Debunking Travel Myths and Rumors
The Women’s Travel Group writes from its 31 years of experience running tours for women. Don’t listen to rumors, here are the actual facts.
Airfare is cheaper on specific days. This is the oldest rumor. Carpe diem, you see what you want, book it. Airfare is a function of statistics and marketing. The only time you can jump on a deal is when there is bad news. Amsterdam’s luggage computer crashed last August. Travelers had to ship bags or carry on. Fares plummeted briefly with this news.
Avoid delays with the first flight of the day. From major airports, if you can take the first flight of the day, do it. From smaller airports, some experts say take the second flight if in the morning. The flight crew at smaller airports might not be based there and have to fly in. My anecdotal experience is that a late afternoon flight over the Atlantic, say, 6PM from JFK, is emptiest. My assumption is connecting flights cannot make 6 PM. 8/9 PM flights are busier. Then by 10 PM again flights are emptier. Businesspeople flying to Europe do not get to the office on time from 10PM flights.
With weather cancellations, airlines will take care of you. Nope, weather is out of their control. The contract of carriage of the airline (their legal deal with you) is that they are not responsible for weather. Only good insurance will save you. Beware insurance might have a limit of $200? for your hotel and meal etc. needs.
If you order a wheelchair, it will be available when you arrive at the airport. In many airports wheelchair access is subcontracted to non-airline companies. You can book with the airline; and they are legally responsible. But they do not own the wheelchair agency. In Heathrow last year, wheelchairs were next to impossible to find, due to staff shortages.
All airport taxes are the same. Taxes are in local currency. If a currency is strong vs. the Dollar, taxes in that airport will be higher. If the currency is deflated as the Mexican Peso, taxes via those airports might be lower.
Once you choose a seat, you are stuck with it. Nope, if you hate your seat, look at the seating chart often via the airline app. People cancel. You might be able to move to a better seat.
Duty free is cheaper. Duty free only means taxes are eliminated; it does not mean the actual cost of liquor, perfume or other is lower. Check prices at home. Take a photo of the label at home; some Duty-Free items are similar but not the same as in retail stores.
Exchange money at the airport. Airport change bureaux are notoriously expensive. They charge a fee and offer low exchange rates. Use ATMs for best rates; they might also have a fee but a lower one. You can order foreign money from major banks, a good way to obtain security cash pre trip.
You should avoid places that have a travel warning or color-coded warning. I recall when my hometown, then Miami, had a German Foreign Ministry warning. We were unaware of issues locally. Read the full report before you cancel. Often, a warning is for a specific area you might not even visit. Or, as recently in California, for a local flood.
You can use your fancy credit card for the airport lounge. Some lounges i.e,. those from Priority Pass, now require pre booking. Some allow so many credit card admissions, there can be long lines to get in.
Please share with us other myths you have debunked in your travel life. The Women’s Travel Group is a small group luxury tour operator for smart women travelers.