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BBB: Make That Holiday Flight Easier

Pensacola International Airport

  It’s time to hit the road, or in this case the air, for the holiday season. The Better Business Bureau has some advice aimed at helping make the flight home or to that winter vacation less chaotic.

Rule number one is: if you haven’t already booked your flight, do it now. The earlier the better, and using an online travel site could save you some money.

“They can typically find the cheapest air fares, but if anyone needs a hotel or a rental care they can typically bundle those reservations and get you a great deal as well,” said Danielle Rudd at the BBB’s Pensacola office. 

One way to shake up things this holiday season is doing something out of the ordinary. That could be celebrating in a new location, lying on a beach instead of sitting around a Christmas tree in an ugly sweater. Perhaps you’ll create a new holiday tradition.

Another way to save a few dollars, says Rudd, is avoiding major airports, the Hartsfield-Jackson’s (Atlanta), the Reagan National’s (Washington, D.C.) and the Houston-Hobby’s, and don’t forget to pack light to avoid overweight baggage fees.

Be flexible with when you fly. The BBB says the most expensive flights are on the days leading up to a holiday. Check out flights on the morning of the holiday, because the rates may be cheaper and the lines shorter. And Rudd says how you get to and from the airport can also hit you in the wallet. 

“If you’re leaving a car at the airport each day, they may be charging you $8, $9, or $10 every day,” said Rudd. “And if you’re gone for 4-5 days that really adds up. If you can take a taxi, or recruit a friend to help get you to the airport, do that.”

Since 9/11, one of the basics of air travel has become getting to the airport in plenty of time before your flight – about two hours is a good rule of thumb. On top of the security checks, airports during the holidays are extremely hectic so don’t take any chances.

Also, keep in mind that Mother Nature doesn’t always follow vacation plans this time of the year, with nor’easters and winter storms ongoing threats. If you’re facing a cancelation, the BBB’s Danielle Rudd says it could be best in some situations to bypass the airlines and try finding an alternative flight.

More information on travel,  during the holidays or any other time of the year, can be found at bbb.org.

Dave came to WUWF in September, 2002, after 14 years as News Director at the Alabama Radio Network in Montgomery, Mobile and Birmingham and a total of 27 years in commercial radio. He's also served as Alabama Bureau Chief for United Press International, and a stringer for the Birmingham Post-Herald.