There is a wealth of regular columns out there, offering a plethora of tips to travellers. And the major players in the news world, newspapers as well as special-interest magazines and websites picks up on the topic at regular intervals, too. So why one more? What do I think I have to offer that the others have missed?
Nothing earth shattering, really. But with luck, a practical and down-to-earth approach and maybe a tone of voice and a perspective from writing these on the road. As right now – the idea’s been there for a while but comes to life from seat 17C on SK657 en route from CPH to STR*.
I’ll like to credit a few blogs before I head into my own sky. The Points Guy and Chris Guillebeau both write good blogs that offer a lot of travel advice and which I have read and followed both with pleasure and learning. In terms of frequent flyer benefits and miles collection they do “suffer” from being American, though – which is to say that they naturally include the many travel hacks existing over there that allows you to accrue high status and reams of miles for benefits. For us “mere mortals” in Europe, where such schemes are not available, I will do my little bit to shed a little light inside that dark jungle.
The format of this will be a series – one or two tips per post, linked to a page where they will be collected and … grouped, prioritised – we’ll see what format will evolve. Knowing myself – and my varying travel schedule – I will not try to promise a very regular schedule. But at least one post every once in a while.
So then, the two first – somewhat related – CFR Travellers Tips:
- Use the internet check-in option to check in early
- Get to know your aircraft
There are cases where you won’t be able to check-in online, such as charter-type flights or the odd low-cost airline that really wants you to feel that you bought a cheap ticket. Or you may be so much on the road that you have a hard time getting an internet connection. But whenever you can, Internet check-in offers several benefits and is always worth pursuing:
- avoid the check-in queue at the airport and/or the melee in front of the kiosk automats
- allow you more time flexibility as you typically will not have to be at the airport as early
- get an option to pick your seat while the availabilty is still at the largest
One extra tip for internet checkin: Sometimes you have to look for a checkin option at another airline than what you think – for instance, your ticket may have one airline name on it but the actual flight is operated by another (“codeshared”). In those cases, it’s a toss up whether you have to go via one or the other. Partnerships can also decide – for instance, for many connections from Germany to Scandinavia, check-in for SAS flights are done on the Lufthansa website.
This last benefit mentioned above relates to the second tip: be “intimate” with your aircraft (don’t worry, it will be at a safe distance, in advance, via the internet… ;)) There are several websites that offer information about your flight’s configuration – including Seatguru and Seatexpert. Typically, they let you search using your flight details – or you may look up the aircraft directly if you already have the information.
In any case, do so – it may mean the difference between a nice seat with some extra legroom and a more cramped seat with an entertainment system distribution box taking up half your leg space (yep, been there, done that…).
And given that you ‘ve taken heed and checked-in early, the chance of finding that better seat available is somewhat better.
Have a good flight! And please – if you have learnings, experiences, road warrior stories or just a short comment of whatever kind, do drop them and join in the experience sharing 🙂
*… and finished in a Priority Pass lounge in STR (Stuttgart Airport).