Flying the Friendly Skies, Part 1

For many of us, summertime means travel.  If you plan to fly, it also means preparing for long security lines, crowded airplanes and flight delays.

With more than five million airline miles under my belt, I consider myself a bit of an expert on air travel.  I may be one of the few people who actually enjoy flying – a good thing, since I take more than 150 flights each year.

Photo from Getty Images.

Photo from Getty Images.

Here are five guidelines I follow to minimize disruption and make flying a more pleasant experience:

Book the first flight of the day.  It’s not fun to get up early, but 6 a.m. flights generally depart on time.

Don’t schedule a layover of less than two hours.  This will minimize the stress of worrying or trying to rebook if you miss your connection.

Expect delays and cancellations.  Assume that your flight will be delayed and that you will spend time on the tarmac.  When delays are expected, I always check flight schedules to have a back-up plan in case I need to make changes.

Have the airline’s reservation line on your phone.  If your flight is cancelled or you miss a connection, you can often rebook faster on the phone instead of standing on long lines at the airport.

Let it go.  For me, the key to stress-free travel is recognizing that the entire process is outside of my control.  If there are weather delays, flight cancellations or other issues, there is absolutely nothing I can do about it.  Control what you can (see tips one through four), and try to simply go with the flow.