How to Fly Comfortably


  • 1.

    Fly early in the day.

    At airports scheduled to capacity, any delay in the morning means there will be at least that much of a delay for every flight thereafter.

  • 2.

    Leave a day early.

    Depart a day in advance for crucial trips, such as a business meeting or a wedding.

  • 3.

    Check the delay statistic for your flight

    How often that flight is more than 15 minutes late on a scale of 1 to 9 (the lower the number, the more often it’s late) — before you book your tickets. Airlines are required by law to give you the stat if you ask for it; many post it on their websites. If the number is 5 or below and time is of the essence, consider another flight.

  • 4.

    Skip the lines.

    Sign up for the registered traveler program to take some of the pain out of the preflight experience. Travelers who pass a voluntary background check can use special lanes to whisk through security at nearly 20 U.S. airports, including in Denver, Oakland, Orlando, and San Francisco.

  • 5.

    Make a call.

    If you get to the gate and the airline says you’ve lost your seat, contact the Coalition for an Airline Passengers’ Bill of Rights at 877-359-3776. Kate Hanni, the group’s founder, says stranded passengers have told her that seats were suddenly found for them when they called CAPBOR from the airport and let airline personnel know they’d done so. If your flight is canceled, the group’s volunteer staff will help you book hotels, research your flight status, offer alternative routes, help with car rental, and relay weather information.

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