Yes, yes, I know this post was supposed to be France…I am exercising my Lady’s prerogative. I was making Christmas lodging arrangements for visiting east coast family this morning, so holiday travel is on my changing mind.
In general, it is not recommended that Cat 6 travelers attempt catching a hop during any school holiday period, Christmas included. True enough, in general. But there are opportunities to be had if traveling domestically, or even internationally, if able to employ the dreaded “F” word – flexibility.
The possibility with the most reasonable odds is traveling domestically. Since most Cat 2 and 4 travelers’ eligibility ends when their plane reaches the Continental US (CONUS) and most Cat 5 eligibility starts and ends at one of the coasts, Cat 6 travel within CONUS is generally easier to accomplish.
Lady Cat 6 and sponsor have enjoyed very good luck over the past few years using space a to travel from the great Pacific Northwest to the eastern seaboard and back. We shoot for a middle-ish of December departure, and wait until after the New Year to return. We’ve been able to fly within two to three days of our target window each time. That’s plan “A” again for this year.
Besides being flexible about timing, we are also anticipating needing to flexible regarding our flight destination. We know where we would like to fly, but we also know all the possible terminals we could fly to and still make our holiday work.
Keep in mind that as Christmas gets closer, the number of flights tends to decrease. Air crew have families too. The closer to December 25 you try to fly, the less options you will have.
International travel is more difficult, but may be accomplished under certain circumstances. One thing in Cat 6′ favor is we are generally flying in the opposite direction from most space a travelers during this time. They are trying to come home for the holidays, while we are more interested in going out. If you are able to depart by the middle of December and can wait until several days after the New Year to return, you stand a decent chance of getting a hop.
Another international option to consider is travel between Christmas and New Year’s. Most Cat 2, 3, 4, and 5 travelers want to be at their destination for Christmas and return by New Year’s in order to start school on time, so the missions (remember, there are fewer of them) during the week between tend to have more seats available. European Christmas markets run until around January 6, so you could still enjoy them if you’re interested in a quick holiday turnaround.
As mentioned earlier, I have taken care of our lodging arrangements at our final destination already. We will reserve a car at our hoped-for destination terminal in another week or so, knowing we can slip the dates and sometimes even the pick-up location if needed once the reservation is made. On base lodging is a good possibility upon landing, since there is not a lot of activity going on during the holidays. And, finally, we are prepared to either purchase expensive tickets or even not go at all if there really are no space a flights available.
Holiday travel presents significant challenges for Cat 6 travelers, but with flexibility in planning and expectations, Outer Space A is a very Merry place to be!
NEXT Time: France