Flying Tips From The Pros

Whether you’re an experienced road warrior or just fly a few times a year for leisure, most of us spend at least a few hours on a plane every year. At times the experience can be fun and exciting, but sometimes it’s frankly a chore. During our last #TripItChat, we asked some of the top aviation experts (and our followers) to join us as we chatted all about top flying tips.

 

What’s a Twitter chat? For those not familiar, TripIt holds a chat via Twitter on the third Thursday of each month from 2 to 3 p.m. Pacific Time. Each month, there’s a new travel topic where we encourage participants to share advice with one another under the hashtag #TripItChat. To learn more, please see Landloper’s #TripItChat breakdown.

 

Here are some of the key takeaways from our last #TripItChat on top flying tips.

 

When Is It Too Early?
Knowing exactly when to book a flight to get the best price is a constant struggle for the modern traveler. Is three months about right or is last minute really the best way to go? Well, we asked our followers and the tips we got back were amazing—take notes!

 

  • Cruise pro and very frequent flyer @OrlandoChris advises booking sometime between 29 and 104 days before your flight—54 is perfect.
  • Another aviation pro @BrianEub said that he tries to book three months before a trip simply to commit, if for no other reason.
  • Back to that question about last-minute bargains: nearly all of our experts agreed that last-minute tickets offer the worst deals—not the best!
  • #TripitChat Tweeter @emorata tries to book 6 to 9 months before a trip, which brought up a great point: set a comfortable price and as soon as you find it, book it!

 

I’m a Survivor
Many people dread long flights, but with a little preparation, you can actually look forward to the experience. Our followers and co-hosts had great advice on some must-include items to pack so you don’t just survive your next long flight, but enjoy it.

 

  • Frequent flyers will relate to @MikeWFaust, who brings an amenity kit from previous business class flights just in case his free upgrade doesn’t clear!
  • Chat co-host @RickGriffin keeps it simple: noise canceling headphones, a neck pillow, and his e-reader are enough to keep him sane on a long flight.
  • Many folks don’t care for airline food, so chatters like @philatravelgirl bring snacks along with a fleece to stay warm in a chilly plane.
  • Choosing the right seat is important for in-flight comfort. Avoid the middle seat with TripIt Pro’s Seat Tracker, which tells you when the seat you want is available.

 

Flying in Style
Whether you get a free upgrade or cash out those hard-earned miles, most of us love the golden opportunity to fly in business or premium economy class. They’re not all made the same though, and a few airlines are clearly the leaders when it comes to in-flight luxury and comfort. Here are a few that our experts especially love to fly.

 

  • Chat co-host and another frequent traveler @SandiMcKenna said that @AirCanada ‘s business class is comfortable and elegant. The airline upgraded in recent years and it looks like it paid off!
  • One of the top aviation experts on Twitter @flyingwithfish said his favorite Premium Economy experience is with @VirginAtlantic, and surprisingly his top business class pick was @AmericanAir.
  • Foodie and traveler @TravelBlggr gave warm praise to @CathayPacific and its premium economy product that’s both luxurious and comfortable.
  • Other airlines mentioned in the top honors included Delta, British Airways, Singapore, United, Emirates, and Qantas Airways.

 

The Best Reward
Most frequent flyers have an interest in, no, an obsession with accumulating points and miles, all to be used toward free travel in the future. Not all frequent flyer programs are made the same though, and with recent changes, it’s hard to know which ones are still the best. We knew we could depend on our smart and informed Twitter followers to come up with great program advice.

 

  • Longtime #TripitChat friend @thepointsguy said that even with the changes, it’s hard to beat American Airlines AAdvantage Executive Platinum status for the benefits.
  • Going international, chatter @TendToTravel shared that Etihad Guest is a superb program and the rewards are easy to redeem—always a plus!
  • A surprise to some, many airline pros said that in the U.S., @AlaskaAir offers one of the top frequent flyer programs, if not the best.
  • Remember to pay attention to airline alliances—many chatters reported that the Star Alliance is easier to redeem with than One World or SkyTeam.

 

Dare to Dream
Let’s face it, many of us collect those frequent flyer miles with one goal in mind—the ultimate dream trip. Curious what that meant to our followers, we asked them what their ultimate dream trip using frequent flyer miles would be, and we loved the responses!

 

  • The answer was fast and easy for @OrlandoChris, who listed his top choices as Hong Kong, Hawaii, or Moscow. Quite the diverse collection.
  • As fans of Australia, Western Australia in particular, we loved the fact that @hollychronicles said her dream city to visit is beautiful Perth.
  • For some, the experiences are most important and @TravelBlggr said she wants to visit South America to dance the tango in Argentina, climb Machu Picchu, and more.
  • An adventurer at heart, @SterlingTravelr wants to visit either Nepal or Antarctica, but for chatter @wasborntotravel paradise was the answer, with Bora Bora topping the list.
  • Other dream destinations named by our traveling followers included South Africa, Croatia, Mexico, Dubai, Iceland, Cambodia, Germany, and Mauritius.

 

Pretty as an Airport
While many of us love plane travel, spending countless hours in airports isn’t often fun. In an effort to help out our favorite airports around the world, we asked which amenities would make them more enjoyable. This is what we heard.

 

  • Not surprisingly, the most common request our followers had was for free Wi-Fi—now considered to be a basic right.
  • Comfort is often ignored in airports, as @autiglobetrot pointed out when she asked for more comfy chairs in her favorite airports.
  • One of our favorite answers came from @TendToTravel, who thinks sleeping pods should be standard, especially great for long delays or transfer waits.
  • Other popular requests were water filling stations, free yoga classes (yes, really), updated bathrooms, and to be treated with respect.

 

Don’t forget to join us for the next #TripItChat on July 17, 2014 at 2 p.m. PST/5 p.m. EST, when we’ll be talking about summer travel tips!