Top 13 Travel Secrets From Airport Insiders

Top 13  Travel Secrets

The experts at Minot International Airport (MOT) weighed in to tell us the insider’s secrets and travel tips to make your next flight experience excellent. Make sure to book your next trip out of Minot in North Dakota’s newest and largest airport!

  1. Book your flight on Tuesday morning from 1-5am to get the BEST deal! Our insider consistently saves over $500 per flight by booking 4-6 weeks in advance and always on early Tuesday mornings. It’s always cheaper to fly on the weekends with Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays being the most expensive days to travel. Early Saturday mornings and late Sunday nights are also great flight times to check.
  2. Download your airline’s app! Check in at home and screenshot your boarding pass, just in case you can’t pull up the app at the checkpoint, for easy access to your flight documents. Also, the airline apps will have the latest flight notifications, often sooner than the gate agents!
  3. Are you curious what you can bring on the plane? Download the My TSA app and you can look up anything. This invaluable tool will guide you as you pack your suitcase and carry-on.
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  4. Is it worth it to sign up for TSA Pre-check? Our experts say YES! For only $85, you can enjoy pre-check for 5 years. What’s the process? Simply go online to https://www.tsa.gov/precheck and fill out the application. Once complete, you will schedule an interview. Keep in mind that once you are in this elite group of travelers, you must include your Pre-Check ID number when you reserve your flight so that it prints on your boarding pass. Save time every time you travel.
  5. Screenshot_20160714-190615Have you ever dropped off your vehicle at the airport and couldn’t remember where you parked when you came to pick it up? Our insiders said the best solution is to download the Mark My Spot app. This handy app allows you to geo-tag the exact spot your vehicle is so that you can easily find your car when you return.  Don’t have the ability to download the app?  Take a photo of your car with the terminal or another recognizable landmark in the background to help you find the right section of the parking lot.
  6. Theairlines use Regional Jets (RJs) frequently at MOT.  These have even smaller carry-on spaces, particularly with respect to overhead bag compartments.  Remember, if the overhead bin door won’t close with your bag in it, then your bag can’t be there during flight. On these RJs, the bag sizer at each airline’s gate counter in the hold room usually reflects the space available at your feet (under the seat in front of you), not in the overhead.
  7. In each plane, there are some seats that have limitations.  Case in point, any “bulkhead” seat (where there is a wall, rather than seats, in front of you).  These seats typically do not have any space for carry-ons to be stowed at your feet.  Also, the back rows, particularly in RJs, usually do not have reclining seats.  This is true of seats in front of exit rows, as well.  Typically, airlines show these restricted recline seats on their seating charts, whether accessed through the web or their apps.  The thing that isn’t shown on airline apps is the overhead bins with restricted space, although some seat-ranking sites do.  This typically is the case in the first two rows, particularly in an RJ.  These bins often are filled with safety and emergency gear (oxygen, life preservers, first aid kits, etc).  This means that if you’re sitting in seat 1B, you may have to put your carry-on in the overhead bin for row 3, as you also do not have storage on the floor in front of your seat.  If you aren’t carrying on anything, 1B is great, but if you have a briefcase, you may have to wait for rows 1-3 to exit the plane before you can work your way back to retrieve your bag from the overhead bin (or you can be THAT PERSON and reach over everyone, bouncing your bag off their noggins).
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    If you like window seats, be aware that on some planes, windows don’t align with seats, so you may have a view of a wall, rather than window.  On others, the windows are perfectly aligned, or may require just a little lean back or forward to see outside.  On some RJs, the windows are relatively low, meaning you’ll have to hunch over to see out the window.Each model of aircraft, and each airline’s version of that aircraft, may be configured slightly differently.  Check the airline seating diagrams for info.  There are websites, like SeatGuru.com, SeatMaestro.com, and SeatPlans.com, that may provide user feedback on seat limitations and/or benefits.Examples of seats our experts do/don’t like include:
    CRJ-200:  1A & 1B have no overhead storage and no storage at your feet
    CRJ-900:  Row 11’s seats don’t recline and there are no windows in-line with these seats
    CRJ-900:  Seats 5B & 5C have no under-seat storage (because of configuration of aisle)
    MD-90:  Seats 23 A & B are pretty nice, even though they’re farther back on the plane
  8. Do you volunteer to be bumped from your flight? Our experts say- YES! Don’t volunteer online or at the kiosk, wait until the gate agent asks for volunteers. If you hold off, you may get 4-8 x more $ at the gate.
  9. Check out the Trestle Tap House, Minot International Airport’s restaurant, available both pre-security and post-security. If you have a time crunch, ask the server to provide you with recommendations for a quickly prepared option and they’ll be able to help guide you toward the best options.  Storage space at airports is at a premium, Airport restaurants often have very small kitchens and limited storage, which means they have to buy in smaller quantities and more often (thus causing prices to be a bit higher). In addition, each and every food delivery has to not only go through a not only the typical inventory and quality checks, but also a security check. Who knew?
  10. Dealing with a flight delay? Stay calm, be polite – remember that gate agent cannot control the situation and may have limited knowledge. However, that gate agent has the ability to get you food vouchers & upgraded seats – so treat your gate agent right!
  11. Concerned about traveling with kids? Pack some snacks like gummy bears, gum, life savers, anything they can chew or suck on. As the cabin pressurizes, this will help alleviate the discomfort that children may have with ascent or descent.
  12. Hyatt House Travel 3Travel in style and comfort with this easy-to-wear look! The fabrics are perfect for being comfortable and looking fresh while you travel. The pants are a four-way stretch fabric designed for a fabulous fit, great comfort and on-trend styling. The tunic is fresh and oh-so-comfortable. Both pieces will allow you to step off the plane ready for whatever is next! The jewelry is classy and simple. TSA will not have any problems clearing you while you look great! The sneakers have a bit of glam in the metallic fabric while they offer great support and allow you to run if you need to! Carry your versatile travel bag with your layering jacket in case you get chilly and the perfect pair of amazing shoes to slip into once you arrive plus all your other necessities! All of these trendy items are available at Mainstream Boutique-Minot downtown.  Be aware:  Even if you have TSA Pre-Check, some clothing items, such as heavy metal jewelry, belts with large metal buckles, boots, studded shoes, and many high heels with a steel shank in their insole still may need to be removed.  Try it first, and if you need to remove them at the checkpoint, you’ll know to pack them and wear something else next time.
  13. When should you book your car rental? Make sure you book it online & in advance. There is no day-of deals at airports and sometimes you might end up without a rental vehicle if you don’t plan ahead. Check your airline’s app to check for deals and earn extra miles or points.

Make sure you book your next flight out of North Dakota’s newest & biggest airport- Minot International Airport.

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This is a guest post by Lorena Starkey from HYATT house Minot in collaboration with Ann Thorvik, former Interim Airport Director at MOT and Lead at Chrysalis Aviation Solutions and Maria Romanick, Airport Services Coordinator, at the Minot International Airport.  

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One Response to “Top 13 Travel Secrets From Airport Insiders”

  1. Kelly Loos Says:

    Great info! I love these tips and will definitely be sharing them!!

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