5 Tips for Staying Safe while at the Airport during COVID

2021 is going to be the year of getting way.  The Staycation is no longer something someone finds relaxing.  Afterall, 2020 was pretty much a nine-month Staycation.  Getting away for a long weekend is a great start, but people want to escape the colder weather to enjoy some vitamin D from the sun, which by the way sounds amazing right now as it is snowing outside my window.

If getting away to warmer weather means taking a flight to get there, then we have some tips for you on how to safe while getting around the airport.  Let’s dive right in!

  • Pack Accessible Sanitizer – I know this sounds like a no brainer, but many people overlook the simply things.  Pack your favorite sanitizing things in your carry-on.  You want to make sure they are in the carry-on that you put under the seat in front of you for easy access.  Some of my favorite simply sanitizing things are Wet-Ones, Sprays, and portable soaps. 
Washing hands at sink
  • Be mindful of social distancing in the airport – This all starts when you check your luggage.   Make sure that you are a good six feet from the person in front of you or behind you.  You can make a buffer with your suitcase in case someone starts to get too close.  The same holds true while in line for security screening.  Make sure to wipe down your carry-on’s after they have gone through the x-ray machine!

  • Avoid elevators, touching railings, and holding onto bars – Each airport is set-up differently so some of the things I am going to mention may not pertain to you.  However, every airport does have elevators.  Since an elevator is a confined space, I would try to avoid it.  If you need to use the elevator, then make sure that you and your family are the only ones on it.  Try to avoid touching railings including escalator railings, people mover railings, stairway railings, and of course, the railings between seats while sitting at the gate.  If your airport has a train that takes you to the terminals, then try to avoid touching the bars.  This is hard to do as the train moves fast and you might fall over, but another surface to try and avoid. 
gate seats at terminal
  • Avoid Clusters of People at the Gate – The age-old crowding at the gate.  Everyone wants to be one of the first people on the plane.  We have all seen it, and sometimes even been that person.  However, now is the time to avoid the crowd.  I have found that even sitting at an adjacent empty gate is good.  You can still hear the gate attendant call for boarding of your flight, while having a lot more space to yourself. 
  • Bring your own food and empty water bottle – It sounds simple, but by bringing your own food. You are avoiding another interaction area with large amounts of people.  Again, you want to put this food into your carry-on back that will go under the seat.  This gives you easy access to the food while at the gate and while on the flight.  An empty water bottle is great as it easily gets through security and many airports now have water bottle fill stations.  A cheap water drink for the flight. 

Flying in 2021 is going to increase immensely as the Staycation is no longer the way to relax.  The airports are doing their part to help keep their guests safe including increasing the number of workers sanitizing areas, and promoting social distancing.  However, it is still our responsibility to do our part and help out. 

Need help planning your next vacation? Nervous about traveling with the new regulations? At Life is Better Traveling we have a team of travel agents who are ready to help you plan. We have been staying on top of the new rules and regulations so you can have peace of mind when you travel. Contact us today by simply filling out the form below.

Airlines are upset.

New Changes in Favor of the Consumer?
Find out what 3 changes are coming your way next time you fly…


If you have been following the news this past week, then you may have heard that congress has passed some air travel legislation that will help the consumer, but may upset the airlines and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).


The lengthy lines to get through security at the airport have been felt across the nation, and by those in the House and Senate too.  The new bill wants to offer several ways to expedite the screening process including keeping the PreCheck screening lines open and available during peak and high-volume travel times, especially at the airports who see a huge volume of travelers. When the PreCheck lines are closed, there must be a way to expedited the screening process using “every practicable effort.”  What is the definition of “every practicable effort?”  Only time will tell.  The bill is also requiring that TSA increase the number of people enrolled in the TSA PreCheck program by making it more available for people to enroll.  This could be done through Kiosks, mobile devices, and/or other mobile platforms. 


Have you ever had your luggage lost or delayed by the airline and didn’t receive your luggage fee back?  Well, that will now be a fight with the airline that you will no longer have to undergo.  If the airline does not deliver your luggage to you within 12 hours after arrival of your domestic flight or 15 hours after your international flight, the airline will be forced to quickly and automatically refund you “any ancillary fees” you paid for your checked luggage. 

For those who have family members under the age of 13, this next portion of the bill that has passed is a huge win.  Children under the age of 13 are “to be seated in a seat adjacent to the seat of an accompanying family member over the age of 13” at NO Additional Ancillary Fees!  These ancillary fees are usually in the form of a seat selection reservation fees including, choosing a window or aisle seat.


