Although summer vacations are undeniably exciting, providing a relaxing escape often deemed the pinnacle of life’s pleasures, the corresponding travel can occasionally transform into a challenging ordeal. Providing valuable insights to navigate through these potential hiccups are experienced flight attendants with a collective expertise of approximately 10 and 20 years each with major US airlines. This shared wisdom, comprising 17 survival tips, aims to guarantee a more seamless and enjoyable experience throughout your summer travels.

If you can, travel early in the day

According to Ivan Wainwright of RDW Kenteken, Choosing to travel early in the day proves effective in avoiding subsequent cancellations and delays. Typically, both airport and airline systems reset overnight, reducing the chances of facing repercussions from the previous day.

Selecting the first flight of the day enhances the likelihood of encountering fewer delays and experiencing milder weather conditions, as opposed to waiting until late afternoon.

This preference for early travel, echoed by others, is rooted in the practical advantage of smoother journeys with fewer complications and a decreased likelihood of issues arising compared to later flights. Early flights thus present themselves as a more convenient and hassle-free choice for travelers.

Book off-peak travel days

According to Dan Eastman of Ship Tracking, Consider scheduling your travels on off-peak days to elevate your overall journey experience. Traditional peak times, like Friday evenings and Monday mornings, tend to draw larger crowds and potential complications.

Choosing less conventional days, such as Tuesdays, can significantly diminish the chances of navigating through the congestion of fellow travelers and the associated challenges, especially during the busy 5 p.m. Friday exodus from workplaces.

Leave buffer time in case of events

Allow for extra time in case of unforeseen events by incorporating a day buffer between your flight’s arrival and significant events. This precautionary measure ensures that any potential delays in your travel plans won’t disrupt important occasions, such as weddings or cruise departures.

The advice from seasoned travelers emphasizes the importance of avoiding tight schedules, as rushing can lead to unnecessary stress during your journey. Creating a buffer by arriving a day early, when possible, eliminates unpredictability and provides the flexibility to accommodate delays without causing undue anxiety.

Read the fine print of your airline booking

According to Sean Philips of FlightRadar Online, Ensure to thoroughly read the fine print of your airline booking, as policies vary between different carriers. Familiarizing yourself with your chosen airline’s specific policies is essential to grasp what they can or cannot provide in case of unforeseen circumstances. This becomes particularly vital when booking through a third-party agent, where you might be traveling with multiple airlines without realizing it.

Understanding the varying amenities offered by different airlines will also help you prepare for what to expect during your journey. As highlighted, always be prepared, carefully read the details, and have a clear understanding of your flight to ensure a smoother travel experience.

Download all the apps: airline, airport and flight tracker

Make sure to download essential apps for your journey, including those from the airline, departure and destination airports, and a flight tracker. While airline apps can provide valuable information throughout your trip, you can always delete them if storage space is a concern.

Emphasizing the importance of having the airline app, it proves useful for updates on boarding, flight status, seat changes, gate information, boarding passes, and potential upgrades.

Additionally, consider downloading apps for both departure and destination airports, along with a flight tracker like FlightAware. These apps often provide updates before official announcements, offering valuable insights such as delays and the current location of your plane. Staying informed through these apps helps alleviate stress, providing a more connected and educated travel experience.

Arrive at the gate early

According to Andrew Adams of Vluchten Volgen, Ensure to arrive at the gate well ahead of your flight’s departure time. Despite its apparent simplicity, instances have been observed where travelers, often with takeout coffee in hand, arrive at the gate only to realize, with disbelief, that they’ve missed their flight despite spending hours at the airport.

Boarding typically begins 30 minutes before departure, aiming to close the doors 10 to 15 minutes before takeoff. Once the doors are closed, there’s no turning back. Stay vigilant about the flight time and boarding announcements from the moment you arrive at the airport. Utilize your airline and airport apps for updates, and consider waiting near the gate to avoid last-minute dashes across the airport. However, be mindful of any potential last-minute gate changes.

Avoid the customer service line in case of cancellations or delays

In the event of cancellations or delays, it’s advisable to avoid the customer service line, where frustrated passengers often queue. Instead, use your phone to explore options online or call the airline helplines for assistance. Choose communication with gate agents over the customer service team, as they often possess valuable information and can assist in resolving various situations.

Waiting at your gate during delays provides an opportunity to directly engage with gate agents, who have the authority and knowledge to help you find alternative flights or solutions to any issues you may encounter.

Pack snacks

Ensuring a well-prepared journey involves packing snacks to ward off disappointment and hunger, particularly in the event of flight delays or limited onboard food availability. It’s wise not to solely depend on the airline for meals; instead, consider bringing along granola bars or other easily packable foods.

Choosing to grab food at the airport serves as a practical alternative.  Emphasizing the significance of contemplating these options is crucial, as airlines may not consistently fulfill food needs.

Being ready for unforeseen circumstances, such as potential food shortages, significantly contributes to a more enjoyable travel experience. Further enriching the advice, consider the inclusion of reusable water bottles in your carry-on, enhancing convenience and preparedness for a variety of situations during your journey.

Dress for the journey, not the destination

When it comes to choosing your attire for air travel, it’s essential to consider not just the destination but also the in-flight environment, as wisely pointed out. Beyond prioritizing comfort, it’s crucial to dress with the possibility of unexpected events in mind. In the unfortunate event of a flight cancellation or significant delay that extends overnight, being prepared to disembark and reboard becomes a practical consideration. Therefore, adopting an approach that blends comfort with readiness for potential contingencies ensures that you’re well-suited for any twists and turns that may arise during your journey.


Navigating the intricacies of summer travel becomes a more manageable task with the seasoned advice from experienced flight attendants. From prioritizing early-morning flights to strategically choosing off-peak travel days, the insights shared offer valuable strategies for enhancing one’s journey.

The importance of reading the fine print, utilizing essential travel apps, and packing snacks underscores the need for foresight and preparedness. Additionally, steering clear of customer service lines during disruptions and dressing for the journey’s potential eventualities contribute to a smoother travel experience. By incorporating these tips into your travel arsenal, you can not only mitigate potential challenges but also embark on your summer adventures with a heightened sense of confidence and ease.