Flight hackers guide

I fly a lot, and I’m delayed a lot, including now, sitting in the terminal at Santa Barbara (waiting to take a redeye that will land me in Boston at dawn tomorrow). So I’ll take a few minutes to share some of what I’ve learned along the way.

First, dig . Not the best UI, but a very handy resource. It was via FlightAware that I found that my plane wasn’t only “delayed” (as the board said at the airport), but that the plane that would become my Denver flight was still on the ground in San Francisco, and would be an hour and thirty-seven munutes late taking off. Since I only had an hour layover in Denver, I had to seek alternatives.

Second, and . Since the Long Tail fills in blanks that the airlines miss, I was able to get a seat with extra legroom on the United Airbus 320 I’ll be taking tonight.

Third, if you’re waiting on line, call the airline and get business out of the way while you’re idle. I was able to do that in this case, and it was a merciful break for the passengers queued up behind me.

Fourth, dig AviationWeather.gov. All the links are interesting and rich with informative maps. There’s even a space weather link. Handy if there’s an aurora going on and you’re flying a route within sight of a magnetic pole. Here’s an example, complete with Space Weaher screen shots.

9 comments

  1. Christopher Blizzard’s avatar

    You forgot about matrix.itasoftware.com.

    1. Click on guest.
    2. Search for a flight
    3. Click on “Choose flights (graphical)”

    Best way to search for flights with layovers and compare what’s out there. It’s all I use for searching, then book using the corporate tool.

  2. Doc Searls’s avatar

    Thanks, Christopher. Just joined. We’ll see how it goes.

  3. Aloha’s avatar

    A great list of resources Thanks!
    I have some trips coming up to the mainland so I’ll give them a try.

  4. Jim Moran’s avatar

    Finding myself stuck in the middle seat last week, online research produced another very clever flying hack:

    Next time you find yourself on a full flight and unable to avoid a middle seat, ask the gate agent to seat you between two people with the same last name. Often they are a husband-wife combo who will offer to trade so they can sit next to one another.

    http://lifehacker.com/software/life-hacks/how-to-avoid-the-middle-seat-102823.php

  5. Andrew Leyden’s avatar

    I also like flyertalk.com for good advice on how to ‘game’ and ‘mileage run’ the frequent flyer system to your advantage, including advice on scoring upgrades and other tidbits.

  6. Curt’s avatar

    How did you use FlightAware to figure out which incoming aircraft was going to be your outgoing aircraft?

  7. Secure Remote Support’s avatar

    “Next time you find yourself on a full flight and unable to avoid a middle seat, ask the gate agent to seat you between two people with the same last name. Often they are a husband-wife combo who will offer to trade so they can sit next to one another.”

    I’ve flown three times in the last two months from PDX (Portland Intnl) and Las Vegas, (LAS) and have done this each and every time and was able to score and isle seat each time! Well done.

    Also, flyertalk.com has a lot of good contributers. This information is even more futile now in the economic depression.

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