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Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014

Seek stress-free air travel

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

With the passing of Memorial Day, the unofficial start to summer is upon us, and what better way to kick off the season than by planning a much awaited, highly anticipated summer vacation?

If you plan on flying, you can make sure your vacation planning remains as stress-free as summer itself by using the services of a professional travel agent.

Tips for air travel include:

*Book your ticket ASAP. If you must book last minute, remember, you have options. The key to securing the best deal is flexibility in travel dates and to check into special fares or consider flying into an alternate airport and renting a car. If your vacation includes international travel, make sure you have a valid passport. Your travel agent can advise you on the new rules and how to apply.

*Arrive early. Difficult airport parking, long lines at security checkpoints and the possibility of the airline overselling the flight and bumping passengers, should all be considered when deciding what time to arrive at the airport. Give yourself plenty of extra time.

*Keep a close eye on all your belongings. Just as flights are becoming extremely crowded, airports can also be fraught with thieves. Be aware of your surroundings and maintain a close watch over tickets, wallets, purses, and other belongings at all times.

*Avoid getting bumped. 1) Get an advance seat assignment. Passengers with seat assignments are typically only bumped if they arrive late and their seat assignment is released. 2) Check-in online. Most airlines allow you to do so within 24 hours of departure. Seat assignments that were not available at the time of ticketing may be available when checking in online. 3) Don't be late. If all else fails, get to the airport early. Some airlines reserve a portion of their seat assignment inventory for airport check-in. If you are denied a seat assignment at check-in, put your name on the "standby" seat assignment list.

*Remember 3-1-1. Regulations limit the amount of gels and liquids passengers can take through security in their carry-on luggage to travel-size toiletries of three (3) ounces or less that fit comfortably in one (1) quart-size, clear plastic zip-top bag and the one (1) bag per passenger must be placed in the screening bin.

*Know your limits. Pack light and know baggage limits. Some airlines now charge for a second piece of checked luggage.