Sh!t Happens: How to Avoid Travel Hiccups (Pt. 1 – Gate Changes)

Let’s face it, no matter how carefully you plan out a trip – sometimes things just go completely wrong.  Over the years, I’ve come across tons of issues, whether related to baggage, mileage credits, missing reservations, crazy weather complications and more.  All these experiences help me stay as cool as a cucumber most of the time now, so I’m sharing with you in hopes that you will read, be entertained and maybe learn a thing or two about how to tackle travel complications that come up along the way.

This is the first post in this series on how to cut through the sh!t and get to the fun.  May my travel nightmares help you have the trip of your dreams!!

The Gate Changing Nightmare

Last minute gate changes can wreck even the best pre-flight plan.  I live in Fort Worth, TX, so Dallas-Fort Worth Airport (DFW) is one of my go-to airports.  DFW is large and is a hub for American Airlines, meaning that they have flights going in and out of multiple terminals.  To top that off, their ticketing and security checkpoints are set up in small groupings of gates, so when a gate change occurs, you could end up needing to run across the terminal you’re in – which is a best case scenario – but even worse, you could have to get on the airport monorail to get to a completely different terminal – all the while towing your carry-on luggage the whole way.

On several occasions, I’ve arrived at the airport well in advance only to be greeted by exactly this scenario and just barely making the gate, completely out of breath, sweating and wound up from the surprise mad dash.  One time, I arrived early for my flight in Terminal A, because that was where the listed gate for my flight was before I left home to head to the airport.  By the time I got there, the flight had been moved to Terminal D; and then, when I got to D, it had been moved to E.  What a crazy number of changes!

The Out of Area Nightmare

Also, imagine getting to the airport early with plenty of time and finding something to do like grabbing a bite to eat (or if you’re like me, getting a chair massage or manicure).  Then, you realize it’s last call for your flight and you have to book it over – because you were just outside the zone where the announcements were audible.  Yes, that’s happened to me too – I literally almost missed a business class international flight all because they started boarding early and the announcements weren’t audible where I was sitting.

Lesson #1:  Sign Up for TripIt Pro

With TripIt Pro, I’ve been able to get to the right gate on time consistently and avoid those desperate last minute runs through the airport from gate to gate or even worse terminal to terminal.  TripIt Pro enables you to receive live action push notifications for your flights, such as information on delays and gate changes – often faster than you can access this information on your own via email or the boards at the airport.  While there is a free version which is fabulous, for $49 a year, you can upgrade to the Pro version, which is money well spent for the amount of stress relief it brings.

I signed up for TripIt about 10 years ago and it has brought me so much peace of mind and has been my travel angel more than once.  In addition to solving the gate changing nightmare, the app makes it easy to gather all of your travel itineraries – flight, hotel, rental cars, play or game tickets, dinner reservations, and more – all in one single app.  It’s also easy to share your itinerary – whether in whole or in part – with other people who may need to know these details.  Additionally, for you business travelers, it also syncs to Concur, which is widely used by many corporations to manage travel bookings.

TripIt Pro has virtually eliminated all of these crazy gate change nightmares, because the system is so efficient with sending alerts to keep my travels smooth.  I highly recommend you download this before your next adventure.


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