Category:Travel

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Flights

Costs - the big picture

We spend loads of time researching our options on how to emigrate, but don't even think twice about looking at travel security and/or costs.

Buying a cheap flight ticket with a budget airline will quite often cost more in the long run if you add everything up.

  • They fly to and from remote airports and you have to get to and from those airports.
  • They allow less luggage and sting you on the excess.
  • You buy food in flight.
  • Somtimes you might have to stay in a hotel before your flight as it is leaving so early you can't get there by train/bus to catch the flight.

It's worth looking at the over all costs, luggage allowances and calculating the cost for excess luggage to see which works best for you.

Book your flight

  • Expedia is a good place to start with.
  • Travel Supermarket is heavily advertised on TV. However, most deals on there are more expensive than via Expedia.
  • [Kayak] is a good site on which to search for the cheapest option with the mainstream airlines.
  • [Which Budget] is a useful site on which to find out the routes of budget airlines (Zoom, AirTransat and Globespan).
  • Itasoftware is not a flight booking site, but it is probably the best search engine to find cheapest option with the regular carriers such as Air Canada, BMI, BA, United and so on.

You can search :

  • specific date
  • span of 30 days (you set start date)
  • one way flights
  • multi segments

When you've picked the flight you want, print out the information and take that to your local travel agent. They can then book the flight for you using the flight codes.

Find the best seat

Seatguru lists just about every airline there is with a seat map and information on which seat is the best and which you should stay away from.

Please note that Seatguru do not list budget airlines.

At time of writing this Wiki, the all new shiny with bells and whistles Boeing 777 on Air Canada is not listed. However, if that is what you want, it looks as if it departs from Heathrow for Toronto at 1 pm every day. It's getting great reviews.

Get more from your flight

You will probably do more than one trip to Canada before you do your official landing. It could be worth looking at joining a particular airline's frequent flyer club. As you are going to be based in Canada, using Air Canada's Aeroplan is the most logical option. With each flight you take, you gain frequent flyer miles.

If you bank with CIBC and manage to get an Aerogold credit card, you will get miles on the dollars you spend every day using that card. You could even get 15,000 miles just for applying and successfully becoming approved an Aerogold visa card with CIBC. Those 15,000 miles can be used towards flights or shopping for your new home.

But, whatever club you join, make sure you put all your travel towards that alliance. Soon you could be looking at (almost) free trips or even a free upgrade to business class when you finally go for your landing. That business class upgrade will also give you up to twice as much luggage allowance.

The optimum place to find out which frequent flyer program suits you best is Flyer Talk WARNING!! Flyertalk is probably the most addictive site there is. Once you've figured out how to play the numbers game, you will also be addicted to flying and will find yourself racing around the globe on milage runs or segment runs just to reach that next benefit level with lounge access, extra luggage allowance, priority boarding, etc.

Luggage

Due to the society that we live in today, it is always advisable to check with your local airport about any current restrictions imposed for departure.

Hand luggage

After the bomb alert August 2006, it has been all over the news that security got stricter and it is staying strict.

However, airlines will in many cases have a lower size restriction than the regulated maximum size allowance for carry on luggage. Plus they will have a weight restriction as well. Some airlines as low as 6 kilos. There is no exception, as in handbags, laptop bags, camera bags. One carry on. That's it. Having said that, a musical instruments, such as one guitar, is allowed as hand luggage, in addition to the regulated single bag.

From www.baa.com

STOP PRESS:

The Government announced on 14 November that passengers will be able to carry more than one bag through security as soon as airports confirm they are ready. BAA will work with government officials to remove the restrictions at its UK airports, as soon as possible after 7 January 2008.Until such changes are implemented, you are still only allowed to carry one item of baggage through security.

Please note some airlines will continue to impose a 'one carry-on bag' rule so you should check with your airline before travelling.In the meantime heightened security measures remain in force at all UK airports. We're doing everything we can to minimise delays caused by these measures, which are designed for your protection. We appreciate your patience and understanding and in the meantime we advise you to arrive early and allow plenty of time for security screening.Here are the security restrictions which apply for your flight.

Don't forget to check whether separate rules apply for any country where you stop en route or catch a connecting flight. Please be aware that heightened security measures are in force at all UK airports. We advise you to arrive early and allow plenty of time for security screening.We're doing everything we can to minimise delays caused by these measures, which are designed for your protection, and we appreciate your patience and understanding.

Checked in luggage

  • This is airline-specific. It is best to check the terms and conditions of your carrier.
  • No airline will let you check in a bag that weighs more than 32 kilos. That is due to health and safety of the baggage handlers, as they shitft bags manually. Bags weighing more than 32 kilos must go as cargo.

Excess fees

  • Excess fees vary with each airline.
  • Some will charge x£ per kilo.
  • Always check with the airline website and not with a third party site as the airline will/should have the correct information on what they allow.

