Ok, I’ve ranted a bit over the
past few days and I’m starting to calm down.
A little. I still promise some
sweeping changes after I’m elected “King of the World” but until then, all I
can offer you is sage advice, pearls of wisdom, and the benefit of decades of
travel experience. Here you go:
Can I expect the rules to be predictable and strict at all airports?
A: For now, there are no “official”
changes to the rules governing the airports themselves, and their security
policies; most new rules apply only to international flights coming into this
country and as such, It’s up to the individual airlines (and pilots) to enforce
them. But as our beloved secretary of HSA (“Crazy Janet” Napolitano) says, “Some
new rules are designed to be unpredictable!”
Then she took off her shirt and ran, screaming, in a circle around the
podium. Not really… she didn’t really
take off her shirt (though I wouldn’t put it past her). How that woman got appointed is so far beyond
reason; but that’s another topic for another day. Basically, you may not be treated the same
way you are used to, or even the same way from place to place. Make a game out of it, collect stories, start
a blog, whatever, just be ready for anything!
I’ve already adjusted my schedule to arrive at airports early, do I need to
arrive even earlier than before?
A: The arbitrary nature of the new
“flexible rules” system has made things a bit unpredictable. I would wager a very strong guess that the
borderline crazy travelers will become even crazier and you’ll see things
packed into suitcases that you didn’t think were possible. Then you have the TSA agents trying
hopelessly to sort it all out… it’s obviously a good idea to head to the
airport as early as possible. If it’s an
international flight, I would absolutely recommend beyond measure that you get
there at least three hours prior to your scheduled departure. If you think it’s unreasonable to expect
someone to arrive at an airport at 3am for a 6:15am departure, you might wish
to reschedule your flight. Some airlines
are mercifully waiving their change fees for some international flights for
this very same reason.
your potential “delay time.” Get your
seat, check in, and pay for your luggage in advance, online. Get out
your tape measure and double check that your carry-on meets your airlines
posted requirements. Buy smaller travel
sized liquids… for goodness sakes, now is not the time to wonder if a half-full
shampoo bottle should be allowed.
Can I expect some leniency from airlines regarding checked baggage
charges? Especially on international
A: No. One new “flexi-rule” states
that passengers can’t have more than ONE (1) carry-on for an international
flight. Some airlines are temporarily
waiving their checked bagged fee for this reason, but expecting this charity to
last is crazier than Janet Napolitano (read my blog from part one of this
series to see just how crazy that is). I’ve
written about this countless times, now’s a great time to make an extra effort
to fit everything you’ll need into ONE carry-on bag.
Will these long delays continue, or will things “settle down” in a few weeks?
A: If the last attack is any
precedent, I expect these delays to become a permanent part of air travel. Arrive earlier than early. Bring snacks, books, etc, to keep yourself
busy and distracted from the madness. Take
notes of crazy things you see and send them to me so that I can blog about
them. Pay more attention to the “Emergency
Contact” info in your plane, rental car, and hotel vouchers. Above all, RELAX! We’re all in this together…
EXTRA: If you have questions for Ken regarding
business travel, hotels, airplanes, etc, please send an email! Your questions
will be recorded and Ken will answer the best ones in his Ask the
Expert podcast show.