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How to become a 5 star traveler this holiday season

By SALLY FRENCH of Nerd Wallet

If you skipped last year’s vacation trip (or didn’t travel at all during the pandemic), your travel skills may be rusty. In addition, some travel etiquette has changed.

Recent history shows that this vacation travel season is challenging, as evidenced by the turmoil seen this vacation and summer weekends. Over 2,800 Spirit Airlines flights were canceled during this summer’s busy weekend trip. On separate October weekends, American Airlines canceled hundreds of flights and Southwest Airlines canceled more than 1,800 flights. All of these events were partly due to a shortage of staff.

Of course, when it comes to missing a trip or having to pay for a last-minute hotel, it may seem unfriendly, but a sour attitude probably won’t solve the problem.

By being polite, you may have access to the room of your choice, the last available seat, or a free upgrade. In addition, acting proactively can make your trip more efficient, not just for you, but for everyone else. Here are 5 tips to help you become a 5 star traveler during this holiday season.

Make other people’s work more efficient

I heard constant announcements at the boarding gate and begged people to check the roller bags on a full flight.

The sooner you check the bag, the faster it will load. If the last person to board is the one who is pried open from the hand and sent to the cargo, it is more likely that takeoff will be delayed than if all the bags were previously loaded. Thankfully, many airline credit cards offer free check bags, which is also a common perk offered to airline elite status members. Therefore, it is advisable to consider checking the bag at the counter before going through security. Or, if you know you’ll be boarding last anyway, check your gate early.

When it comes to cleaning, many hotel companies only offer housekeeping on request. Think about whether you really need it, or if you can make your own bed.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the leisure and hospitality industry lost 8.2 million jobs in March and April 2020, reducing employment by 49%. While travel-related jobs are back (in October, the air transport sector added 9,200 jobs and the accommodation sector added 23,200 jobs), employees are new and the company is still Be aware that there may be a shortage of staff. If you use services such as housekeeping, please be generous with your tip.

Use technology to speed things up

In some cases, technology can solve problems that employees may have needed.

Use mobile check-in to display your airline boarding pass on your mobile phone. No printing required. You can also reduce security latency by using biometric data and using apps such as Clear that can skip to the forefront. Some hotels allow you to send your virtual key via mobile check-in, so you can skip the front desk altogether. Pre-order meals online so cashiers don’t have to take orders.

Respect COVID’s safety policy

A June letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland from the 10 major pilots and flight attendant unions quoted “a significant increase and increase in passengers’ unmanageable and destructive behavior, especially for crew members.”

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, about 73% of unruly passenger reports in 2021 are related to masks.

“The obligation to enforce this rule rests with 30,000-foot pilots and flight attendants, and passengers who refuse to comply make our difficult tasks unnecessarily difficult,” said the President of the Union Pilot Association. Captain Eric Ferguson said. A union representing American Airlines pilots in a statement in August.

Even if you disagree with the policy, please respect the employees who must follow it. Also, please understand that the safety rules for COVID-19 vary from place to place. Don’t be surprised if you don’t have a mask during your road trip lunch break, as one city may be tougher than another. However, you must wear a mask at dinner.

Be considerate of others

Given the proportion of unruly passenger reports, it’s probably no coincidence that some airlines have stopped in-flight alcoholic beverage services. Even if there is a tipple in the terminal before takeoff, drink it and act properly.

Wherever you go, especially during a pandemic, respect the personal space of others and keep in mind that a little kindness can be of great help in the service industry.

Go ahead and file a complaint (to the right person)

It’s okay to complain when things are really bad. Most travel agencies offer online customer service forms, and many use social media to handle complaints. Keep in mind that customer service employees may not have the authority to correct the situation immediately.

Bottom line

Sure, there are moody or qualified people who behave like 1-star travelers at airports and hotels, but that doesn’t help everyone to be that person. To experience a 5-star trip, first become a 5-star traveler yourself.

This article was contributed to The Associated Press by the personal finance website Nerd Wallet. Sally French is a writer for Nerd Wallet. Email: Twitter: @SAFmedia.

Related Links:

NerdWallet: October Jobs Report Gives Tired Travelers a Faint Light of Hope

How to become a 5 star traveler this holiday season

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