Security checks

  • Wearing metal belt buckles, etc., will trip metal detectors and will delay the security screening. If you are in a hurry, don't tempt fate. You could miss your flight. If you are wearing a belt with a metal buckle, it's best to remove it just before you reach the security check point and place it in the bin along with your coat.
  • Laptops have to be taken out of the bags and laid in a separate tray for X-ray. Nothing else is allowed in that tray with that laptop.
  • Mobile phones, PDAs, etc., will trigger metal detectors, and regardless of that fact have to go in tray with anything else you carry.
  • Your jacket, coat, hat, cap, scarf and often shoes will also have to be scanned separately.
  • Jewelry (gold, silver) will not set off detectors. Screeners are inconsistent when it comes to wristwatches. If you want to play it safe, remove your wristwatch and place it in the bin with your coat.
  • If airports are operating with restrictions, they will prevent you from taking on board a bottle that is larger than the stipulated 100 ml, regardless of whether it is empty or not.
  • All liquids have to be in a clear re-sealable plastic bag no bigger than a small sandwich bag you buy at Tesco. You are only allowed one such bag with liquids. All other liquids have to go in the checked bag.
  • Lighters are no longer permitted in carry-on or in the checked bag. That said, collectable Ronson, Dunhill or Zippo could be Fed Exed to your destination. A Zippo can have it's insides (fuel wad, flint, wick) removed and, once at the destination, you can buy new insides to make it usable again. New and unused lighters that never have had gas inside them in some cases may be allowed.
  • If you must travel with medications (either prescription medications or over-the-counter medications), carry them in the original containers in which you purchased them. If you are carrying prescription medication, the container in which you purchased it will carry a label outlining the name of the drug and other details of the prescription. This will reassure security personnel that you are not carrying illegal drugs.
  • If you are carrying prescription medications, they are exempt from the restrictions pertaining to the amount of liquid or gel you are allowed to carry with you onto a plane. However, you must declare such medications to security personnel when you go through an airport security checkpoint.
  • Needles and syringes that are required for medical reasons (e.g., for the administration of insulin) are permitted in your hand luggage. However, they must be accompanied by medication (e.g., insulin) that carries the label of the pharmacy that dispensed the medication or the manufacturer of the medication. As is the case with medication, you must declare to security personnel sharp objects (such as needles) that you are carrying with you for medical reasons.
  • If you are travelling with a child who is two-years-old or younger, most airlines will allow you to travel with baby formula, food, juice, water, breast milk and other items that you need for the care of your child. However, you need to declare these items when you reach the security checkpoint.
  • If you have long hair, you may be asked to run your fingers through your hair just to prove you are not hiding anything. (I've been asked to undo the ponytail and shake through the hair).
  • Be polite, smile and thank the security for making sure you have a safe flight, and they will be nice to you as well, and you will go through rather smoothly. Co-operate and they won't go to town with you.
  • It is useful to wear a shirt that has a chest pocket when you travel by air. This gives you a handy place in which to keep your passport and boarding card as you walk through the airport towards your plane. Men's shirts often have chest pockets, whereas women's blouses often do not. Just by switching to a blouse that has a chest pocket, a woman can ease her trip through the airport.

Kill boredom and stay alive

  • Books - Buy from charity shops or second hand shops so you can leave it in the seat at the end of the flight (if you have finished it) and someone else might pick it up. Or a couple of magazines to read.
  • Bring along your media player with fully charged battery. It's a long flight to where you are going. (But remember to take it with you at the end of the flight.)
  • Your laptop might be able to play DVD movies. Put a few in your bag, unless you're flying with an airline that has the state of the art in your seat video on demand gadgets. If you're lucky, you might even have a power port for your laptop, so can play games.
  • Keep all electronics turned off at take off and landing.
  • Make sure wireless card on laptop is deactivated.
  • Ensure that your mobile phone is turned off and not in flight mode whilst in flight.
  • Get up and walk around as often as possible to keep the circulation going.
  • Take an Aspirin (unless your doctor says anything different) the night before your flight and another in the morning. It's a blood thinner and prevents blood clots. Blood clots (also referred to as DVT) can travel through your body and can be fatal.
  • Drink lots of water during your flight. Avoid alcohol. Alcohol has a much more powerful effect at high altitudes than it has at ground level. In addition to that, it dehydrates you. Dehydration, in turn, contributes to exhaustion and jet lag. Unless you are on a budget airline, water is free. You can bring your own water bottle. Buy it in the duty free, as it is screened and you will get more than 100 ml with you.
  • You've heard all about the dreaded food on board. A hint could be to pre-order vegetarian food. But if you are hoping for an upgrade, forget it. Pre-ordering vegetarian is the best way to not get a last minute upgrade at the gate.
  • An eye mask could be useful if you plan to sleep and your seat mate wants to read.
  • Melotonin can help you sleep on board.
  • Earplugs to shut out engine noise (and the screaming kids won't be as loud).
  • Before you recline your seat, check that the person behind you is not eating or has his laptop up as you could crack the screan. Give the guy a bit of a heads up and then recline. It is your right to recline the seat if it can be reclined. The person behind you has no right to deny you this tiny privilege. If he does and screams blue murder about space, he should have booked a business class ticket.
  • If a dispute cannot be resolved in the first attempt, call a flight attendant and let them deal with it. Air rage is even less fun than road rage and could be very expensive if flight is diverted and requests emergency landing.
  • A long haul flight could be the same as a mini vacation. No beds to make, no dishes to do, food and drinks served at your seat. Make the most of it, and enjoy your flight.

When you've landed

One of the best ways to attract attention and increase chances of 3rd degree questioning is by switching on your mobile phone and checking messages or calling someone before you have cleared customs. If you can wait, do. If you can't wait, walk slowly, check your messages as soon as you leave the plane and turn off your phone before you get to luggage collection. Don't turn it back on again until you are clear on the other end.

Babies, toddlers and children

  • For tips on how to make flights as comfortable as possible for all concerned, please see the Flying With Kids website.
  • For tips on legal issues -- passport, consent letter when child is travelling with only one parent, etc. -- please see the Canadian government's website entitled [Children and Travel].

Links

Budget Airlines

Other Carriers

Vehicles

See TripAdvisor's Wiki article called Rental Cars.

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