Lisa2014_1Traveling by air in the near future? …  If so, you will want to read this; with so many airlines merging in the recent years, not all rewards members are able to use past miles. Rewards are those frequent flier miles one gets while flying on the airline of their choice, with the hopes of redeeming them one day… being eligible for a free ticket or upgrade on a future flight. However, the upgrades are difficult to get. Apparently everyone wants to be on the list these days; I’m talking about the upgrade to First Class. And really… why not; more leg room, a hot meal, free drinks and also among the first to board… basically its hassle free and hard to get.

Airlines today offer an array of options… most of them for a price. Let’s start with seating. If you haven’t noticed by now, depending on the airline and type of aircraft, you may just want to check the availability using the seat map guide first. Interested in extra legroom? For an additional price you may find it worth paying for. Usually these seats go quick, so if you are unsure about the flight, I recommend checking with the seat guru first. This is an excellent website which offers you a chance to review the aircraft charts while giving you the dimensions of the seat, including its pitch. This is valuable information to the flier, especially if one is traveling with any physical ailments, or for an extended length of time. Recently I was told a story about a family who did not have seats together on an aircraft; this posed a major problem… as they had children with them. The argument escalated when a gentleman did not want to give up his seat, as he paid a premium price for it. It clearly was not his problem, yet the flight attendant did not see it that way, and tried to get the family to sit together (which I understand). Honestly, I wouldn’t give my seat up either. It gets crowded and is hard on my back (I had a double fusion); hence as to why I ‘pay’ for the legroom to begin with. The family did not understand, but why should this gentleman give up what he paid for? So I cannot stress enough to the fliers, please use a seat chart and be understanding to those who do not want to give up their seat these days; times have changed and everything seems to come with a price tag, nor do you know their personal situation.

Moving on to luggage now… have your money ready to check bags. Majority of the airlines charge $35.00 for your first bag and $25.00 for your second; do not pack it heavy! It is an extra charge if it’s over 50 pounds, not to mention hard on the airline employees. However, Southwest Airlines checks your bag for free, and yes… they are about the only one. Some airlines are now charging to bring carry-on items as well. I know this is to discourage those that bring on more than one piece and take up room in the overhead bins. If you cannot be one of those that get on earlier, chances of finding ample room for your carry on are not great. Frontier and Allegiant Airlines are charging for carry-ons. In fact, if you make it to the gate and your carry on does not meet the requirements, you will pay to have it checked at the gate. These fees are $50.00 and after May this year they are rising to $60.00. Last year a few airlines changed the dimensions on carry-ons that are allowed on the aircraft. I don’t blame them; people get ridiculous with their carry-on. Usually as I wait in the gate area I am scoping out the passengers with items being brought on board; its habit, as I too once worked the airlines. Most of the time I cannot believe the size of some of these carry-ons, I think it’s just rude. So last but not least… in order to board your flight earlier one can pay for that. Not every airline offers this option, but I love it when they do. Southwest charges $12.50 for early-bird check-in. I find it worthwhile; as I hate being the last… because most likely the overhead bins are full. This forces you to put it underneath the seat in front of your legs, so if you think you haven’t any legroom to begin with… now it’s ten times worse.

Whatever your flying pleasure may be, always sign up for the frequent flier miles, as rules are making things a bit better, allowing the miles never to expire. Also, remember while searching for your flights, before booking please check the seat chart with as to the size aircraft and pitch of the seats, it makes a difference to most of us. And last, whatever price you are looking at, don’t forget the baggage costs… you will have to factor that in. It’s all about making your flight a better experience today… so planning it right is crucial; Happy flying and better tomorrows.

Make your week count.