Travel advice from the Charlotte News Observer suggests that this summer is the time to think about an ‘escape hatch.’

One frequent traveler says that he learns the flight attendant’s names and schedules on his regular flights out of Newark so that he knows which flights are frequently delayed. He’s even figured out which American Airline planes offer the least amount of legroom.

One strategy this saavy flyer uses is the keep the airline reservation numbers on his cellphone, and if he’s cancelled, he quickly rebooks from the terminal. “There is usually only one person at the counter, but 100 people on the phone waiting to help you, he said. He uses the airlines websites to check the ontime percentages…less than 80% and he might bail out and find another flight.

Other advice in the column suggests using a luggage shipping service to send the bags ahead, or else using Fed-X or UPS. There are many companies in several price ranges that can take the hassle and fear out of traveling with luggage. One thing to watch out for is wine–it weighs a lot and some airlines are limiting luggage weight, meaning you might have to donate it to the desk clerk when you’re checking the bags.

Some advice that I learned during my trip to Sardinia this week is some that I rarely heed myself. A man traveling with us had his luggage lost, but looked great the next night because he had packed a change of clothes in his carryon. I never do that, but I guess I should.

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