Currently, we get more questions about airline strategies than any other single subject. A growing number of your questions have to do with the best ways to make airline arrangements in conjunction with European-based cruises. Here then, is our list of Our Top Ten Air Strategies for “Comfortable Cruise Connections>”
01 – If possible, connect in Munich, Zurich, or Amsterdam. That means flying Swiss Air, KLM, or Lufthansa. Vienna, Copenhagen, and Brussels are good secondary connecting points.
02 – If possible, do not connect through Heathrow (London) or Charles DeGaulle (Paris). That means avoiding Air France or British Airways.
03 - Always have a back-up plan and have your travel consultant put you in the hands of an “air angel” you can call 24/7. Pay for the services of the best available flight monitoring team. Never plan to arrive in Europe on the day your cruise departs.
04 – Remember to “Split Pack” and to use baggage tags that indicate the name of your hotel and the dates you will be there prior to your cruise. Amazingly, more than 90% of American flyers on international routes don’t do either.
05 – If you re flying Business or First Class make certain that your bags are tagged “Priority” or words to that effect at the airport.
06 – Take the responsibility to reconfirm your own seats using the airline seating charts on seatguru.com Understand that airlines have the right to change your seats without asking your permission if a high-level frequent flyer wants them.
07 – Never board an international flight in anything less than a coat and tie or fashionable attire. Airline personnel have no sympathy for those who dress like they are comfortable in steerage.
08 – Allow two and a half hours for international connections. The two-hour rule went out the window last year due to a sharp increase in weather-related airport “hold” orders.
10 - Know exactly who sold you your air ticket, the record locator number, and the change restrictions you may face if you need to use the tickets on an alternative airline.