According to AAA more than 42 million Americans traveled during Thanksgiving last year, and the number of travelers is expected to increase exponentially this year. Randy Petersen who is widely known as the ‘Frequent Flyer Guru’ stopped by this week to share his top three tips for those flying the friendly skies this holiday season.
Candace Rose: According to AAA more than 42 million Americans traveled during Thanksgiving last year. Do you have any advice for those traveling this year?
Randy Petersen: “Oh, I sure do Candie, thanks for asking. If there’s one thing through the years it’s we always seem to have a lot of stress when we travel. We love travel, we just don’t like the stress. Here’s three little tips that can help pretty much anyone.
The first tip is never drive yourself to the airport. Have a coworker or family member, a friend- anybody drive you to the airport. The cool thing about that is you don’t have to worry about traffic jams. You’re really not a better driver than them anyway. And the idea is be dropped off at the airport. You don’t have to look for the last spot in the remote lot that just seems to never exist. But the tip is don’t have them drop you off in the departure area, that’s where everybody’s at. The police are there, cars are three or four deep. Everyone’s trying to wrestle with 10 pieces of luggage, and you know what? Everyone’s trying to get the long last goodbye for the holiday. Instead have your friend drop you off in the arrivals area, there’s never anybody in the arrivals area, and that’s the cool tip.
The number two tip has to do with those pesky frequent flyer miles. Everybody wants to use them during the holidays. Everybody can’t use them during the holidays, so a couple years ago I decided I was going to get smart. I kind of changed and realized most of the miles I earned by my credit card. So I switched it up to the Capital One Venture card, and you can earn double miles every day which I like. But what I really like is no blackout dates, no hassles. So any seat, anytime, any day- so Christmas grandma’s I’m there. I don’t have to make an excuse about not being able to use miles because with Capital One Venture card I can use my miles.
And my last tip has to do with your checked luggage. None of us want to check our bags. And the reason why is not because we don’t trust the airlines, we just don’t want to give them $35 to check that bag. So the tip is to bring your bag with you on board but at the check-in counter before you board the plane, raise your hand and say you want to ‘gate-check that bag’. What happens is they’ll give you a little bag, kind of a fluorescent green/orange with some airline. And before you get on board somebody will be there, they’ll take that bag and they’ll put it in the cargo down below. You’ll be able to get on the airline, sit in your seat, relax and look around and say ‘hey, what’s the problem here’. Everybody else is bringing their bag on board and they’re going to throw their back out trying to lift it up in the overhead bin and seems that nobody can find space in the overhead bin. You’re relaxed, taking it easy. When you get off the plane, stand in the tunnel there for a minute or two, another person will be along look at your number on your claim check, go down and bring your bag to you and off you go. So you save the $35, but you didn’t have to go through the hassle of finding overhead bin space. It’s a nice little trick, use it- less stress during the holidays.”