19 tips for traveling by plane in times of crisis. Beware of strikes by airline and airport employees!
We live in the hard times post-pandemic. The pandemic is over, long live the pandemic! And it's not a joke. We are beginning to "reap" the fruits of two years of pandemic, restrictions, stopped activities, blocked aviation and tourism. During the pandemic, the airlines had to lay off or reduce the salaries of all employees who were no longer active and here we are talking about pilots and flight attendants. At the same time, the airports had to lay off or technically lay staff on the ground because there was no more activity. Many others have chosen to leave aviation and tourism alone to more productive areas in the pandemic.
Even the most optimistic forecasts did not anticipate the chaos that would follow this summer season. The specialists announced that the return of aviation at the level of 2019 will be done in 2-3-4 years. Surprise! Here that over 90% of aviation in 2019 was reborn with the lifting of all COVID restrictions. We are seeing the effect these days. Thousands of flights are canceled and tens of thousands of passengers are affected by canceled or delayed flights. Two years ago, airports were empty. Here they are often too small today.
Commercial aviation is entering a crisis due to a lack of aircrew. Airports complain about the lack of manpower on the ground and in the defense and security sectors. Inevitably, they started strikes in aviation, and airports are forced to limit air traffic. It's unpleasant for everyone: passengers, pilots, flight attendants, customs agents, ground support staff, etc.
In these difficult times for everyone, we come up with some tips and tricks for traveling in times of crisis. As passengers, we can do more to make the situation better for everyone.
- If your destination is less than a 7-hour drive away, do not fly. Go by car, bus, train. Choose an alternative transport option.
- If you still have to fly, always stay informed. Install the airline app and keep track of flight updates. Through the application you can get the boarding pass, track your luggage, watch the plane, changes to the boarding gate, etc.
- If you are planning an event or if you need to get to a congress, a conference, a major family event, my advice is to try to get to your destination at least 24 hours before the date of that event, to have a sufficient time to redirect you to another flight if the base flight is canceled. I saw many people complaining that they did not arrive on time for work, wedding, baptism, conferences, etc.
- Look for the first flight of the day. Thus, in case the flight is canceled, you have enough time during the day to find an alternative. At the same time, the first flight of the day leaves on time in most cases and there are minimal chances of it being canceled. Maybe just in strike situations!
- Also take into account the weather conditions. Storms are usually in the second half of the day, so another reason to choose morning flights.
- If you have connecting flights, look for a stopover of at least 2 hours, maybe even 3 hours. In the current conditions, the one-hour stopover is no longer enough. Personally I lived this experience, but the story in another article.
- You have to keep in mind that the situation at airports and at airlines is broader than in the press reports. All departments are interconnected and all are understaffed. Airplanes cannot take off without pilots and flight attendants. People cannot embark without sufficient staff at baggage and document checkpoints. Baggage does not arrive on time if the responsible personnel do not load it in planes.
- When the flight crew gets tired and reaches the legal flight hours, it stops. He can't fly more than 16 hours a day, it's illegal. It doesn't matter who is on the plane, social, political, etc. status is not taken into account. If there are delays during the day and the crew has reached the flight time limit and if there is no other spare crew, then the next flights on that day are canceled. Do you see why morning flights are the best?
- Avoid the big airports and hubs in Europe as those destinations are final destinations. Choose to fly to smaller airports near the final destination and then go by car, train, bus to the final destination.
- I recommend not drinking too much alcohol during the trip. You never know when you're having trouble flying and you're not lucid enough to handle the situation.
- Make your holidays! Opt for one travel insurance, cancellation insurance and medical. If you miss the flight, at least get your money back on accommodation and other outsourced services. Remember that you have rights to cash compensation of up to 600 EURO for flights delayed by more than 3 hours or for flights canceled due to the airline.
- If you plan to travel in a group with friends or family, then buy your plane tickets with a preferential seat. Otherwise you will not sit next to each other.
- Travel with the bare necessities. Try not to take hold luggage so you don't have to stand in endless queues at the checkin counter. Pack your hand luggage correctly and comply with the baggage policy imposed by the airline.
- Although we are European citizens and can travel with our ID card in Europe, my advice is to travel with biometric passports. The area of biometric gates for automatic passport verification is freer. CAREFUL! Holders of passports over the age of 12 can pass through these gates.
- Pay attention to what you eat during the trip, to hydration, to personal hygiene. It's not nice to need to go to the bathroom more often and not be able to go.
- Take one pair of headphones and set up a fun playlist to relax. If you have a few hours to wait for a delayed flight, the music will help you to be calmer. Time will pass differently. Don't forget to have an external battery with you so that you can charge your phone. At the airport you can find outlets, but on the plane harder.
- Dress appropriately for the flight. We recommend comfortable shoes. Have a sweatshirt or a long-sleeved blouse with you. After hours of waiting and fatigue, you will feel cold and the temperature in the plane cannot be increased like in a car.
- In case of canceled or delayed flight, do not take revenge on the cabin crew or pilots, do not take revenge on the people at the checkin counter. Keep calm and try to resolve the situation peacefully. Believe me, no one is plotting against you and no one wants you at the airport or plane more than is needed for a normal flight. Airplane and airport employees are people who have tens of hours of work a day, they are also tired, sometimes they can make mistakes. The situation is unpleasant for everyone.
- Make RAI from what you have. Enjoy the trip as much as you can! It is good to have a reserve of money with you in case you have canceled flights or you have to stay overnight in a destination
I hope all this information is helpful and helpful when planning your next plane trip. Clear skies and smooth flights, I wish you!
* These ideas and tips do not represent certainties regarding canceled or delayed flights. We do not guarantee that you will not have flights canceled if you apply these rules and ideas. But it can help you travel more relaxed!