It's no secret that air travel has lost much of its glamour in recent years. But with a bit of creativity and a sunny disposition, it is possible to improve the experience. We love the industry website JohnnyJet.com, which provides info on airline deals and travel tips. Not long ago, we met up with John DiScala, creator of JohnnyJet, who graciously shared some of his tips to enhance the journey.
Johnny flies about 150,000 miles per year, and though he loves flying and being at the airport, he hates "wasted time" while there, i.e. standing in long lines at security or waiting around at baggage claim. Even if you're not a road warrior, Johnny assures us there are ways anyone can get the perks of frequent flyers.
Be sure to sign up for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, which provides access to shorter security lines at the airport. In addition, you won't have to take off your shoes and belt or remove liquids/computers from your bags.
Most people are unaware that you can buy a day pass to airline lounges even if you are not a member. This can be a worthwhile investment if you have a layover of several hours, particularly when factoring in the complimentary snacks, soft drinks, and fast WiFi in a quiet setting. Some premium credit cards offer access to airline lounges on the day of flight. Check Johnny's site for more information.
Priority boarding means more than just getting on the plane first; it also ensures there's room to stow your bags before everyone else gets on the plane – critical these days when escalating baggage fees have prompted more people to take the carry-on option. Many airline credit cards offer this as a perk; you can also spend a bit extra for "premium coach" seating to board earlier.
Check with the gate agent to see whether there are any empty rows on the flight. You may be able to move to a seat with a little more breathing room. In rare instances, you might even get a whole row to yourself, giving you a chance to lie down and sleep on a long flight.
Above all, Johnny's motto is "always be nice" to the airline staff, both on the ground and in the air. That polite behavior can be a bright spot in a gate agent's or flight attendant's harried day. Which just might mean the difference between getting that seat in the empty row, or a full bottle of water instead of a small cup.