Making sure you arrive on time … and where you want to be
Here are tips to avoid holiday delays, missed flight connections and arriving in NZ in one piece.
- SINGLE TICKET especially if using connecting flights
Travel on a single ticket especially if you need to connect flights. Sticking to one airline or alliance hopefully means the airline or alliance will take responsibility for your onward travel. However if there is a major disruption to travel you will need to charge the mobile and be prepared to wait in a phone queue for a response.
- How much time do you get through connecting flights?
The time required to catch the connecting flight is very much out of your control. It is dependent on the airport’s distance between terminals and crucially whether you need to clear customs / immigration beforehand. Allow the maximum time recommended and add an hour or two for safety reasons.
- When is the best time to connect with your tour?
The best time to connect with your tour is to arrive at least 24 hours before.
Consider arriving the day before you absolutely have to be there. You can have a delayed flight which causes you to miss your connection with a cruise, a train or pre-booked tour group. Even before you arrive you spend your time on the flight wondering how on earth you are going to join the activity you have been planning on for months. Travel the day before, chill out and relax. You will have an extra night’s accommodation to pay for, think of the expense as part of your personal travel insurance.
- What should you look for while travelling that can cause delays to flights?
While travelling look at the flight boards for airlines offering free rebooking of your flight. If they are concerned that they may have to cancel flights, free rebooking of flights is an indication that connections are at risk. Start dusting off your travel insurance on unavoidable delays causing grief to your tour schedule.
Know that airlines will often take several days to get back to a regular schedule once delays have occurred. There will be a backlog of passengers and to make matters worse your booking preference is given to people who have scheduled flights. Cancelled flights means you are on a wait list.
- What is the best time of the day to fly to avoid delays?
The best time of the day to fly is early morning. If there are delays the earlier flights get preference. And you have a choice of flying later the same day if there are seats available. A plus is to pay for a full fare which is easily transferable to another ticketed flight.
Try to get a non-stop flight. Fewer airports means fewer chances that one is going to suffer weather or technical difficulties. And even worse your suitcases are mislaid in a transit stop.
- What is the best thing you can do to protect your flight plans?
Get travel insurance. If you had to cancel a trip because of severe weather you obtain a full refund as you are unable to join the trip. Trip insurance will reimburse you if that happens.
Remember to check the fine print of your proposed travel insurance.
- Check your domestic travel plans on how you plan to travel to your destination
Trains. If you have a choice of arrival airports choose one that has direct train services. Wide lifts and customer service people who are experienced at where to go and explaining details to people dazed by the flight assist in getting you where you want to be.
Trains. Remember to check the train website to view storage facilities onboard the train. As well as catering services.
- What should you avoid when renting a vehicle?
Rental vehicle. If your rental car agency is not located at the airport check where the collection depot is located. Being put on a shuttle, travelling halfway across a large city to a remote location might not be the ideal start to your holiday.
- Checklist for the rental vehicle agency
- Opening hours for the rental car depot
- Waivers in the rental vehicle contract for road accidents as well as damage to vehicle
- Fuel fill policy as well as the type of fuel the vehicle uses. Electric location of charge stations on your trip route to be checked beforehand.
- Roadside assist policy
- Child seat availability
Australia and New Zealand have well established intercity bus services. Major centres have public buses however in smaller towns the best connection is likely to be a road trip by car.
- Day trips and connections are to be minimised if your onward travel includes lots of time in a vehicle.
It is not recommended you join day trips where 40% plus of the journey is spent in a vehicle getting you to the destination. It is tiring, frustrating and when you arrive as you do not have enough time to wander, ponder and soak in the atmosphere of the location you have travelled to see.
Plan day trips less than 2 hours one way. Consider the option of an overnight tour for a bucket list destination. If you do not have enough holiday time allocated for your wish list, there is always the option of a return trip.
- What to do when your flight is unavoidably delayed?
If your flight is delayed and you will miss the connecting flight and/or tour look at flight options for the next town. Move your connection to the following day’s destination.
And you should consider the option of purchasing a new ticket as it could be difficult as the waitlisted passenger list means you might be delayed several times. Delay means additional cost, it is one of the penalties of travel and budget accordingly.
And the journey is worth it, remember to check out New Zealand Travel Guide and get you started on the exciting bit of travel. The planning!
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