September 29, 2013

September 29, 2013
Smart Tips for Avoiding a Missed-Flight Nightmare

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Sunday and I hope you are having a beary safe and great weekend so far. Dab the AIDS Bear and I are finishing up at the Positive Living Conference today and then flying back to south Florida this evening.

When I fly I always try to get direct flights. The problem with connecting flights is you can sometimes miss your flight which is what I will blog about today.

A funny thing happened on my way to Australia: My flight from New York to Los Angeles was delayed, causing me to miss my flight from Los Angeles to Melbourne, not to mention the one from Melbourne to my final destination, Adelaide. At Los Angeles International Airport I was rebooked onto the next flight to Australia. Unfortunately, though, that wasn't till the next night—which meant I was stranded in L.A. for 24 hours and missed a full day of my trip to Oz. The up side? Three tips I can share with you for the next time you're booking an international flight with a connection:

Leave enough time to connect from flight #1 to flight #2.

I didn't book my airline ticket (it was booked by the conference I went to Australia to speak at), but, if I had, I would have left more than the "legal" amount of connecting time required by the airlines. Whenever I book international flights with connections, I go to FlightStats, click on "Flights" and, in the drop-down menu, "On-time Performance Rating," and look at the historical on-time performance rating of flight #1, to get a sense of just how often that flight is delayed. The on-time performance rating of the Delta JFK-LAX flight I took is 0.5 out of 5, which FlightStats characterizes as "very poor." The flight is delayed 67% of the time.

Ask to be put up at a hotel overnight and join the hotel's frequent-guest program.

Delta gave all 15 people who missed their flight to Melbourne a voucher for a free night at an LAX airport hotel. My voucher was for the Crowne Plaza. When I checked in and inquired about Wi-Fi, the front-desk clerk asked if I was a Priority Club member. I am indeed—I've signed up for nearly every hotel frequent-guest program because often you get perks just for belonging. Lo and behold, even though I've got no points or status with Priority Club, I got valuable benefits at that Crowne Plaza: Free Wi-Fi, late check-out, and a free "drink," which included anything I wanted (the only exception was frappuccinos) at the lobby Starbucks the next morning.

Try not to check luggage.

Thank God I took only a carry-on. This meant I could quickly flee the airport to my hotel. I left behind a long line of fellow passengers waiting to be rebooked and retrieve their checked luggage (somehow). I don't know what time they got to their hotels or got to sleep that night.

Hope this helps you the next time you are booking connecting flights and you have a beary safe and great Sunday!

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab