It’s been almost four years since Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger successfully crash-landed a US Airways jet in the Hudson River after it lost both engines in a collision with a flock of geese. Now retired as a commercial pilot, Sullenberger remains a frequent flier—as a speaker, best-selling author, aviation consultant, CBS analyst and advocate for several charities.
For busy holiday travel times, he has these tips:
Fly early—Take the first flight of the day to avoid some delays; the aircraft likely spent the night at the airport, so it’s probably been serviced recently. Also, you won’t be waiting for it to arrive from somewhere else. In the summer, flying weather is better in the morning before the sun warms the earth to cause turbulence and afternoon thunderstorms.
Be advised—Download the major airlines’ apps to get flight status updates; some sites offer tail numbers so you can get precise information about when the flight is due in.
Pick your seat—Sully likes SeatGuru.com to find out the advantages and disadvantages of a particular seat, based on other passengers’ input.
Track your miles—The pilot manages his frequent flier miles with the mileBlaster app (there’s also a web version), which also lists affiliated hotel chains and their contact information.
Check the weather—He uses the AirWX app, which provides aviation weather reports from airlines around the country.
Speed through security—The TSA’s Trusted Traveler programs offer expedited screenings for pre-approved, low-risk passengers through dedicated lanes and kiosks at certain airports.
(Details at cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/trusted_traveler/)
Be organized—Sully wears belts containing very little metal and slip-on shoes, and follows the same process every time he clears security, with a pocket or place for everything so he can do a quick inventory to make sure he has it all.