Air travel, at times, can be less than ideal. But you shouldn’t go into the experience expecting to be let down. You can, and should, set yourself up for success -- well, within reason, of course.
Sure, you can’t anticipate every situation. You can’t control the weather. But you should start here: with three simple tips to make your next flight a lot more manageable.
1.) Avoid the major, high-traffic airports and opt for a smaller, more accessible one.
If you're in the Detroit area, you can skip the hustle and bustle that comes with Metro, in favor of Flint Bishop International Airport.
“My family and I love flying out of Bishop,” said Jim Fitzgibbons, who lives in Macomb. “We prefer Flint for its convenience. Parking is so simple and the whole experience is far less stressful than what we can expect in Detroit.”
You might find that a few extra minutes spent in the car are well worth it. The Flint airport is just a straight shot north on I-75 from the Detroit area, and a half-mile from the I-75/U.S. 23/I-69 interchange (read: easy highway access from almost anywhere).
When you fly into or out of Flint, you can spend your final few hours before or after a trip with the people you enjoy -- not waiting on a tarmac for 35 minutes, only to hear that your plane is No. 14 for takeoff. In Flint, it's pretty unlikely there would ever be 14 planes taxiing on the tarmac.
Yes, there are fewer flights overall, but plenty of them are direct, including to four major cities in Florida alone. More nonstop flights will begin Sept. 4. And it's a majority of big-name airlines that fly out of Flint, including Delta, American and United: companies you can trust.
2.) Figure out where you’re going to park in advance.
No matter what airport you choose, parking is often one of the more stressful items on the to-do list. Should you go offsite or on-site? How much will it cost? Is there security?
If you’re considering following our advice on that first tip listed above, it’s worth mentioning that when you fly into or out of a smaller airport, parking often becomes a non-issue.
In Flint, parking is not an hour-long activity. In fact, it’s about 800 feet from the seat in your car to a seat at the airport. No joke -- if you park in the hourly or daily lots, you’ll be right across from the terminal. Really, look at this map. So if you’re in a crunch, you can’t beat this option.
The economy lot is just as easy. A shuttle runs 24/7, picking up travelers right at their cars. It’s $6 a day with a seventh day free, so it’s unlikely you’ll find a better price than that. If you're dealing with a car rental, all the companies are located at the terminal.
It’s as simple as that.
3.) Know what you’re signing up for and what to expect.
Whether you fly often or not so frequently, it’s the Transportation Security Administration, better known as the TSA, that calls the shots when it comes to what’s allowed on a plane. Maybe you’re checking a bag or two, maybe you’ve chosen to bring a carry-on only, or perhaps you have a special item you’re hoping to pack: for example, skis, golf clubs or wine.
Go to the TSA’s website so that you’re aware of what you can pack and how to secure your items. Are you up on the latest rules involving liquids? What about if you're traveling with babies or children? There’s a lot to know, so do your homework before showing up at the airport.
Needless to say, if you do have any special circumstances, we’ll mark that as another reason why traveling through a smaller airport might make for a better experience.
There are no guarantees, but there is a better chance you’ll breeze through security at Flint Bishop, as opposed to an airport that sees hundreds, or even thousands, of flights a day.
In Flint, you’re skipping the crowds, the stress, and you won’t have a long hike through the terminal. The whole process is very low fuss. "Our passenger terminal was designed, engineered and built with the traveler in mind," Flint airport officials say on their website.
Big-city traffic? You don’t have to worry about that in Flint. Sure, weather might be a factor, seeing as we’re still in Michigan, but you can expect fewer cars on the road if you have to brave the elements. The same goes for construction. It's a little more manageable once you get north of Detroit.
That means you can watch one final episode of “Game of Thrones” with your brother, snag one final drink with your girlfriend, or run a quick errand before you hop on a plane out of town. Your trip should be about those details, not stressful travel logistics.
Why does anyone fly, after all?
If we had to guess, it’s because of the destination: that incredible feeling of plopping on the couch with family or pulling up a chair with friends you haven’t seen in ages, knowing that for at least a few days, you’re home. Maybe you’re literally home, or maybe it’s more in a metaphorical sense: You’re with the people who matter. You’re ready to relax, cut loose, or “live your best life,” as they say. Your travel woes can melt away because, at this moment, you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be.
That’s what life is all about. Who knows, maybe you’ll consider Flint Bishop International Airport when you’re booking your next trip. In Flint, it's not about arriving early to kill time or get a manicure. People flock here for the efficiency and the time they’re saving elsewhere. If you ask us, the best thing an airport can do is be an airport -- get people to and from their destinations with ease.
There are no distractions: Arrive, check in, get to your gate and board your plane. Send a quick text to your friends or family about how amazing your trip was, and how you can’t wait to come back soon. And now that you're in on the state's best-kept travel secret, we're willing to bet you'll be inspired to hop on a plane again in no time.