Flying in the Time of Covid (Part 2)Jan 29, 2022
When I had previously traveled by air in 2017, I did not use the flight apps. In my most recent travels, I have downloaded the airlines' apps prior to flying. I highly recommend this. It is easy to check in 24 hours in advance for domestic flights. With international flights, while you may be able to still go to the airport and check in in person, some destinations are requiring you to upload test results or electronic forms through their apps. In the Dominican Republic, I was required to take a photo of my negative Covid test results and upload that into a form for Delta. Even if you don't use the apps to check in, they are still important to have on your phone.
I have noticed that the apps are not always functioning properly with respect to what you can and cannot do. For example, I received emails and notifications to check in for my international flights. For one of the flights, it did not tell me that I could not check in until after I filled in all the information it asked for. It would give me error messages about ESTA--which is for people who require a Visa to enter the US and not US citizens. Instead, the app should have known that I needed to bring all my documentation to the airport in person to have it verified by a counter agent before I could check in. This led to some frustration on my part, as the communications were not that clear--and a few hours waiting for text replies from the airlines to try to clarify the error messages and Covid protocols.
The airline apps make it very easy to upgrade segments of your flights. If you don't live in a major gateway city, it is likely that you will need to have at least one connecting flight. I have recently achieved Silver Medallion status with Delta after two international flights and with two international flight segments upgraded to First Class. I am speaking from my experience with Delta and other airlines may vary in their policies and how their apps work. Be sure to check those details before you purchase your ticket to avoid disappointment. If you purchase a seat that allows you to choose your seats in advance (always purchase at least Main Cabin seats as this gives you more flexibility), you can go directly in to the app (or on the airline's website) and see all available seats and any fees to upgrade. There might be times--during a tight connection, for example--when you want to be near the front of the plane. It might make sense for you to upgrade to at least Comfort Plus to avoid a delay in deplaning and potentially missing a connection in a large airport.
I had two great experiences in First Class. The one segment was shorter, but the seats were wider and more cushioned with water bottles waiting by the seat and very attentive cabin pursers. The longer segment included seats that reclined to horizontal, pull-out TV screens, head phones, a care package with socks and other amenities, water, lots of very good food, pillows, and thicker blankets than in the main cabin. My First Class experiences were first class.
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