14 Airplane Hacks That Will Change the Way You Fly
Before you book your next trip, learn these insider tricks that will make flying a whole lot easier and more pleasant.
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Get priority boarding if you’re traveling with carry-on bags
You may have to buy a more expensive seat, pay an extra $10, or have the airline’s cobranded credit card, says Miguel Suro, a Miami attorney and lifestyle writer at The Rich Miser, but it’s worth it. “Otherwise, you might be forced to gate-check your bag because the overhead bins are full by the time you board,” he explains. “The problem with this is that if there’s a delay in baggage claim at your destination airport, you can get stuck there for half an hour or more upon landing.”
Travel like a local
Andy Abramson, the CEO of Comunicano who was named Business Traveler of the Year by Business Traveler magazine in 2015, suggests always using local SIM cards in mobile phones to get better speeds, connectivity, and quality. “Uploads of photos go faster; if you need to be on a conference call, the quality is always better, as you are connecting locally to the provider’s point of presence; and there’s no need to buy any add-on bundles from your USA carrier,” he says. You can get a SIM card at most local and international airports. And if you’re using public Wi-Fi, make sure you know this one-click trick that can keep your information safe.
Sign up for free business programs
If you have a business—even if it’s not incorporated or profitable—sign up for free business programs like American’s Business Extra, Suro advises. You’ll get points every time you or your employees fly, which are over and above your frequent-flier miles. Suro says that you can redeem those points for free flights, lounge access, upgrades, elite status, and other goodies. For more tips on flying for less, check out how this family went on six vacations in a year for only $600.
Access information without Wi-Fi
Chloe Vallencia, a frequent flier and the owner of Couple-Gift, realized that she often doesn’t have easy access to Wi-Fi when she’s traveling abroad. So she uses the app Maps.Me to search for itineraries, maps, and locations. It’s easy to use and doesn’t require an internet connection. But getting Wi-Fi isn’t always as impossible as you might think, especially when you’re on the way to your destination: Make sure to bookmark this map with airport Wi-Fi passwords all over the world.
Check on transferable flights
Plans change, and sometimes, vacations are canceled. To add to the disaster, many flights are non-refundable, and travelers end up losing everything they shelled out for their holidays. “A very costly mistake many still do is not checking whether their flight is transferable,” says Galena Stavreva, a London-based frequent flier and travel expert. “If it is, the name of the passenger can be changed, the reservation can be sold to someone else, and the seller can recover at least some of the cost of the flights.” So before booking your flight, check ahead of time to see the restrictions—and consider not booking the flight (even if it seems like a good deal) if it’s not transferable. Here’s a full list of airlines that allow name changes. Next, check out the 22 things your flight attendant won’t tell you.