By Zak Patten, SmarterTravel.com Staff
Whether you want to find the best seat on the plane, learn about the latest security regulations, or discover the secrets of smarter bidding at priceline.com, visit these 10 websites that we think are indispensable resources for travelers. Click on one of the links below and make the most of your next trip.
1. SeatGuru helps you to find the best seat possible, on whatever plane you fly, on six airlines?even in economy class.
2. With BiddingForTravel.com, you can learn the ins and outs of the largest travel auction site, priceline.com. After a short visit to this site, you won’t get caught overbidding anytime soon.
3. Security at the nation’s airports has changed dramatically under the government agency now responsible for it. For tips that will help you anticipate what you’ll find at security checkpoints, visit the Transportation Security Administration‘s website.
4. Nothing’s worse than being stuck in those uncomfortable waiting areas as you spend hours hoping your plane will depart soon. And often, it’s not just one plane that’s late, but a whole airport full of them. For real-time flight status at airports across the country, check the Air Traffic Control System Command Center‘s website.
5. If you’re enjoying these links, Johnny Jet‘s found a whole lot more. You might be interested in traveling with a pet, finding a great place to scuba dive, or learning the best way to get to or from the airport. For links to everything from airplanes to zoos, visit this robust website.
6. Airline food has long been a staple of late-night comedy, and now, several carriers are starting to charge for onboard meals. But whether you’re paying for it directly or not, AirlineMeals.net will tell you where you can find the best (and worst) food in the skies. You can even see pictures of real meals served to unwitting travelers.
7. If you’re a food fanatic, hunger doesn’t go away after the plane lands. For food lovers everywhere, Chowhound.com is dedicated to people who live to eat. Find the best eateries and inside information about wherever you’re headed.
8. Wonder whatever happened to that bag you lost on your trip to Omaha? You just might find it again at the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Alabama. Or, if you’re a bargain shopper, the website features many of the items people have lost on their travels?a random assortment of items from skis to gold watches that were packed into luggage, never to be seen again.
9. Sometimes your flying experience isn’t everything you want it to be. If you feel you’ve been personally wronged by an airline, write to its consumer representative, or contact the Aviation Consumer Protection Division and register a formal complaint.
10. Lastly, we thought you should know about FlightHumor.org, a website dedicated to the proposition that it’s better to laugh than cry about the ups and downs of air travel. One classic nugget: “The Wright brothers’ first flight lasted only 12 seconds?but I bet it still arrived late.”