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Travelers' Aid

Surviving Holiday Travel
December 8, 2000

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Okay, how many shopping days? Take my advice here: use all your remaining time before the holidays to start mapping out your travel strategies. Things are already going from bad to even worse.

First there's all this labor trouble in the air. Last week, of course, an airline mechanic filled us in on the slowdowns happening at United and Northwest. Both of those airlines are canceling way more flights than normal. Now, Delta is also canceling flights * only it's their pilots causing problems this time. And just to prove that nobody's safe, looks like American Airlines is headed toward a bumpy ride courtesy of its flight attendants. Fortunately, that turbulence won't hit 'til next month, after the holidays.

So what can you, the traveler, do to be prepared? Well, odds are you've already bought your tickets, and I know I don't need to repeat the standard refrain: show up early, bring food and water with you, allow plenty of time for traffic around the airport.

Something that can save you real headaches is to use paper * and not e-tickets. If you do get into a jam, that paper ticket can be easily endorsed over to another flight, or a competing airline. E-tickets? No way.

Joe Brancatelli is known as the "Tactical Traveler" over at biztravel.com, where he writes a couple of columns about surviving trips. Joe will share some of those tips with us.

Here's my own tip: avoid La Guardia Airport at all costs. Delays at the New York airport have jumped 300 percent over the last year. Congress held hearings into the problems last week. Even if you've already booked your ticket - see what you can do to get into JFK, or even Newark. It will make a difference.

If you'd like us to address your travel questions or concerns, send us an email. Or, you can snail-mail them in. The address is The Savvy Traveler, in care of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California 90007. Or call me at 888-SAV-TRAV.


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