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Why Do You Sometimes Need To Take A Bus To Get To Your Plane? And Your Other Travel Questions, Answered

A few travel-related mysteries solved.
a travel expert answers 21 questions about traveling by plane

If you're frequently on the move, you must have wondered a few things about the whole travel experience. Why do they change your boarding gate so close to the departure time? Why are some people offloaded on a flight? What do you do when your luggage gets lost? And what's really the best way to get bumped up to business class?

We asked a travel professional to answer all your burning questions. While he prefers to remain anonymous, our travel pro has been working in the travel industry for years and knows all the inside stuff, especially those related to airport and airplanes. So buckle up and let's go:

Here are 21 questions answered by a professional travel expert that you need to read before your next trip:

1. What's the best seat to get when you're traveling on a long-haul flight?  

If you're on economy, get the exit row. It's worth it! If you're on business or premium, get the seat furthest from the galley so it's not noisy. 


2. What's the best way to get upgraded to premium economy, business, or first class? 

The best way is to pay. But if that's not an option, buy the highest fare in economy, be a member (of the airline's frequent flier club), and dress appropriately! And pray that economy is full. 

3. What's the best thing to do when you're already at the airport but your flight gets delayed or canceled? 

When delayed more than three hours, demand for meals/snacks. If the flight is canceled, demand for accommodations with full board meals and transportation to and from the airport. 

4. How can some airlines afford to offer so-called 'Piso fares?' How do they earn?  

The 'Piso fare' promo helps boost reach and awareness. Actuarians/statisticians calculate the number of seats that can be sold for 'Piso' without affecting much the average revenue per passenger. They make a buzz about it so more unique transactions come in. Some people think (or there's a myth) that pre-pandemic, more than 50 percent of Piso sale transactions result to no-show passengers, which adds more to the bottomline of the airline because these are non-refundable fares. 

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Also, to increase revenue out of 'Piso' tickets, airlines sell ancillaries such as prepaid baggage, F&B onboard, and insurance. That translates to more earnings. 

5. Why do some flights use buses to get passengers to the plane instead of the bridgeway?  

If involuntary: there are two reasons. One, because of congestion, which result in a lack of boarding gates. And two, some airport tubes are incompatible with smaller aircraft (too low).

If voluntary, it's a way for airlines to save money, especially for low-cost carriers. (Yes, airlines need to pay to use the tubes).

6. Should I really get travel insurance every time I fly?  

Yes! There are reported cases of accidents and illnesses that happen overseas that break the bank of some passengers because they don't have insurance. For context, check how much is an ambulance in New York City for tourists.

7. When do I need a transit visa?  

It's case to case per transit country! But a rule of thumb is, if your ticket is "broken" or not from a single transaction or booking, you would need one.


8. Do airline tickets expire?  

Yes, of course. Always check your ticket's fare rules.

9. How young should a child be so that they could fly free?  

Most airlines do not give free flights for infants anymore. But for those that still do, the child must be less than 2 years of age until their flight back home.

10. Why do gates sometimes change so close to the departure time?  

This is because some airports, not airlines, miscalculate/project schematics. That means the airline has to adjust to avoid delays. It is always for the best interest of the passengers. 

11. What's the most common way for people to get offloaded on a flight?  

One, visa problems. Two, criminal records/blacklisting. And three, unruly behavior to airline and airport staff. 

12. Sometimes, passengers lose their luggage on a flight. How and why does this happen, and what should I do if it happens to me?  

Baggage handling is still widely manual even in the most advanced countries. Human error causes this to happen. Make sure to have an airtag on your baggage for extra peace of mind. But if it happens to you, demand for compensation so you can function properly when you reach your destination. Airlines can give you shopping allowances for your clothes while you wait for your lost luggage. 


13. Is it okay to move to an empty seat on a plane if I see that nobody is sitting on it?  

Yes, but make sure to do it after the plane door closes. Seats are assigned at check-in to balance the lateral weight of airplanes. Make sure to always ask your cabin attendants before you transfer.

14. Is there any way to use the airline lounge even if I just have an economy class ticket?  

Some airlines open the lounge to paying passengers. You can also fly frequently with an airline to earn your way to tier loyalty memberships that will give you free access to exclusive lounges even on economy.

15. Is it true that a ticket is cheaper if you book it far enough in advance and gets more and more expensive the closer to your intended date of travel?  


16. What's your best tip to survive the middle seat, especially on a long-haul flight?  

Don't drink a lot of water! 


17. Is there any way to ensure that my luggage comes out first when I claim it on the carousel?  

Book business class seats! Or, if you are in economy, check-in last for higher chances of your luggage coming out first.

18. What are some of the perks about working for an airline?  

Free flights to all destinations your airline flies to. You also get big discounts with their partner airlines. 

19. I slept through my inflight meal. Is it okay to ask the flight attendant to serve it to me when I wake up?  


20. What's the best way to earn miles on an airline's frequent flier program?  

Make sure to always log your membership on your flight bookings, avail of a higher booking class, and use your program's credit card.

21. Why is it sometimes cheaper to book a flight with a layover than a direct flight?  

Airlines with layovers serve you as a secondary market. Meaning, their hub flights (the one you are connecting to) already give them the revenue that they need. Your flight to that "hub" is an additional way for them to fill in their hub flights. It is more economical for airlines to serve two markets (whether passenger or cargo) with just one aircraft.

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