BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- While you contemplate making your flight plans, it's easy to obtain records of how airlines have performed in the past.
At the Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics website (www.bts.gov), you find on-time statistics searchable by airport, airline, and even flight number to help you decide, based on past performance, which flight to book.
This month's Southern Living magazine says that if you're deciding between two flights with comparable prices, you can punch in the airlines and flight numbers to see how often they've been delayed in the past.
The magazine also recommends using smaller airports when possible, because with fewer flights, they have fewer delays, and beginning your trip early in the day so that you can catch a later flight if something goes wrong with the first one.
Finally, if a flight is canceled, the magazine says the best way to get rebooked is to call the airline, rather than waiting in line with all the other angry passengers to talk to the gate agent.
NEW YORK -- To help you avoid cruise gridlock -- jostling with thousands of other visitors in port -- this month's Conde Nast Traveler offers some advice.
If you're sailing to the Bahamas or other busy Caribbean ports, avoid seven-day itineraries that depart from the United States on weekends. They tend to arrive in ports of call at the same time. If you're determined to cruise to year-round warm-weather spots, the magazine suggests picking a less-trafficked destination like Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Tobago, Honduras, and Costa Rica.
But you should also consider northern itineraries, especially in autumn. Conde Nast Traveler recommends cosmopolitan ports like Boston, Montreal, New York, Quebec City, and Vancouver, as well as Great Lakes cruises, including trips that visit all five lakes and sail along the St. Lawrence River.