Top 20 Worst Mistakes To Make in an Airport

By Yuki Hayashi for readersdigest.ca

Mistake #1: Leaving your bag(s) behind: “My husband and I were taking a family vacation to Orlando with our three sons, and one of us left one of our bags on the ground, right by the door of our minivan, in the airport parking lot in Buffalo. We left it behind as we rushed to catch the airport shuttle bus, and didn’t realize the bag was missing until we were checking our baggage,” says Sonja Babic, of Toronto.

Fortunately, this didn’t ruin their vacation – but it could have been worse, had medication or valuables had been in the bag.

Upshot: Note how many bags your party has and conduct regular bag counts before you leave the parking lot, check-in counter, airport Tim Horton’s, baggage claim, etc.

Mistake #2: Being stuck barefoot: Wear socks with your shoes, or pack ankle socks in your carry-on and slip into them in the security line, so you don’t have to hobble across dirty floors barefoot.

Mistake #3: Not packing snacks: Always pack snacks in your carry-on. If you’re stuck in a long security line and run out of time to buy food in the departure lounge, or if your plane doesn’t sell anything you actually want to eat, you’re covered.

Mistake #4: Not scouting the arrival airport: If you’ve got a connecting flight, plan your route to the second gate, before you get off your first flight. If your stopover is under an hour, it could make the difference between making or missing your next flight. Refer to a map of the arrival airport on your mobile device, or rip out the map page of the in-flight magazine.

Mistake #5: Arriving late: True story: a few years ago, my family drove nine hours from Toronto to Newark, NJ – after wasting three hours in a futile attempt to fly standby – because we missed the first leg of a three-plane journey to the volcano island of Montserrat, West Indies. We desperately needed not to miss the second leg of this trip, a twice-weekly fight from Newark to Antigua. If we missed that flight the following morning, it would effectively cancel a bucket-list trip we’d spent over one year orchestrating and pre-paying for.

We made it to our destination – a day late – and with $700 in additional fees, all because we got to the airport with under an hour to spare on a CDA-US flight during peak-travel March Break.

Lesson learned: on busy travel days, arrive at the airport 3 ½ hours before an international flight, 3 hours before a US flight, and 2 hours before a domestic flight. Paranoid? Maybe. Better that than the alternative!

Mistake #6: Parking in the most-expensive lot: You’ll pay a premium to park in the lot closest to the airport terminal. Discount lots save you big-time, but they require a short shuttle drive. Savvy park-and-flyers arrive early so they can be choosy about parking.

Mistake #7: Over-packing: Overweight baggage results in steep penalties. Cumbersome carry-on bags make travelling uncomfortable, particularly if you have young children with you. Solution: edit, edit, edit! Pack less and you’ll stress less.

Mistake #8: Waiting in the loooooooong security lineups: If you travel to the US more than once a year, apply for the joint US-Canada NEXUS program. Cardholders sail through dedicated border clearance lines, making the $50 program fee (free for kids) a bargain in time and aggravation saved.

Mistake #9: Bearing an about-to-expire passport: Some countries won’t let you in if your passport expires within three or even six months of your planned date of entry. Check the entry requirements for the country you plan to visit, and renew your passport in advance, so you don’t get turned back at the airport.

Mistake #10: Not bringing a “permission slip” for your daughter or son: Travel consent letters aren’t just for divorced parents, as Toronto mom Ceri Marsh discovered a couple years back when she tried to fly from Toronto to New York City with her then 2-1/2-year-old.

“We were meeting my husband in New York. I had been told by the Canadian passport office and the airline that I didn’t require a notarized letter from my husband to fly with her on my own. They both said since we’re not divorced, it wasn’t necessary. Of course, in retrospect that’s ridiculous: you can’t tell someone’s marital status from a passport or airline ticket,” says Marsh.

Upshot: Marsh and her daughter were detained by US Customs agents, missed their flight, and had to wait hours for the next available flight. Airline and customs agents are trained to spot possible child abductions, so if there’s a second custodial parent, always carry a notarized permission letter on cross-border, solo-parent trips. “This was about the least pleasant travel experience of my life. Throwing a 2 year old off her schedule is never a good idea,” says Marsh.

Mistake #11: Losing your cool with airport personnel: From callous gate agents to creep-tastic transportation security personnel, everyone has a complaint about airport personnel. But, the fact remains, there are more good apples than bad, so chill.

Also: venting is more likely to get you delayed or arrested than en route to your vacation.

Mistake #12: Not gate-checking your bags: Why pay to check your bags, when you can gate-check them for free? (Provided they are carry-on size, of course).

