Here is some advice from local travel agencies on how to plan ahead, minimise financial loss, make the best of an unfavourable situation during the season
As travel delays hit various countries around the world, experts in the UAE are advising travellers to take necessary precautions to ensure a smoother travel.
Currently, the UK is facing disruptions as the UK Border Forces prepare to go on an eight-day strike during peak travel period. To add woe to their worries, a technical glitch caused several British Airways flights to be grounded across the world.
In India, a shortage of cabin crew has led several domestic flights to be delayed and cancelled, leaving several passengers stranded.
According to media reports, flights have been cancelled and grounded across the US due to severe blizzards.
While travellers battle these issues, here are some tips from local travel agencies on how to plan ahead, minimise financial loss and make the best of an unfavourable situation during the holiday season.
1. Check flight timings and terminals before heading to the airport
According to Raheesh Babu, COO, Musafir.com, it is absolutely important to check all information before beginning to travel. “Visit the website of your airline or check the information on the airport’s website or check with your travel agent or use a flight tracking app to get real-time updates,” he said. “Also, if you are unsure of how early you should arrive at the airport, it’s a good idea to check with your airline or the airport’s website for specific recommendations.”
2. Leave time between connection flights
During the holiday period rush, agents are advising travellers to leave enough time in between connecting flights. “We ask our passengers to leave several hours and if possible, even a day between flights,” said T.P. Sudheesh, GM of Deira Travels. “It is common to have flight delays during peak travelling times, so it is safer to take flights that are far apart, even if it means you have to spend a few hours in the airport.”
3. Use web check-in facilities
Most airlines offer web check-in facilities and Raheesh advises passengers to utilize in wisely. “This can be a convenient option for travellers considering the delays at the airport due to the shortage of staff which will certainly impact the operational capacity at the airport,” he said.
4. Take flexibility plans
When booking flights, there is usually an option to take flexible options for a nominal fee. “Take it,” said Sudheesh. “During these peak travelling period, it is always better to pay a little extra for safety and peace of mind.”
5. Arrive early at the airport
“It’s generally a good idea to arrive at the airport early, especially if you are travelling internationally or if you are flying on a busy travel day,” said Raheesh. “This will allow you to check in for your flight, go through security, and make it to your gate with plenty of time to spare. How early you should arrive at the airport depends on the specific airport and the airline you are flying with.” According to him, it is an idea to arrive at the airport at least two hours before a domestic flight and at least three hours before an international flight.
6. Check requirements at destination
Make sure to study your travel destination well before travelling. “Visit the website of the country’s embassy or consulate or check the website of the destination’s tourism board,” said Raheesh. “You can also check the website of your own government’s foreign affairs department, as they may have information on requirements for travel to specific countries. It’s also a good idea to check for any updates or travel advisories related to your destination before beginning your journey.”
7. Get a good travel insurance
Never skimp on travel insurance. That is the tip Sudheesh gives everyone. “Always invest in a good travel insurance, especially if you are travelling during busy periods,” he said. “It will make sure you don’t lose money due to delays or missed connecting flights or issues beyond your control.”
8. Book through a reliable travel agency
According to Raheesh, booking through a reliable agency is important as travellers “can have peace of mind knowing that [their] trip is in good hands and that [they will] have support if any issues arise during travel.”