Things Might Just Get a Little Crazy.
Be Prepared with These
Every Year Thanksgiving is normally the busiest and the wildest travel season, so this year a little pre-planing might avoid a Turkey Day disaster. Crown's been doing this for awhile (26 years) and along the way we have figured out a thing or two, so here's our tips for getting your student home in plenty of time for desert.
#1 Book Early (which means Book Now!)
The sooner you get your student's flight settled, the better off you will be. This also can give you more time to change it, if it gets canceled. Yikes!
#2 Book a Direct Flight (if possible)
Direct flights in and out of Birmingham Airport can sometimes be harder to find than Bama vs. LSU tickets, but totally worth the time and the added expense, if you can manage it.
#3 Make Flight Connection Times Doable
If you can't get a direct flight, make the connection time "flyer friendly". Nobody likes long layovers (especially at O'Hare), but a missed connection is far worse. Give your student the time they need to make their connecting flight. Assume their first flight will be delayed at least 30-45 minutes and base the connecting flight on that time frame. Running through the airport or sleeping in the airport are both undesirable outcomes. If they get bored during their long layover, they can always call home.
#4 Check Your Flight Info Often
Log in to your airline's website at least once a week (or more) before travel and make sure the flight hasn't been canceled or changed times or changed flight numbers or some other undesirable alteration. Lately, all airlines have been awful about communicating changes to passengers in a timely manner. Phone apps like Flightaware and FlightTracker can also be helpful, but logging on to your airline's website will give you the best info. Make sure you check the status again the night before and the day of travel.
#5 Pick Flights Earlier in the Day
Fact: The earlier a flight takes off the less likely it is to be delayed or canceled. Also, an early departure time gives you options, if things go awry, and also the best chance of getting on another flight in the same day.
#6 Bring a Backup Phone Battery (and pack it in your carry-on)
If things go bad, your student is going to need a fully charged phone, to re-book their flight, to book a hotel room, to call someone to yell at , or maybe even just to call mom and cry. For about $20 you can be safe in the knowledge that your student will have a charged phone so they can Tweet about how unfair air travel is these days and post it with a sad selfie and a frowny-face emoji.
Bonus Pro-Travel Tip: Put the airline's customer service hotline in your student's contact list and text them their flight itinerary (because they don't know how email works). This means if their flight is canceled they can call the airline while they are in line waiting to talk to an agent. Double Customer Support! Creating a shortcut on their phone to the airline's customer support page is also a good idea. Ask your student how to set this up.
#7 Think About Your Plan B
Even if it doesn't happen, it's good to discuss and think through some alternative scenarios. Do you have friends or relatives in their layover city? If you had to, could you or someone else drive to go get them? How many other flights are there, later in the day, that are going to your destination? Other than the ideal airport, what is the next closest airport that your airline services? Like the scouts say, be prepared.
#8 Always Book Your Student's Airport Ride with Crown Transportation
We may be slightly biased on this suggestion, but if your student's flight is delayed, Crown will be there. If your student's flight is canceled and they have to fly in the next day, Crown will be there too. Even if your student's flight is canceled three times ( which happened to a student last year), Crown will still be there to pick them up. If you have worries and questions (like most parents), Crown is always just a phone call away (205-758-3875). You got worries, we've got answers.
Good luck, safe travels,
and God speed.