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Travel & Holiday

Stay sunny

…by knowing what to do when skies aren’t clear
CATS Classified In The Straits Times - December 15, 2010
By: Sheila Lim
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Stay sunny

It always helps to be prepared, especially if you are travelling during times when many countries are on “high security alert” to prevent terrorism from rearing its ugly head, or when they are experiencing freak weather conditions.

Arrive in good time
If you are catching a flight and checking in luggage, it is generally recommended that you arrive at least two hours early at the airport for a non-peak domestic flight, and longer (three or four hours) for an international one. Check with your airline for the recommended time; if you do not check in your baggage early enough for it to be loaded on your flight, they cannot be held responsible for any delay in the delivery of your baggage to your destination.

Whether you get to board your plane on time will depend on factors such as whether it’s the peak travel season, the availability of transport to the airport, weather conditions and the traffic situation. If you're driving yourself to the airport, keep in mind your familiarity with the roads, the distance of the parking spot to the terminal (which can literally be miles away) and availability of parking lots (which can fill up quickly at peak travel times).

Curbside and off-airport check-ins which were curtailed after the September 11 events have now been reinstated in many airports across the United States. Most airports are also equipped with self-service kiosks that make the process of checking in speedier. Many airlines allow you to check in for your flight and print your boarding pass via the Internet up to 24 hours before your scheduled departure time, thus allowing you to save time and select your preferred seats.

Know what to expect
Keep up to speed on the latest changes in airport security regulations by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Though the new full-body scanners are not installed in every US airport yet, it’s always helpful to know what’s required of you and what your options are, in case the airport you are going to does use them and adopts pat-down security measures.

Keep your cool
Tempers will flare when a planeload of passengers is left stranded because of flight delays, or if passengers feel that their privacy has been violated. But arguing with or being rude to security officers and other airport staff could worsen matters. Airport staff members are expected to act on instructions and carry out policies they had no hand in creating, so try to be level-headed. Use reason if you are unhappy about something, instead of resorting to threats or insults.


Check in and take off