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» How to Avoid Crowded Flights

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Flying on a less crowded flight is so much more relaxing!
Flying on a less crowded flight is so much more relaxing!
Unless you’re lucky enough to be flying first class, air travel generally is a crowded, tumultuous, and noisy experience.

Storage space and elbow room are usually at a premium, and the environment often interferes with sleeping or working simply because there’s too much going on.

If you don’t have the cash available to purchase some first class peace and quiet, consider the following tips to help you book a less crowded airline flight and make for a more pleasant trip.

  • Reconsider your flight times. No one wants to get up incredibly early to catch a plane or fly late at night, but the fact is that these flights are usually less crowded than daytime flights and they’re a lot more affordable as well. You’re also more likely to avoid families with small children, since most early morning travelers are business people.
  • Reconsider your travel dates. By booking your airline tickets to an off-season destination, you’ll pay less to get there and you’ll have a lot more space on the flight. Certain days of the week may also be better, depending on your destination.
  • Call the airline, and ask when their peak times are, and whether or not certain days of the week are better for airline travel to this destination than others. They not only can give you peak times overall, but they can also tell you how full your particular route usually is and the best times to book your airline tickets.
  • Fly out of a smaller airport when possible. These airports have fewer flights overall, and generally their planes are less crowded as well, since there are generally fewer passengers waiting for connecting flights. However, these smaller airports are also more likely to have cancellations in bad weather, so realize that you are running a slight risk if you’re traveling in the middle of winter.
  • When it comes to larger hub airports for connecting flights, compare their load factors if you can. Load factor is the average percentage of full seats per flight originating at that airport. Select the airport with the lowest load factor you can get; it’ll mean less crowded flights and a less crowded airport. Load factor information for larger airports can be found at http://www.usnews.com/usnews/biztech/airtravel/flight-plan/index.html.
  • Try to book a flight on a smaller plane. On the surface it doesn’t really make sense, but there are more available seats on average on a commuter plane or regional jet than there are on a large jet. You also have fewer seats per row, which means that you’re less likely to be sandwiched between two strangers if you’re traveling alone.
  • Ask for an upgrade. Depending on the flight, it might be cheaper than you realize, and politeness can go a long way toward helping you get into those first class or business class seats, particularly if it’s the last minute and they’re not full up.


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