Mistake #13: Slowing down the security line: Do your bit to keep the security checkpoint moving. Wear easy-on, easy-off shoes. Take your jacket off in line so it’s ready for the bin. Empty your pockets and get that laptop out of your briefcase. Done and done.

Mistake #14: Crowding the baggage claim carousel: Unless you have catlike reflexes and are in great shape, don’t join the scrum right where the bags first drop onto the carousel. Ditto if you have a common-looking bag: a black nylon soft case, for instance:

“Ooops. That wasn’t mine. Can I just squeeze past you to put it back…Oh, sorry for hitting you with that. Hey: is that my bag—excuse me, I need to squeeze past again…”

If you need to use both hands and some swinging action to get the bag off the carousel, pick a spot where you’re less likely to have a neighbour within hitting distance.

Mistake #15: Not IDing your bag properly: For your personal security, check bags with a discrete tag marked with your name, cell phone, and email address – or your business card – never your home address.

Mistake #16: Not IDing your bag flamboyantly: To quickly identify your bag on a luggage carousel and prevent baggage theft, tie a ribbon, use a decorative luggage strap, or decorate the bag with stickers or colourful duct tape.

Mistake #17: Packing valuables into your checked baggage: Just one word: don’t.

Mistake #18: Sketchy airport transportation: Planning ahead saves you money and headaches when it comes to transportation from your destination airport to your accommodations, so don’t even get on your flight without having done your advance recogiscence. In big cities, grab a marked taxi from the official lineup (don’t try to save money on a “gypsy cab”), but if you’re headed to a resort destination in an unfamiliar country, pre-book transportation with your resort.

Mistake #19: Not knowing when to cut your losses: Sometimes you’ll slip up and pack a liquid that’s over 100mL, or forget your Swiss Army keychain is, technically speaking, a knife. Upon being faced with confiscation, you may want to rush back and check the item within a bag. But if it’s a particularly busy travel day, doing so may cause you to lose your flight. Smart travellers know when to cut their losses.

Mistake #20: Not spending when necessary: Yes, the noise-cancelling headphones at the gift shop cost nearly double what they did at Best Buy. But… if you forgot to pack yours, consider that you’ll be spending the next six hours packed like a sardine next to potentially snoring/humming/crying/muttering/mouth-breathing strangers… Sometimes, paying that airport-retail premium may just salvage one airport mistake, preventing it from morphing into something worse: a plane ride from hell

 

 

 

 

 

 

Helpful Tips for the Peak Holiday Travel Season #TravelTips

 Air Canada is expecting higher volumes of customers onboard during this year’s peak holiday travel ending January 15, 2018.  Air Canada recommends six important travel tips to help all customers travel across our network of over 200 cities across six continents.

1. Save time. Check-in online at aircanada.com, mobile.aircanada.ca or via the Air Canada app (be sure to download the app for iOS or Android).

  • Check-in, select/change your seat, select the number of checked baggage and pay any baggage fees in advance, within 24 hours of departure.
  • Be sure to share your contact information (email or mobile number) when checking-in (mobile‎/kiosk/web) so that we can easily contact you in case of travel disruptions such as weather or other conditions.

2. Is your flight on time? Confirm online 24/7 at aircanada.com/flightnotification.

  • Stay informed of flight status for all Air Canada, Air Canada Rouge and Air Canada Express flights by signing up for Flight Notifications or calling the toll free Air Canada flight status line at 1-888-422-7533; TTY (Hearing Impaired): 1-800-361-8071.
  • See our Daily Travel Outlook for possible disruptions due to forecasted weather or other conditions.
  • Use the Self-service rebooking tool in the event of flight disruptions.

3. Arrive early. Here’s when: aircanada.com/deadlines.

  • Arrive early at the airport to be at the gate on time and avoid congestion that may occur during peak periods.

4. Review baggage rules. Here’s what to carry-on and check-in.

  • Bring all valuables including electronics, documentation, medication, car keys, money, jewelry in carry-on bags and not in checked bags.
  • Bag Tags – Place identification INSIDE bags as well as on the outsideas external baggage name tags sometimes become detached.
  • Gifts – when travelling with gifts in your carry-on, remember to keep them unwrapped to facilitate security inspection.
  • Check size and weight allowances when packing at aircanada.com/carryon as carry-on baggage will be screened and tagged. Information on checked baggage allowance is available at:http://www.aircanada.com/checked.

5. Avoid unnecessary surprises before your vacation takes off. Double check your travel documents are valid at: aircanada.com/traveldocumentation.

