Key Podcast Highlights
Need travel tips? Check out six ways you can have a smoother trip next time you fly:
- Get TSA precheck. You can apply at your airport. It does require a face-to-face visit. However, once you have it, renewing it is easy. Going through the TSA checkpoint is also much faster than the regular security checkpoint. You don’t have to pull things out of your bags or take your shoes off.
- Use Flight Aware. This allows you to check the status of your flight. It tells you where your plane is and when it’s supposed to depart. This is really helpful if there’s weather going on.
- Download your airline’s app. The app gives you alerts and updates about the status of your flight. It also gives you an e-ticket.
- Be loyal to an airline. Loyalty helps you when you travel. As you accumulate mileage with them, you’ll gain in status. Having status can help you board and leave the plane faster. If anything happens, airlines also take care of those with status first.
- Never use an airport’s Wi-Fi. Instead of public Wi-Fi, use a mobile hotspot because it’s the most secure way for you to access the internet.
- Take a taxi out of the airport and an Uber or Lyft to the airport. At most airports, taxis are always ready and waiting. You can jump in a cab and go. On top of this, rideshare costs are becoming comparable and are no longer cheaper in many instances.
The views and opinions expressed on this podcast are for informational purposes only, and solely those of the podcast participants, contributors, and guests, and do not constitute an endorsement by or necessarily represent the views of The Hartford or its affiliates.
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Hey everybody, it’s Gene Marks, and welcome to another episode of the Hartford Small Biz Ahead podcast. Thank you so much for joining me. This week, I want to talk to you about flying, particularly if you’re a business traveler. I was writing about this week, recently, that was more Philadelphia focused. But I wanted to just share with you, some thoughts. I mean, I’m a very frequent traveler. I go and travel around the country anywhere from 50 to 60 times a year. I also have family in the UK, so I travel sometimes internationally. This week I just wanna focus on flights and airlines. I have six tips, six things that I’ve learned over the years that I think will help you fly a lot better, if you’re a business traveler. So let’s get to them.
Number one is get TSA pre-check. I don’t understand why people don’t go through the process of doing that, particularly if you’re a business traveler. Go ahead and apply. You can usually apply at your airport. It does require a face-to-face visit, so it’s a little bit of time up front. But once you have it renewing, it’s really easy every few years. It makes things so much easier. Going through the TSA checkpoints are much, much faster than the regular security checkpoints. You also don’t have to pull things out of your bags. You can leave your shoes and your belts on as well. It makes the process that much easier. There are some airports that have dedicated, security checkpoints just for TSA travelers, and those checkpoints always have the least amount of people going through them. So TSA pre-check, it’s just essential for any business traveler to make their way through the airport as fast as possible.
So that’s tip number one. Tip number two, check the status of your flight. The best resource is a website called Flight Aware. Flight Aware is a website that, you can Google this. You put in your flight number, your airline. It will tell you, very accurately, where your plane is, when it’s expected to depart, if it’s late or not, where the incoming plane is as well. It’s an excellent resource. So whenever I’m traveling and I always want to check on the status of a flight, particularly if there’s weather or other things that are going on, I go to Flight Aware first and foremost. It gives me just the most up-to-date information and better, I think than you’re getting either at the airports or the airlines themselves. I’m not quite sure where Flight Aware gets its information. I think it’s a combination of places including the FAA and the airlines and the airports. But they bring it all together into one good spot, and it’s, it’s very, very good information about your flight. Number three, regardless of the airline that you’re flying on, download the airline app, even if it’s just a one-off thing. Have the app on your phone. Why? Well, first of all, it, it gives you alerts and updates about the status of your flight. It also gives you…
The ability to obviously have an easy e-ticket so that you can, electronically show your ticket when you’re going through security and going to the gate as well. And also it provides most airline apps provide other information about the airport itself, where the lounges are and any updated flight information that you need to know. So I always, even if I’m just flying on a random airline once in a while, I still download their app. ’cause it always keeps me more up to date than if I just don’t have the app at all. Which brings me to tip number four, be loyal to an airline. Now I know sometimes this is tough because we’re all looking for the cheapest fares or the most convenient times to fly and all of that. I get all of that. But I do have to tell you something, if you can be a little bit more flexible, and even if you spend just a few more bucks on a flight than you would normally spend with a cheaper airline, loyalty really does help when you travel.
