Monthly Archives: January 2016

Advantages and Disadvantages of Bag Checking When Flying

Advantages and Disadvantages of Bag Checking When Flying

download (68)A hotly-debated topic among air travelers often has certain advantages and disadvantages to every argument. For first-time travelers or people who just need a refresher, there are certain restrictions to items you can include in your carry-on (things you can take along with you on the aircraft) and those you can “check-in” (things that enter the cargo hold of your aircraft, underneath the floor of the cabin).

Reasons to Carry Your Bags into the Cabin

The airline is responsible for your bags, so they won’t get lost. Perhaps the worst problem of travelers is losing their luggage. In case this happens, the carrier will compensate you in the least possible way like delivering your bag to your hotel or home hours or days after you have lost your luggage.

Once you reach your destination, you can zoom right across the airport into your car, taxi or shuttle for rent, without having to wait for your luggage to appear on the baggage carousel.

If ever your flight has been delayed or cancelled, and you missed the connecting flight, your bags are with you, which makes you more flexible. There may be some other flight you can be rerouted to, or one flying to a nearby airport. Keep in mind that when you check-in your bags, they will remain on the scheduled flight (as a general rule), even if the flight has been delayed for hours and you are re-booked on another flight. The airline will just send your bag on the original flight, requiring you to stay at your destination or go back to the airport when the flight arrives (such a disappointment!).

One more advantage is the fact that you can always keep an eye on your personal belongings, thus, eliminating the probability that your camera failed to function after being entered into the cargo hold by a man who formerly worked at a construction site, lugging concrete bag, or even worse – it disappeared on the way to your arrival airport.

Reasons to Check-in Your Bags

You can take along more stuff with you. Airlines limit the items you can carry aboard the aircraft. So, you have to know how to pack wisely (take note: don’t bring the kitchen sink). If you will only be away for a few days, it is best to carry your bags on-board the flight. However, if you plan to take along many gifts and goodies, it would be best to check-in your bags. Refer to checked bagged limits.

You no longer need to fight with other 150 people over the elusive overhead bin space (the area on top of your seat that looks an inch smaller than your bag). Most people who travel on business take shorter trips so they do not need to check-in luggage plus, they have the advantage of boarding ahead of the other passengers. There is a chance that overhead bins are occupied by the time you board the plane, and probably, the only available space is above 47E at the back, far from your seat in 10A (which means you have to wait for all passengers to get off the destination airport to retrieve your bag at the baggage claim counter).

Preparing Your Home Before Your Flight

Preparing Your Home Before Your Flight

download (69)Depending on how long you will be away on a trip, there are lots of things you should do before you leave your home:

Place all your mail and deliveries on hold

While you are away, your mail, magazines and newspapers will pile up, making it obvious that no one is around. To prevent burglars from targeting your home, place all deliveries temporarily on hold. Contact the newspaper circulation department to instruct them to only resume delivery when you arrive. Also, call or visit the nearest post office to place your mail on hold while you are away.

Arrange pet care

If you can’t take along your furry friends, see to it that they will be well taken care and provided for before you leave. This means that you need to make reservations with your vet, “doggie day care” or pet sitters within your vicinity. If this is the first time for your pet to be with a pet sitting service, it would help to arrange a meeting ahead of time with the pet sitter for both to be introduced. If your pet will stay outside your home, think of dropping your pet off to stay for a few hours at the day care for doggies as a trial in preparation for a longer stay. However, if you can take your furry friend with you, look into our tips on flying with pets.

Check out the following pet care checklist.

    • Make sure that the vaccinations of your pet are up-to-date

 

    • While you are away, leave valuable information with the pet sitter, including emergency phone numbers, vet contact details and your contact info, as well as itinerary

 

    • Give the daily schedule and habits of your pet, as well as additional instructions to the pet sitter

 

    • In case your pet stays outside your home, make sure to pack more than enough food to meet your pet’s needs if ever your arrival has been moved plus medicine, favorite toys and treats. Also leave a piece of your clothing to feel comforted and be reminded of you while you are away.

 

  • Confirm your reservation before the trip.

Hire a house caretaker

Request neighbors or family members to check on your home every once in a while, and be alert of any suspicious people or activity during your absence. Don’t forget to give them a souvenir as a simple gesture for watching your home, watering your plants and getting your mail/newspapers (if you won’t be away for long, there is no need to put deliveries on hold)

Arrange a trip to the airport

Hire a car service or map your route by means of public transportation before reaching your destination.

Have a Quiet Flight – Prepare Your Home Before You Leave

Have a Quiet Flight – Prepare Your Home Before You Leave

download (67)There was a time when you could rush to the airport to check-in at the last minute, say your good-byes at the gate, and have pleasant chats with the pilot upon boarding the aircraft. This is far from the present situation when it comes to airline security. Though everyone wants a more secure airspace, many travelers have gotten used to the hassles of getting through airports. Taking this to mind, follow this guide so your travel time will be less challenging for everyone.

