Travel: In our new Carry On column, John Fluevog shares his tips for a better trip

Our tips for better, smarter travel

From check-in to passenger perks, your insider guide to travelling smarter, for business and pleasure

FLYING BY THE SEAT knows which aircraft seats don’t recline and which ones intersect head or galley traffic, but it doesn’t have this red-eye tip: right-side sleepers should book window seats on the plane’s right (left-side sleepers, the reverse) for maximum privacy and comfort. Bonus: A recent Emory University/Boeing study showed that window seats risk lower disease transmission inflight.Plane Seats

Seat selection fees are the new normal. While tight connections merit paying for a quick-deboarding forward seat (and carry-on luggage), travelling with a child under 12 often scores free adjacent-seat selection. For the frugal: set a calendar reminder for 24 hours and one minute before flying and cue up online check-in. Unclaimed bulkhead and exit-row seats (held for qualified passengers) are sometimes available.


Global Entry, which can be included with Nexus trusted-traveller application or renewal, includes TSA pre-check at U.S. airports for streamlined security clearance.

Swoop, WestJet’s budget carrier, launches this month from Abbotsford to Edmonton and Hamilton, Ontario, with U.S. and resort destinations promised. New B.C.-direct routes include YYJ to Montreal and Whitehorse, and YVR to Kauai, Mexico City, Nagoya and Zurich, with rumours of Norwegian and Brazilian flights to come.
• Turn a Toronto business trip into leisure travel: U.S. boutique chain Kimpton opens the four-star Saint George hotel on prime Bloor Street West in July (rates from $350). With low-cost airlines Flair, Wow and Primera offering European flights from $199 this summer, make YYZ your jumping-off point.


Ever use your points for business travel, and regret that you couldn’t expense it? Request a receipt for the dollar value of your ticket, using the ticket (not confirmation) number. Look for “request receipt” on airline websites and self-check-in terminals, or ask at the ticketing counter.


John FluevogAmanda SkuseVancouver-based John Fluevog travels often between his 24 North American shoe stores and his first European outpost recently opened in Amsterdam.

“For me it’s all about mental preparation, because if you’re not careful the whole experience can build stress and be a black mark on your trip (and remember, it involves ‘the miracle of flight’). I leave more than enough time to get to the airport, and on the ride there I prepare myself for inevitable hiccups along the way–all of which gives me a calm approach, if you will. I expect delays and then I’m able to fly through them, or get ‘bonused’ when things are on time. It’s no good fighting travel stress when you’re in the middle of it. I find it better to prepare for it, and then it doesn’t get the better of me. Oh, and drink water. Enjoy the ride!”


If your connection in Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver is longer than six hours, you can access hotel rates from $49 with the Air Canada Stopover program.