Kathy Ameche: Hi! My name is Kathy Ameche. I am the Author of 'The Woman Road Warrior'; a woman's guide to business travel. I am discussing how you can get most of your business travel with the least stress. Now I am going to talk about how to survive at the airport?
Perhaps the most important thing, be sure that you get a preassigned seat if you can. It is not uncommon for an airline to over book a flight by 20% and this could have a direct impact on you if you don't have a preassigned seat. There are instances when the flight is oversold and you might not get on the plane, even with a confirmed ticket.
Last thing you want to worry about is getting on the plane. After you have been traveling a while, your seat placement becomes important. For instance, some airline seats don't recline into the exit room. 33% of the plane has a middle seat, and you want to avoid sitting in that seat whenever possible. That leaves you with the window or Aisle Seat or exit row. Determine which one you like better and be sure to tell the person helping you with your arrangements.
Now, how to get an upgrade, check your company's travel and entertainment policy to determine if they will pay for an upgrade or a seat in different class or a ticket, either business or first. Then be sure to join any airlines frequent flyer program. If your company or you choose not to pay for a higher class of tickets, use miles to upgrade when you purchase your ticket, contact the airline to see if seats are available.
Another option is to put yourself on an upgrade list. It is a bit more difficult to get that upgrade by hoping your name will clear the upgrade list. Upgrades are typically awarded based on travel price, and also your status with the frequent flyer program. How do you get airplane personnel to help you? Often you will need help from the ticket or gate agent or some other airline employee to get on an earlier flight to get home or get that better seat.
You need to be a Savvy, self promoter and find your voice. Unfortunately, if you don't speak up for yourself and state what you want then you will never receive it and eventually you will find yourself continuously frustrated. But there is a fine line between assertive and aggressive. So be careful you don't cross it when trying to get what you want, because airline personnel can stand between you and your seat in the next flight, or that preferred seat you have your eye on.
The six deadliest words you can say to a gate or front counter agent are. Do you know who I am? Have all the relevant information in front of them on the computer. Leave the title and attitude at home, and kill him with kindness in the best and worst situations. Speaking of the worst, first there is the missed plane, if you know you are going to miss your flight, contact the airline and let them know immediately.
You run the risk of losing the entire value of your ticket if you don't notify them, before the flight is to take off. If you are at the airport, immediately find a ticket counter or customer service agent, and ask them to book you on the next available flight. If you are holding a discounted ticket, the airline might charge you a fee, ask if you can go standby to avoid any additional cost.
What if your flight has been delayed, get started on plan B at the first sign of trouble. Have the phone numbers of the airline, your travel agent or customer service of your preferred travel website on your speed dial. Call and find out what your alternatives are. If you find that your flight keeps getting delayed, and you start to wonder if you will be spending the night in the airport, secure hotel room is another backup, if you should eventually take off, contact the hotel's front desk and cancel your reservation.
They will be glad to have the room and you will be on your way. Be sure to get a cancellation number for your records. And another one of the worst things that can happen is lost luggage, that's why the number one rule for business travelers is not to check your luggage if at all possible. The three reasons I say this, are because number one, the majority of airlines charge a fee for a your checked bags, number two you are under risk, your luggage will be lost or delayed, and number three if your flight is delayed or canceled, one of the first questions you'll be asked is if you checked your luggage.
Your options are dramatically reduced and you are under the airlines' control if you say yes. So that's how to survive at the airport when traveling on business. Up next I am gong to talk about the alternative forms of transportation that are available to business travelers.