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Tips to prepare for hectic airline season

Monday - 11/25/2013, 1:52pm  ET

Airplane (Getty)
Airline travel can be stressful, but Peter Greenberg of CBS has tips to help make it run smoother. (Getty Images)

Preparing for hectic airline travel

CBS Travel Editor Peter Greenberg.

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WASHINGTON - Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel seasons of the year and as wintry weather approaches the region, many people may be worried weather will impede their flights home.

"[There are] fewer planes and fewer flights and people competing for flights anyway," says CBS Travel Editor Peter Greenberg.

"It's always the busiest travel time of the year both in the air and on the ground and this year will be no different."

While airline travel and bad weather aren't a good combination, Greenberg says there are some ways things people can do to anticipate airline issues.

  • Ask for the flight's aircraft number. Call the airline and don't just ask if your flight is on time -- ask for the airline's specific tail number. The airline should be able to track the flight number and tell you where the plane is located.

    "If that plane is in Belize and you're in Boston trying to get to Chicago, you're not going -- and at least you know ahead of time what your odds are," Greenberg says.

  • Use technology. Sites such as flightstats.com and flightaware.com help you find new flights and back up options when an original flight is cancelled.

    "Today, travel is not about Plan A, it's about C, D, E and F," Greenberg says.

  • Think about alternate airports. When flying into your destination city doesn't pan out, think about the other airports in the region. Try Baltimore instead of D.C., Oakland instead of San Francisco and Milwaukee instead of Chicago, Greeburg suggests.

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