Here is a website that shows some of the fees for seat reservations for each airline: http://www.airfarewatchdog.com/blog/4564745/chart-what-it-costs-to-select-your-seat-location.html.  The caveat is that this only applies to economy or coach class seats.  If a family would like to upgrade to economy plus, business, or first class additional fees would be applied.  This rule will probably upset the airlines the most as this will take away from their billions of dollars they earn each year on seat reservation fees.  However, it has been a problem with the airlines not accommodating keeping families seated together when they travel.  As a parent, it is a very scary thought that my child would be sitting next to a stranger while I am on the same flight. 


Over the next couple of months, I hope that we see these changes and they make our lives simpler for when we travel by air.

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Global Entry vs TSA Pre-Check

Global Entry vs TSA Pre-Check,
What are the differences and which one should you get.

I finally decided I had enough of taking off my shoes, pulling off my belt, getting out the liquids and taking out my electronics for airport security, so I applied for TSA Pre-Check.  I was surprised how quick and simple the application process was, and I did everything right online.  Once my application was submitted, and I made an appointment at the nearest office to have my fingerprints taken and pay the $85 non-refundable fee.  Now the fee is non-refundable if you are denied, but if you are approved, the $85 fee means that your TSA Pre-check status is good for 5 years.  Not having to worry about taking my shoes off, belts, liquids, or computers out of my bag for 5 years seems like a good deal at $85.  Also, anyone under the age of 12 who is traveling with a person who has TSA Pre-Check on their boarding pass will also get to go through with them. 


So how does this all work?  After filling out the online application, and getting my fingerprints taken, I waited for my background check to clear.  About three weeks after my appointment I received a letter in the mail saying that I was approved and I was given a Known Traveler Number or KTN.







The number is a bit hidden in the letter, but after searching for a while I found it. Then I simply put this number into all of my profiles with the various airlines.  If you have a profile with an airline to receive mileage, there is a section for KTN.  Not all airlines participate in the TSA Pre-Check but there are about 16 airlines that participate including the major airlines like United, Delta, SouthWest, and American.  Once you have made a reservation with an airline, as long as your KTN is in your profile or you have added it to your reservation, then your boarding pass will print out with TSA Pre-check on the top.  Now, I say it sounds simple but the first time I used mine, I did not have TSA Pre-Check on the top of my boarding pass and even bringing a copy of my letter with me, didn’t allow me access to the TSA Pre-check line.  I called the airline to find out why I didn’t have TSA Pre-Check status on the top of my boarding pass and I was told there were two possible reasons.  My name didn’t match exactly from what was in the TSA system to what was in their system or you need one cycle for your first use of your KTN and then it will automatically appear.  After checking my name was correct, I checked in online for my flight home and gladly found TSA Pre-Check at the top of my boarding pass.  So just in case you don’t have it on your first trip of using your KTN, it should appear on the next, especially if your name is correct on both ends. 

Now for those who travel internationally, there is also Global Entry.  Global Entry is a program through the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency. The benefit of applying for Global Entry would be that once you arrive back in the United States, hopefully from an amazing river cruise, you simply check-in at the Global Entry kiosk and then you are on your way to get your luggage.  At the kiosk you will have to scan your passport barcode, place your fingerprints on the scanner for fingerprint verification, and complete a customs declaration form.  Once these are completed, the kiosk will issue you a transaction receipt and will tell you how to get to the nearest baggage claim and/or exit.  So simple and it will save you time.

You can apply online for Global Entry using their Global Online Enrollment System (GOES), and pay the $100 non-refundable fee upfront.  Once your payment and application have been approved by Customs and Border Patrol, they will tell you to schedule an interview at your nearest Global Entry Enrollment Center through the GOES systems.  Bring your required forms of identification, and get ready to answer a few simple questions.  Once you are approved, you will receive a Trusted Traveler’s Membership number which you can easily access through the GOES system, and it will be mailed to you within a month. 

Global Entry also includes TSA Pre-check!  So for $15 more, I would suggest applying for Global Entry and once you are approved the that you can also put your Trusted Traveler’s Membership number into KTN field.  Even if you only travel internationally once a year or once every other year, this is a peace of mind knowing that you don’t have to wait in those long lines to get through customs.

Congratulations to Mary! 

She recently earned the distinguished Certified Travel Associate (CTA) designation from the Travel Institute, the travel industry’s oldest education organization.  She completed a comprehensive exam-based training program that demonstrates extensive industry knowledge and experience, and she must continue to fulfill stringent education credit requirements each year. 


Have a Great Week!

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