Airline customer service reps know a thing or two about travel.
From the moment you step into the airport to when you finally board your flight, it’s these airport workers’ job to help you successfully navigate getting from point A to point B.
What’s more, with the perks that come along with working for an airline, like free or discounted flights, many of these agents have quite a bit of travel experience themselves.
So, who better to turn to for travel tips and tricks than the people with extensive knowledge on the matter?
We asked airline gate agents, ticket agents, and other airport customer service reps to share their best travel hacks with us, and scoured the internet for more.
Here are eight things that could help make your next trip easier and more enjoyable:
title=”Get help when you need it”
content=”‘If something goes wrong, approach with a kind and humble attitude, and the agent will bend over backward to help you. This advice is worth its weight in gold.’
— A retired airline customer service agent with 30 years of experience
‘When you have truly been disserviced and are understanding about it, you might get a free upgrade. Honey is sweeter, and appreciated more, than crap.’
— A retired airline customer service agent with 18 years of experience”
source=”Tim Boyle/Getty Images”
content=”‘As a general rule, the later in the day you travel, the more likely you are to catch a delay.’
— Former airport customer service agent Travis O’Neal via Quora.”
title=”Earn free perks”
content=”‘Join an airline credit card to get free access to the airport club and extra miles just for signing up.’
— An airline customer service agent with 30 years of experience”
source=”Justin Sullivan/Getty Images”
title=”Get your checked luggage first at baggage claim”
content=”‘Your best option is to be one of the last passengers to check your bags.
‘Bags will always be loaded front to back on the bag carts because more weight has to be in the forward carts for stability while driving, and if you loaded them back to front you couldn’t guarantee that the front cart would be fully loaded.
‘So if you check in last, your bags will be in the last bag cart, which will make them the last on the aircraft and the first off the aircraft at your destination. If they are the first off the aircraft, they will most likely be the first on the bag carts, and then the first to be unloaded at baggage claim.’
‘The best way to ensure your bag gets to you the quickest is to ask the counter agent very nicely if they will let you gate check your bag. The downside of that method is that you will not be able to pack liquids or any other items that cannot go in a carry-on bag as you will need to bring the bag with you through the security checkpoint and to the gate.’
— Ramp and gate agent Thomas Lo Sciuto via Quora
Responses have been edited for clarity.”
title=”Get an extra day of vacation for free”
content=”‘Always volunteer your seat in exchange for compensation. You get travel certificates, meal vouchers, hotel stays, and most of the time a first-class seat on the next available flight.’
— An airline customer service agent with 17 years of experience”
source=”Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images”
title=”Get a better seat on certain flights”
content=”‘A 24-hour check-in alarm is my favourite travel hack.’
— An airline customer service agent with three years of experience
On certain airlines like Southwest, checking in online as soon as you can — usually 24 hours before your flight — will get you a better position in the boarding line, according to travel blogger The Points Guy.”
source=”Flickr/Kevin Dooley. Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0″
title=”Don’t pay exorbitant prices for water at the airport”
content=”‘Bring a small, wide mouth bottle to fill up after security. Most restaurants will let you fill it up for free if asked nicely.’
— A retired airline customer service agent with 30 years of experience”
source=”Getty Images/Matt Cardy”
title=”In rare instances, score a free or discounted upgrade”
content=”‘There are very few free or discounted upgrades. The travellers that might get a free upgrade due to rearrangement of capacity or seats are given to those travellers who pay the most or travel the most with our airline. Join the airline’s frequent flyer program — it makes a difference when a gate agent might need to move someone into a better cabin.’
— A retired airline customer service agent with 17 years of experience”
source=”Joe Raedle / Getty Images”