He covers about 400,000 miles a year as the travel editor for the Today Show, so Peter Greenberg knows a few tricks of the trade when it comes to air travel. Gayle talks with Peter about long security lines and airline cancellations, and Peter offers tips to help make your time at the airport a bit more bearable.
Peter says that many airlines run on bad business plans and, as a result, they can't keep up with the schedules they offer customers. While most people just expect to be late these days, Peter says one way you can determine if you will be a few hours versus a day late is by calling the airline ahead of time. By asking a representative for your flight's FliFo, or flight information, they'll be able to pinpoint exactly where your aircraft is located.
If you travel often from the same airport, Peter says a surefire way to improve your chances of getting on a certain flight or being bumped to first class is simple—get to know airline employees. "While you are there, talk to the gate agents," he says. "I don't care what you talk about, but get to learn from them, get to know them and do the one thing my mother always made me do—write your thank you letters."
By making a personal connection with airline employees, Peter says they will take care of you when you come back to the airport. "These people have a thankless [job]," he says. "I've actually spent eight hours one day—I've done it three times now—working behind the counter to see what they go through. They get beaten up like you would not believe."
If you really want to spend less time in the airport, Peter says you should travel without luggage—that means "overnighting" your items to your destination the day before your flight. "It does cost money, but now I save two and a half hours of my life every time I travel, and you know what? That is worth it to me," he says.
Published on August 10, 2007