Travel within Canada

  • All Domestic travel
    • Valid government-issued photo identification that includes date of birth and gender for all passengers 18 years of age and older.

Travel from Canada to an international destination

  • All international travel
    • Requires a valid passport
    • Visas may be needed to enter the country of destination and/or when connecting via certain countries. Check IATA Travel Centre search tool for country-specific passport, visa and health entry requirements.

Travel to Canada from an international destination

  • Canadian citizens
    • Canadian passport for travel to Canada.
    • Dual nationals may no longer use a non-Canadian passport to arrive in Canada.
  • Friends and family from outside Canada
    • Reminder to visiting friends and family from outside Canada that the Government of Canada has introduced a new entry requirement, known as an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) that must be obtained prior to travel. More information is here:  www.aircanada.com/eta.

Parents travelling with children

    • If passports are required, all children must have their own passport.  Remember that parents/legal guardians DO NOT sign their child’s Canadian passport, as doing so invalidates it.
    • Visit IATA Travel Centre and Travel and Tourism Canada or contact the embassy high commission or consulate of all countries you and your child will be visiting to confirm all entry and exit document requirements.

6. Air Canada’s global hubs make flying to the U.S seamless. Here’s why.

Traveling to the USA

    • Air Canada customers flying to the U.S (from or via Canada) will clear US Customs at Canadian airports before their flight.  Our operations at all four Canadian hubs, Toronto (YYZ), Montreal (YUL), Vancouver (YVR) and Calgary(YYC) are all under one roof with no terminal transfers, meaning connections are easy, comfortable, seamless, and smooth.

Traveling from the USA

    • For our customers travelling from the U.S. through our hubs and onwards to any international destination, the seamless connection process and quick passport check means passengers never have to wait in customs lines, pick up bags or transfer terminals. Simply walk to the next departure gate!

What else to know:

  • United States Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security checkpoint lines can be longer during busy periods. The TSA recommends arriving at the airport two hours before departure if your flight is in the early morning or evening, when wait times for screening can be up to one hour. Members of Known Traveler Programs, such as Nexus or Global Entry, may experience normal wait times. Learn more.
  • The United States requires that travellers provide additional Secure Flight information at least 72 hours before their flight or at time of booking. Please note that this requirement applies to many international flights which are deemed to over-fly the US. For more information, please consult aircanada.com/secureflight.
  • Eligible Air Canada customers enjoy the benefits of the U.S. Transportation Security Administration’s TSA Pre✓™ program which provides accelerated security screening at most U.S. departure airports by allowing customers to keep shoes, belts and light outerwear on, and laptops and liquids in carry-on baggage. Learn more about TSA Pre✓and how it applies to Air Canada flights.

Thank you for choosing to fly with Air Canada!

SOURCE Air Canada

Canada is one step closer to expanding preclearance operations with the U.S.

Expanding preclearance will enable faster travel between Canada and the United States, provide access to more American airports, bolster trade, better protect our rights and increase security.

Today, the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, highlighted the importance of Bill C-23: An Act respecting the preclearance of persons and goods in Canada and the United Statesreceiving Royal Assent. This important milestone brings Canada and the United States closer to implementing the Agreement on Land, Rail, Marine and Air Transport Preclearance between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States of America.

Once enabling regulations are in place, Canada and the United States can ratify the Agreement and start expanding preclearance operations to other modes of transportation – land, rail and marine – in addition to new locations in the air mode. The Agreement also opens the door to explore possibilities for cargo preclearance. The regulations for the air mode are expected to be in place by the end of 2018.

Quote
“The Government of Canada is committed to making the Canada–United States border more efficient and secure. Earlier this year, the Prime Minister and President announced their intention to accelerate the completion of preclearance to additional cities. Today we are one step closer to expanding preclearance – making travel faster for Canadians and bolstering trade, while also protecting our rights.”

– The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Quick Facts

  • Almost $2.5 billion in two-way trade passes between Canada and the United States every day, in addition to more than 400,000 travellers.
  • At their meeting in February 2017, recognizing the success of preclearance operations for travellers, the Prime Minister and President committed to accelerating the expansion of preclearance operations to additional cities and to establishing preclearance operations for cargo.
  • In the spirit of a more efficient and secure border, they also committed to examining ways to further integrate our border operations.
  • The mutual respect of both countries’ laws and sovereignty is a fundamental principle of the Agreement on Land, Rail, Marine and Air Transport Preclearance. All U.S. preclearance activities in Canada will have to be carried out in a manner consistent with Canadian law, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Canadian Bill of Rights, and the Canadian Human Rights Act.
  • The Agreement allows for reimbursement of cost recovery of new preclearance operations, which are anticipated to be covered by the facility operator.