Before you even leave your home, see to it that the proper clothes and amenities are included in your carry-on. It may no longer be practical to wear your Sunday clothes, but a little amount of strategy can let you save time as you get through the long lines. Using loose, simple clothes will not only make you feel comfortable during the flight, but will also save you the trouble of removing those layers at the checkpoint. All kinds of metal accessories like your belt and jewelry have to be taken off at the security counter. As an option, place all metal such as keys and coins in a plastic bag or container inside you carry-on before your arrival. This will help facilitate a faster check-in process. Another important part of your wardrobe is your shoes. You need to be ready to take them off unless of course you are using flip-flops. Or else, you can wear a pair of slip-ons the next time you travel. When you are traveling with children below 12, they do not have to remove their shoes.

Airport safety officials (such as TSA agents) will also want to inspect anything you bring in your check-in baggage. If you lock your bags, be aware that the personnel can destroy the lock so as to check the items in it. To avoid this, use a locking mechanism recognized by TSA, which can only be opened by TSA. However, if you board an international flight, you still have to face the risks of having your locks broken for the purpose of inspection. Some rules of thumb when it comes to packing checked baggage: you can take along a pack of sporting equipment, knives and swords, but nothing explosive or flammable. Alcohol is flammable, so think again before taking home a bottle of vodka from Russia.

Since restrictions can change from time to time, check the Transportation Security Administration’s website to get updates whenever you travel.

  • Avoid packing or taking along prohibited items to the airports.
  • Let your gifts remain unwrapped since they may be inspected.
  • Do not wear clothes, jewelry or accessories with metal because they may trigger the alarm on the metal detector.
  • Avoid carrying excess baggage. This is limited to only one carry-on bag, as well as one personal item. The latter may be a purse, camera case, briefcase, small backpack or laptop. Don’t forget: 1 + 1.
  • Include some form of identification on every baggage. Remember your laptop.
  • Layering your items is important in packing your carry-on luggage. The x-ray technician will find it easy to inspect your items when your luggage consists of an orderly layer of clothing, electronic and heavier things. If everything is topsy-turvy inside your bag and not separated, even an uncomplicated item like an mp3 player or cell phone can look like a potential risk in an x-ray.

Preparing for Your Flight – The Carry-On Liquids Rules

Preparing for Your Flight – The Carry-On Liquids Rules

download (66)There are certain restrictions on carrying liquids on board of an airplane, and in this regard, it is not worth the trouble to take along a bottle of Evian while flying. Plus, hanging on to a cup of Starbucks coffee while waiting to board your 6:00 am flight just to be told to finish or throw it before reaching the security check point is difficult to deal with.

Regardless of all the declared restrictions on carry-on liquids, creams, gels and the like that the TSA published, the actual execution of such rules will significantly vary from one airport to another all through the US and abroad. The reasons also differ – like insufficient training, own interpretation of the rules by TSA employees or simply, laziness in sticking to them. In any case, TSA employees are searching for needles in a haystack since a huge number of travelers pass their patrol each day. So, managing to get your favorite beverage transported is actually a toss of a coin.

If you are a traveler, you can argue with a screener who insists that you throw the bottle of fresh water, or just take the necessary steps to avoid any unpleasant incidents that can spoil the dream vacation you long for or an important meeting with a client. Some tips on carry-on restrictions to make the experience a bit more pleasant are as follows:

Tip No. 1: Take a plastic zipper bag (1 quart)

This is neither a sandwich bag nor any of the plastic bags used for produce at your local grocery. It should be a quart with possibly few markings.

Tip No. 2: Store liquids and creams in brand name bottles.

Many people make the mistake of transferring a few ounces of shampoo from the original bottle into a smaller plastic/metal bottle that has no markings, which is not a good idea. One of the things that will easily capture the attention of TSA inspectors are items that cannot be immediately identified. So, make sure your liquids are in a brand name container – even though they do not match the label.

Tip No. 3: Lots of people make the mistake of transferring a certain amount of liquid in bottles capable of containing liquid that are beyond the limits.

This is certainly not good at all. The bottle must be able to hold three ounces at the most, no matter how much is inside it.

Tip No. 4: Take note of the following if you will travel between two non-US cities.

In case you are traveling aboard a US flag carrier, the rules imposed by such carriers are usually stricter than they are in the US. As an example, there was a recent flight on American Airlines bound for Singapore from Tokyo, where all kinds of liquids, creams, lotions or pastes that were purchased were prohibited from being hand carried into the aircraft.

Tip No. 5: Always check your bags.

While nobody likes to do this if not needed, it would be such as hassle to contend with the apprehension, uncertainties and irregularities of trying to bring along any kind on non-solid item beyond security or the next level of security, which is present at many international airports that service flights to the US.

At the end of the day, the bottom line is plain and simple. With respect to carry-on liquids and their restrictions, be smart and do not go against the system. You may encounter a TSA inspector who may use you as an example, then you will definitely lose.