So, I’m loyal to one airline because they’re big outta Philadelphia. Obviously I have their app and as I travel more and more on them and I accumulate miles with them and spend with them, I gain in status. And the status gain is really, really important. It’s not just the chance of getting an upgrade, which is all great, but it also helps you board the planes faster and leave the planes faster. And when you’re traveling for business, it’s all about time, right? The other thing that’s really critical is that if you do have status with an airline, if anything happens, delays or cancellations or whatever, the airlines take care of their preferred customers first before they get to everybody else. I can’t tell you the number of times where I’ve had a flight canceled on me and before I even picked up the phone to call customer service, I’m getting text messages from the airline saying, we’ve, we’ve already rebooked you on another flight, and here it is.
So, having status with an airline being loyal to an airline, it really, really does help. Alright, so just to recap so far, get TSA precheck. Use Flight aware download your airline app, and be loyal to an airline where it’s possible to be loyal. Okay, two more, two more, tips for you. Number one or this is tip number five. Never ever, ever, ever, ever, ever use the local airport Wi-Fi. In fact, never use any public Wi-Fis if you can really avoid doing it. Use your mobile hotspot and hopefully you do have some kind of a data plan with your cellular phone provider. Your mobile hotspot is the most secure way for you to access the internet. I don’t care what these people say, but these public Wi-Fis are not secure. If you have to use a public Wi-Fi, then make sure you’re using it through a VPN or a virtual private network application. Provide it for your business, or you can, there’s plenty of VPNs out there that you can get either for free or even a very, very inexpensively. A VPN encrypts your data. So if you’re using a public Wi-Fi, a public router and you’re logging on somewhere, or you’re having data going back and forth, it’s all encrypted. So hackers can’t see it as easily, but it’s still…
Public Wi-Fis are still not great, so try to avoid them. My last tip has to do with taxis. My rule of thumb is regardless of the airport that I go to, and maybe we can debate this, but I always take the taxis out of an airport and then I take an Uber or a Lyft to the airport. Why? Because I have found that most airports, taxis are always ready and waiting. So I get off the plane, I go through baggage, I go to ground transportation, and there’s taxis that are sitting there. I can jump in a cab and go, whereas I see other people standing, hanging around for ages until their ride share gets there. And the ride share costs and the taxi costs I’ve been finding have become pretty comparable. It used to be a time where Uber and Lyft were a lot less expensive than taking a taxi, but I’m telling you, those services have increased their prices over the past few years, and I don’t see the difference being so significant.
So just a faster way to get out of the airport and get to your destination, just jump in a cab and go. Now, when it comes time to come to the airport, I tend to schedule an Uber or a Lyft. Sometimes they even spend a little bit extra in schedule, in advance. So it’s like your own little personal limousine service waiting for you when you’re ready to go, gives you a little bit of peace of mind when you’re trying to make a flight. So here are my six tips. Again, get TSA precheck. Use Flight Aware. Download your airline app all the time. Be loyal to an airline, if you can. Never use an airport Wi-Fi. And if you do, make sure you’re doing it over a VPN or virtual private network. And finally, rule of thumb, take a taxi out of the airport. Take an Uber or a Lyft to the airport.
Those are my six tips for using airlines. Hopefully sometime this year I’ll come back to you and give you some tips on traveling through hotels and restaurants, ’cause I’ve got some tips there as well. But hopefully this will help you fly better, particularly if you’re flying for business. My name is Gene Marks, and you have been listening to the Hartford Small Biz Ahead podcast. If you need any help or advice or tips in running your business, please visit us at SmallBizAhead.com or SBA.TheHartford.com. Hopefully you enjoyed this session and hope you enjoyed, you got some good information from this. I’ll be back to you next week with some more tips or help or advice to help you run your business. We will see you then. Take care.
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