As you get ready for that last summer holiday before school begins or think about how to make your upcoming Labor Day travel plans easier remember there are many rules and regulations when flying the friendly skies these days.
It can definitely be stressful. Take it from me, I travel at least once a month and more often than not these last four or five months I have seen delayed flights, missed flights and even a cancelled flight where I was stuck in New York City two days.
Here are some pro travel tips on how to make the beginning or the end of your vacation a happy one so that the memories you bring home will create nothing but smiles.
Tips at the airline counter
- Make sure you know what the weight limit is for checked bags and don’t go over that weight. If you do you will likely have to pay even more than the checked bag fee. You can also pay the checked bag fee online before arriving at the airport. That way you don’t have to exchange money when you arrive.
- Print your boarding pass out at home if possible. Oftentimes when traveling overseas you can’t print your boarding pass early, but give it a try at home.
- Make sure you check the spelling of your name on your driver’s license or passport with the spelling on the ticket reservation and boarding pass. This needs to match up exactly or you might encounter problems, which will cause you to miss your flight.
- Always arrive at the airport at least two hours early. This means at the actual airport and not at the parking garage. It has been known to take up to 30 minutes at DFW to get from the parking garage or remote parking location to your actual terminal.
At the Security Line
- Once you are in the security line you will have to take out your computer and your liquids - three-ounces or less – and packed in a one-quart size bag that is one per person. You will need to place these items in separate bins provided at the security checkpoint.
- If you want to get through security quick passengers can speed through the security process by joining the trusted traveler program. This translate into TSA Pre?® or Global Entry for international travelers. These services are offered from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
- International travelers can speed through U.S. Customs and Border Protection by downloading the Mobile Passport Control app, which allows users to enter their declaration information electronically and bypass the Customs waiting queues.
Boarding the Plane and Airline Etiquette
- When boarding for your flight begins stay seated until the group number on your boarding pass is called. Everyone will get on the plane and when there is a log jam at the boarding doors no one gets anywhere fast.
- Once on the plane if you have items for the overhead bin put these items in the bin fast and move out of the aisle for other passengers. The longer you stand in the aisle the longer the line to pass becomes and in some cases this can cause a delayed flight.
- Remember that armrests are shared with your fellow seatmates so show restraint when stretching out to get comfortable.
Parking and Picking up at Dallas Love Field Airport
- If you are picking up an arriving passenger at Love Field Airport do it in front of the Baggage Claim on the upper roadway of Herb Kelleher Way.
- The Cell Phone waiting lot is currently closed due to construction in Parking Garage C. For passengers looking for a parking garage to leave the car, Garage C is a no go.
- Another option for picking up a passenger is the new Express Parking located in Garage A to wait for arriving passenger. You can leave your vehicle and meet the passenger at Baggage Claim and the first hour is free to park. After 61 minutes, you will be charged for the entire time you are there.
- Parking Garages A and B offer the first 30 minutes of parking free. These garages are also good options for parking your vehicle for trips. Pay attention to the cost per day of these parking garages however, since remote parking sites located near the airport might offer better rates if you plan to be gone for more than a few days.
Parking at the DFW Airport
- If you are wondering where to park at DFW the new Terminal E Parking Garage is now open. The garage has 3500 parking spaces and features DFW's Parking Guidance System, which uses overhead lights and electronic signs to guide customers to available spaces on each level of the five story structure.
- In addition, for the first time, DFW will offer Electronic Vehicle (EV) Charging Stations. The eight charging stations in Terminal E can be found in the garage's one-hour parking areas, with four EV stations available near Gate E16 and four available near Gate E33. DFW will offer EV Charging Stations at other terminals in the coming months.
- Regarding DFW Airport Parking you can opt for Valet, Terminal, Express and Remote Parking so the choice is yours. For details check out www.DFWAirport.com/Parking.
- Remember, in some cases because of the size of DFW Airport you might leave from a different terminal than you arrive back home. This is an easy solution. If you didn’t check a bag and you know you parked in a different terminal, as soon as you deplane head for the Skylink train inside security. This will take you to any terminal you need to go so you can easily get to the terminal where you parked your car.
- If you checked a bag you will have to leave security and take one of the free terminal buses that transports passengers from terminal to terminal on a regular basis.
Travel Apps offered at DFW Airport
- "This summer, we're rolling out new Mobile Food Ordering, the DFW Journey Planner and opening an enhanced parking facility for easy access to Terminal E," said Ken Buchanan, Executive Vice President of Revenue Management for DFW.
That means Mobile Ordering is a good way for customers to pre-order and pick up their next meal at DFW. Customers can use the DFW Mobile App to scan restaurant menus, place their orders and pay whether their flight is taxiing to the gate or before they arrive at the Airport. The green "mobile ordering" icon makes it easy to find participating restaurants, and the app makes it easy to pay in advance and avoid the wait.
- Passengers might also want to check out the Journey Planner for travelers at DFW Airport. This planner gives customers the ability to create a custom itinerary for their time at the Airport. There is also an integrated interactive map to help folks get the most of their time spent on the ground at DFW. The DFW Airport Mobile App is available as a free download for Apple TV, Apple Watch, Apple iOS (iTunes) and Android (Google Play Store) mobile devices including smartphones and tablets.
Passenger’s rights for cancelled and delayed flights
One last thing and very important since delays and cancellations seem to be rampant across the board these days with all the airlines. And unfortunately, these situations often leave travelers scratching their heads. So what are a passenger’s rights?
- If the airplane is delayed for over two hours call the airline and ask them how they will compensate you. I travel over 100,000 miles a year on American Airlines alone and in the last six months I have been compensated over $600 because of delayed flights. There are rules and the airline is responsible for getting you from point A to B in a timely manner.
- When you have a connecting flight and you are delayed out of the first airport pick up the phone and call customer service to find out what the airline plans to do if you miss your next flight. Be adamant about it and don’t follow the gate agent’s instructions to talk to the gate agent when you arrive at the next destination. Likely, especially from DFW Airport there are many people trying to catch a connecting flight and you will get stuck in a long line to receive help.
- If the flight is delayed and you have to spend the night in the airport you have some options. If it is weather related you will likely not be compensated. If it is a technical problem the airline has to offer you a hotel and meal voucher for your trouble. Insist on it.
- When the flight is cancelled you are due a meal and hotel voucher if you are forced to spend the night stranded. In some cases the cancelling airline can book you on another carrier in order to get you to your destination. Ask the person helping you rebook if that is possible, it is not always offered so insist.