SOURCE Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada

10 Instagram Travel Hacks You’ll Want To Know Before Your Next Trip

10 Instagram Travel Hacks You’ll Want To Know Before Your Next Trip

Noma Nazish

Beautiful sunsets. Colorful markets. Picturesque views. The joy and excitement of exploring a new place is inexplicable. However, getting there is a whole different story. From avoiding the dreaded middle seat on a flight and booking the right hotel to keeping clothes wrinkle-free and preparing toiletries. Traveling can be stressful, but it doesn’t always have to be. With the right tips and tricks, any travel situation can be made easy.

Here are ten Instagram-approved hacks that’ll help you travel like a boss:

  • Organizing cords: We are all too familiar with the annoying situation when charging cords and earphones mysteriously turn into a tangled mess every time you put them inside your bag. In order to keep them untangled as well as easily discoverable you can store them inside a spare glasses case or a travel size Q-tip container.
  • Packing jewelry: If you’re packing a lot of jewelry, you can organize it in an ice cube tray and cover the tray with a sheet of plastic wrap to secure the contents. You can also carry delicate jewelry or big statement pieces in your luggage by placing them inside plastic organizers or school binders.
  • Space-saving bags: Pack your clothes in zip lock bags to save space. It not only gives you more room to store other belongings but also protects your clothes from any accidental toiletry leakage.
  • DIY toothbrush holder: Use an empty Tic Tac box as a DIY toothbrush holder to protect your toothbrush bristles from collecting makeup dust or fuzz. You can also use those tiny boxes to store bobby pins.
  • Complimentary items: Always make sure to stock up free hotel soap and shampoo samples or trial-sized essential toiletries in case you run out of them. They’re small and lightweight which makes them super travel-friendly. You can also throw in a bar of scented soap inside a clean sock and put it with your dirty laundry to keep the luggage smelling fresh.
  • Snack hack: Use a crafts storage box to carry different snacks. Whether you want to store fresh fruit and protein bars or pretzels and donuts, the multipurpose box will do the trick.
  • Sock it up: Wrap any fragile souvenirs or breakable items in fluffy socks to protect them from damage.
  • Declutter luggage: There’s nothing more annoying than emptying your entire travel bag every time you want to find something. You can avoid this situation by using small resealable bags or drawstring bags to keep things organized.
  • Charging without the wall plug: Forgot your adapter or want to charge more than one device at the same time? No worries. You can use the USB port on the back of the hotel television to charge your USB gadgets.
  • Personalized in-flight entertainment: In case in-flight entertainment isn’t available, you can turn your own smartphone into a mini TV screen by placing the phone inside a snap-lock bag and hanging it using your tray table’s lock.

So the next time you take a trip or go for a vacay, use these clever Instagram hacks for a seamless travel experience.

Drinking while travelling? Your insurance may not cover that

Drinking while travelling? Your insurance may not cover that

CBC News Canada

A Kitchener, Ont. man who ended up in hospital while visiting family in the United States has learned the hard way that drinking alcohol can nullify your claim to insurance coverage.

Ernie Ceres flew down to New York on Sept. 18 for a family funeral and spent the first evening visiting with his brother, whom he hadn’t seen in several years.

According to his girlfriend Lucy Reis, who stayed behind in Cambridge, Ont., Ceres was drinking with his brother before he left to spend the night at his son’s house.

“Ernie told his son to go ahead, because he’s a little bit slow,” Reis said. “The next thing he knew is his dad had fallen down at least ten to 12 stairs.”

Ceres was unconscious and was rushed to Kings County Hospital, where doctors discovered bleeding in his brain.

Ceres has been in hospital since Sept. 19, and his girlfriend said that the last she checked his hospital bill was $100,000. (Lucy Reis)

His son called Reis with the news and she immediately booked a flight down to New York. Then she called the Canadian Automobile Association – Ceres’s insurance provider – to file a claim.

Ceres was a frequent traveller and Reis said that for the past four or five years he had been buying CAA’s multi-trip annual plan travel insurance.

Alcohol exclusion clause

A few days after calling them, she says she was told that the claim had been denied, because Ceres had too much alcohol in his blood at the time of the fall.

According to CAA’s travel insurance policy, the provider does not have to pay medical expenses in the case of “alcohol related sickness, death or injury or the abuse of medication, drugs, alcohol or any other toxic substance.”

Also, according to the policy, “alcohol abuse includes having a blood alcohol level in excess of 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.”

