Airplanes: Tales from a Frequent Traveler
Transportation to and from home can be a hassle if you aren't within driving distance. When to book airfare, what happens when you've missed your connection and other points are all summed up for you here.
Traveling to and from home can be a real thorn in your side. If you don’t live within driving distance, which I would put the cap at an eight hour’s drive, your transportation options are unfortunately limited.
Being in Milwaukee is fantastic because I am in a much larger setting and career opportunities are plentiful. However, when I need to make the trip home for Thanksgiving and Christmas it isn’t exactly a hop, skip and a jump away.
Air travel is convenient and (usually) efficient, but pricey, especially if you book a weekend getaway when airfare is at its apex. I think I would prefer a five-hour day traveling by plane than a ridiculous 17-hour drive any day. I really, really hope you have made your travel arrangements for Thanksgiving because if not a plane ticket will cost an arm and a leg (maybe two!). A non-holiday roundtrip ticket normally costs roughly $250 from Milwaukee to Providence. Roundtrip tickets during Thanksgiving break were well over $400 in July and have now soared over $500 in the past few weeks. Get this done sooner rather than later, or else you and your credit card will be sorry.
But what if you are planning a visit home during a lull in air travel traffic, how far ahead should you buy your ticket? Four to six weeks ahead of time is plenty, but to get the best rates available try to book your seat on either a Tuesday or a Wednesday when tickets are statistically the cheapest. People make their purchases on the weekends when they don’t have to go to work and are planning their next ambitious vacation, so stay ahead of the pack in this case.
If possible, book a nonstop flight. Trust me, it is the best innovation ever in the aviation field. I do not have the luxury of having nonstop flights from Milwaukee to Providence from any airline. I was worried last semester during the winter time that any weather delays could ruin the itinerary. Although I crossed my fingers as long as I could, sure enough a huge problem arose.
I made a weekend visit home in February. On my return to campus I had a an evening flight to Cleveland, from there I would switch planes about 45 minutes later to Milwaukee. A mechanical issue combined with a weather alert delayed my flight almost two hours. Thinking the connecting flight in Cleveland just might wait for me to board, it did not. I missed the flight by about 15 minutes and had no choice but to stay in a hotel near the Cleveland airport and miss my first class the next morning. To spare the airline of humiliation I will not write its name but the whole matter was not conducted in a professional fashion.
That’s a lesson for each of you on a connecting flight -- hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Transportation can be a burden and cause your blood pressure to spike, but in the end you are going home to see your family. And no matter how long it takes for you to get there the point is you will get there. There just may be a pit stop at a strange hotel along the way, that’s all.
And if you’re far from home and aren’t too keen on the idea of flying, well, get used it.