11 Must Read Tips For Stress-Free Air Travel

Travel brings boundless joy to many, whether its travelling near or far. Since the world turned upside down with Covid, some aspects of travel have changed.

Here are my 11 must-read air travel tips to help make your next trip stress free.

Fly on One Ticket

When I plan to travel for my clients, I try, where possible, to select flights all on one carrier or their affiliates and have it all incorporated into one ticket number. Booking one airline to your destination and then another different airline back is a recipe for disaster when flights are cancelled or schedules change. Booking on one ticket keeps it simple and clean with only one airline to deal with for any changes or cancellations. Travellers must be careful in booking on an online flight search site as these sites can sometimes combine multiple tickets onto one itinerary, which can be a problem down the track.

Skip The Queues

Wait times at airports for check-in are long, tedious, and frustrating. I advise my clients to get themselves a great airline frequent flyer membership and climb the status tiers. Higher status tiers get benefits like priority check-in and priority boarding. A wonderful way to supercharge frequent flyer memberships is to pool points from family members onto a single parent’s membership. A parent with a high-status membership travelling with family can get most benefits for the whole family when travelling together.

Leave More Time To Connect

Leaving around 2 hours to connect from an international to domestic flight would have been ample pre-covid, barring any lengthy delays. Currently the time needed is blowing out due to staff shortages in baggage services, customs, immigration, security, and check in. I am now leaving more time for my clients’ connections. If travellers are booking directly on the airline’s website, it will only provide options based on minimum transit times. As a travel planner, I can bypass the airlines’ suggested connecting flights to give a greater period of transit time.

Online check-in

Airlines are trying to find more ways to lift revenue. One of the ways is to charge for pre-selected seating. Not knowing where you will sit can be stressful, especially when you are travelling with a family or group. The best way to relieve stress is to select seats using the online check-in which opens with some airlines up to 72 hours before departure. Travelers can take the booking reference and log in to the airline’s website in the “Manage my Booking” section and pre-select seats. This little task, ahead of time, can avoid much stress.

Be Polite & Courteous

Many people working at airports and airlines are physically exhausted and mentally stretched. Showing empathy, kindness and compassion can get you a long way if things go a little wry.=

Documents Ready

There are far more documents required for flying than in the past. The checking of paperwork by check-in staff slows down the check-in process. Having all your documents in paper form ready to go at check-in saves a great deal of time for you and the persons behind you in the queue. Whilst it might seem cool and funky to have them digitally on your phone or laptop to show, having it to show on paper saves the check-in staff time.

Tag your bag

With operational staff at airports stretched, I have heard increasingly of luggage going missing or delayed. Simple steps can help your bag get to you at the other end. Firstly, have your own luggage tag with your name and contact details on your bag. Secondly, there are two stickers with a barcode which identifies your bag. There is the larger long tag that sticks together and goes around the handle, and then there is the other little sticker that comes off the larger tag, which is stuck on the suitcase fabric. If the larger tag comes off, luggage staff can still identify your bag with the little sticker. Without the barcode, your bag could go anywhere. These simple steps can mean the difference between walking around in a jumper and jeans or shorts and a T-shirt for the first days of your summer holiday.

Ask the airline to fix the problem

With so many flights cancelled, the demand for airline call centre staff and travel agents is high. If you are at the airport and a flight has been cancelled, head straight to the service desk and ask the airline staff to reschedule your ticket. An involuntary change, which is a change instigated by the airline, can be handled by the airline on the spot. Travellers need not return to the travel planner to fix an involuntary change.

Need a passport?

The current wait time for passport renewals in Australia is improving, but it still takes time. The general wait can be up to 6 weeks. Check your passport when booking and have a m,imimum of 6 months validity from the date you arrive home.

Do not miss your flight

It may seem logical to suggest that you should not miss your flight, but missing a flight can lead to a mountain of woe. For example, a traveler is in Europe and has a flight from Brussels to Frankfurt, a flight sector on a larger ticketed itinerary. The traveller plans to stay in Frankfurt for two days and then fly home. Whilst in Brussels, however, a friend suggests that the train ride from these two cities is breathtaking and should not be missed. It is not commonly known, but if the traveller fails to board the Brussels to Frankfurt flight, this triggers an event that voids all remaining flights on that ticket. Travellers can simply not show up for a flight if it is part of a larger ticketed itinerary. If you do not wish to fly or cannot make a flight, then speak with your trusted travel planner or the airline.

Book with a reputable travel planner

It may seem simple to book flights or a holiday online, but using the expertise of a travel planner may be the difference between having a great stress-free holiday, a stressful holiday, or even no holiday. I work through many complicated aspects on behalf of my clients. Having someone on your side who knows all the rules is the key to seamless, stress-free travel.


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Anthony Lee is an award winning travel designer. With close to 10 years designing high end travel, and a lifetime of travel experiences, it is a love of history, geography and cultures that drives his passion for travel. Anthony grew up in Australia but spent a good portion of his life immersed in Europe, living in the Netherlands, Germany and England. His greatest experiences have come from exploring what is around the next corner, getting off the beaten track and experiencing the local way of life in different cultures.