Exclusion not stated up front

It is unclear what Ceres’s blood alcohol level was when he was admitted to hospital; however, if it was over 0.08 per cent, it would give CAA cause to deny his claim.

‘You’ve got to know what you’re buying.’– Marvin Ryder, professor of marketing and entrepreneurship

But Reis said that CAA did not tell Ceres that drinking could nullify his claim to insurance coverage, and for that reason the company should pay for the health care he is receiving in the United States.

“He’s purchased a product and not been informed,” she said. “I understand that some of it was his responsibility to read the fine print, but let’s be serious, people buy insurance all the time and you just expect the person you’re buying it from is selling you a product that they’re going to stand by.”

Consumer responsible to know

When asked whether CAA was obligated to tell Ceres that drinking could affect his insurance eligibility, industry experts all agreed that the company was not liable.

According to the Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada, it is the traveller’s responsibility to know what their policy does and does not cover.

“You need to understand your policy and you need to take time to read that policy document,” said association president Will McAleer. “In this case, I certainly would have thought there would have been the opportunity and responsibility to take a look and see whether or not there is an exclusion related to excess alcohol consumption.”

Insurance industry experts say travellers need to be aware of what their policies do and do not cover, and that means reading the fine print.

You must read fine print

The policy document for CAA’s travel health insurance is more than 50 pages long and is available online. The exclusion related to alcohol is on page 14.

“Is it realistic to read all of this? Maybe it’s not,” said Marvin Ryder, a professor of marketing and entrepreneurship with the Degroote School of Business in Hamilton, Ont. “On the other hand, you’ve got to know what you’re buying. You can’t assume that what you’ve bought or what you think you bought is what you actually did buy.”

‘No one says in these things that you can’t have a drink. The problem is the magic word ‘drunk’, ‘intoxication.”– Marvin Ryder

And he said that reading through insurance policies is actually a lot easier than it was 30 or 40 years ago, when they were written by lawyers.

“Unless you had a law degree you wouldn’t understand it,” he said. “Today, though – 2017 – all these insurance companies have hired communication specialists to take the legalese, if you will, and try to translate it into more basic English so that people would understand.”

‘Drunk’ is the problem

As a result, he said consumers are expected to read, understand and know what to expect from their insurance provider.

If your provider is CAA, that means your blood alcohol content can’t be higher than 0.08 per cent, which is used as the criminal impairment level for drivers in Canada, although Ontario considers a level of 0.05 per cent as reason to take a driver off the road. Ryder said the limit may be different for other providers. And currently the federal government is consulting with Queen’s Park to lower the impaired driving legal limit to 0.05 per cent.

Marvin Ryder says having a drink while on holiday shouldn’t be a problem, but getting drunk could nullify your claim to insurance. (YouTube)

“No one says in these things that you can’t have a drink. The problem is the magic word ‘drunk,’ intoxication,” he said. “If you’re planning to get intoxicated – then you need to know that those actions could nullify your insurance.”

And Ryder said that having alcohol in your blood could nullify your insurance claim even if your injury or sickness was not related to drinking.

‘There’s all those maybe, could-have, should-haves. So, that’s why they’ve drawn this line this way. If your alcohol level is too high in your blood stream, your insurance is cancelled.’– Marvin Ryder

“In other words, if you have a heart attack while intoxicated, but the intoxication didn’t cause the heart attack – nonetheless your insurance is null and void,” he said.

The reason is that in medicine, it’s hard to know what is a contributing factor. A person might trip, fall and end up in the hospital, but would the person have tripped if they had a lower blood alcohol level? Ryder said that’s a difficult question to answer.

“There’s all those maybe, could-have, should-haves. So, that’s why they’ve drawn this line this way. If your alcohol level is too high in your blood stream, your insurance is cancelled.”

CAA says claim is open, not denied

In theory, high alcohol in Ceres blood could give CAA cause to deny his insurance claim, but a spokesperson from the company told CBC News that the claim would be considered if alcohol was not the cause of the fall.

In fact, Director of Corporate Communications Tony Tsai said Ceres’s claim had not been denied, but that it was still open.

“It really depends on what was the cause of the injury or what was the suspected cause of the injury,” he said. “We’re still waiting to get all that data back from them.”

Although Ceres did have alcohol in his blood when he fell, Reis said doctors are suggesting that the fall was caused by pre-existing bleeding in his brain. If that was the case, it may be the information CAA needs to approve the claim.

In the meantime, Ceres remains in a New York hospital, where his expenses continue to accumulate. Reis said that the last she checked, the hospital bill had reached almost $100,000.

There are cases where buying travel insurance might leave you bereft of coverage. Here are a few examples.

Read more
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