum AMEX, it’s $0), Global Entry allows you to skip customs on the US side (you use a quick touch-screen kiosk instead). Global Entry members are automatically eligible for TSA Pre at no additional fee, which  lets you get through security much faster (no more taking your laptop out and your shoes off!)

Note: I got conditionally approved for Global Entry within a couple of weeks, but when I had to do my interview, the one Global Entry Manhattan location listed on the Global Entry website was booked up for three months. Butttt… I did some digging and found out that you can be interviewed at Newark or JFK within a couple of days. Call 718-553-1237 for JFK and 973-565-8000 ext 8135 for Newark, and have your Global Entry number handy.

Route Happy is my favorite way to book flights. The site aggregates other user’s reviews, flight length, seat size, plane age, amenities, Wi-Fi, etc, then rates available flights by a happiness score. Brilliant!

Seat Guru will tell you what the plane you’re considering booking a flight on will be like, and what seats you should choose.

The next time your flight gets cancelled or delayed, let AirHelp get you $$ compensation. The form takes 3 minutes to set up, they can get you up to $800, and they take a 25% commission. Refund.me seems to be European, takes 15% commission and says they can get you up to 600 Euros.

Travel Tips for Frequent Travelers

My three favorite airlines (I wish they flew more places):

1. Virgin: Their Economy Plus class is nicer than American Airline’s first class. Brand new swanky planes with personal TV’s in every seat (the interactive kind, where you can actually choose what you want to watch, and when), fun lighting, great service and good food that you can order through the TV on demand.

2. JetBlue Mint: A great new (relatively affordable) first-class service in new and clean planes, with lay-flat beds, single suites, nicer terminals, less delays, personal TVs and more.

3. Porter: If you’re flying to Toronto, Porter will fly you right into the city-center island airport, so you’ll skip the drive to downtown. The airline has a great lounge (with free drinks and snacks) that’s even better than the lounges that other airlines make you pay to enter. The downside is that they only fly to a few Canadian destinations and the planes are small and getting on the older side.

What have your airline experiences been like? Please share your tips! 🙂

A writer, artist and designer since she was young enough to put pencil to paper, Hilary spends most of her time in France, but still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. Hilary spent the past decade living in NYC and has traveled extensively around the world, looking for hot new topics, destinations, and brands to bring to Urbanette readers.

18 Comments

  1. VIRGIN is the BEST airline for me. So far, I have no experience of cancelled or delayed flight due to maintenance / technical issues (a problem I repeatedly had with other airlines).

  2. Thanks for introducing Route Happy. I didn’t know booking my flights can be exciting and less stressful 🙂

    Great read!

  3. Jenny Garett

    There are some really great tips here. I’ve bookmarked this article. I can’t imagine that frequent fliers really don’t know most of these, but many of these are excellent tips that I’ve learned and used. Your tips and this website are going to make my travels absolutely fabulous. Thanks for the tips. 🙂

  4. I think your tips are useful, however, I prefer road trips so when I travel from state to state, I don’t fly… Yeah, I know, it sounds tiring but I enjoy the beauty of nature and sights through the road…

  5. Have you heard of “dynamic pricing”?! This means refreshing a window for nth times will NOT make a flight cheaper, but may actually make the price go up because prices change based on demand.

    TECHIE TIP: Clear search history and cookies 🙂 Try it! It works for me, it might work for you 🙂

  6. Thanks for the tips! This article is for me! I’m not good at this and I aim to travel more, definitely helpful!

  7. Gabby Williams

    Recently traveled with my family. Global Entry & TSA Pre saved tons of time! Thanks for sharing!

  8. You’re very helpful! I’m a frequent, last-minute traveler. My career doesn’t have fixed “off” times that’s why whenever I can, I take vacations. Global Entry is a HUUUUUGE help! Keep your tips coming 😉

  9. Jamie Robbins

    I’m from Florida, do you have any advice for me on the “best time” to book my flight to New York? Say, I’d planning a summer or holiday trip, how many days (before my scheduled trip) should I book in order to get the best deals? I had a bad experience with last minute deals…

  10. Wow! Thanks for the AirHelp tip! I’ve had a number of delayed flights and it’s really a burden refunding something from insurance.

    • I know how it feels! Submitting all those documents for refund and then waiting for feedback *urgh* AirHelp sounds a great idea!

  11. Very helpful article! Thanks for introducing Routehappy! I’ll have this in addition to Expedia 😉

    • Francis Woods

      I agree, I found a new “travel friend”! Routehappy:)

  12. I just signed up for Global Entry – great tip! AirHelp looks awesome too. I’m going to try it out.

  13. Courtney Watson

    I totally agree with getting Global Entry & TSA Pre. Really saves time!

    I most of the time fly with Jet Blue and the airline is simply one of the best.

    I don’t like Delta because I find their ground staff a bit disrespectful. At the waiting area, I usually watch how ground staff deal with clients, true, there are irate and hard to deal clients, but as customers, I believe they still should be treated with utmost respect and most importantly, with a SMILE. Well, in my four experiences with Delta, I have observed they are not doing this. 

    Well, just an observation on my part though! Some might agree, others won’t on this.

  14. Global Entry is SO helpful, especially at JFK where the lines can get really ridiculous. It's saved me hours this year alone! Definitely recommend.

  15. Ansley Barrington

    I love Qantas too.  Similar to Virgin Atlantic in many ways.

  16. Route Happy is so helpful because it's more personal than other booking websites that just share cheap prices or seats. I definitely will be using this website more often when I travel domestically or internationally!

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