Podcast Transcript: Key Numbers to Add to Smartphones Before Traveling

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Rick: Hey everybody thank you for joining us today on the FareCompare weekly podcast. My name is Rick Seaney and I’m the co-founder and CEO of said company FareCompare.com. And we’re going to talk a little bit today in our podcast about your smartphone. I have a 13-year old, we never actually call each other anymore, it’s all texting and usually it’s three character answers with a bunch of emojis. But there are times when you actually should make a voice call and you need to have some numbers in your phone to make those voice calls. Especially if you’re one of those 15-20% of those people that are delayed and cancelled at the airport, that’s a big chunk of us. And joining me today to talk about those numbers we should add to our phones–smartphones or not I guess, I mean some of the dumb phones also allow us to put some numbers in?is our editor from the site at FareCompare.com, Anne McDermott from California today. Hey Anne!

Anne: Well you make a very good point and most of the time we don’t make calls. But these are for kind of emergency or semi-emergency situations and like the first one is the obvious one. Make sure you’ve got your airline?s contact information whether it’s a phone number or an email address or whatever you can get, their Twitter address.

Rick: Yeah, no I have an elite status on American Airlines, I have that phone number in my phone right there at the top. I also have numbers of the key airlines around and I can tell you many times I’ve walked up to the counter at the thing and said, “Hey you know what US Airlines has a flight to Las Vegas. This is going to be delayed for five hours, could you please just send me to Las Vegas. And then you can send me home later, you can even leave me there for a day if you’d like.” So I mean having those numbers, knowing what to have, and how to call them and who to call and when can actually save you a lot of issues. And I mean getting those alerts are important too, so you actually get the information before the rest of the crowd at the airport so you can make that call.

Anne: It’s also handy if you leave something on a plane. It’s better of course if you can stop by the gate and say, “Hey I think I left my laptop, blah, blah, blah.” But another thing to have is sort of a lost and found number with the TSA because you can’t call the airport or the airline if you lose something at the TSA line. They have their own special phone numbers and we’ve got a list of them for you.

Rick: You should see Anne, I actually asked at TSA how many iPhones get left there. And he said hundreds a day.

Anne: I don’t doubt it. I mean you can see it, it’s just crazy.

Rick: I mean people get so flustered. They have to take our their iPhones, take out their wallets, put off their shoes, they forget they’re in the bucket and off they go to gate number 58 and now your phone’s gone.

Anne: Other numbers that are handy to have: reservations. And that means like for your hotel, for your rental car, for I don’t know maybe even if you made a reservation for a once-in-a-lifetime meal at the world?s most expensive restaurant. I’d stick that in my phone too.

Rick: Yeah you know I just am setting a trip for my wife and my daughter and I was just sending her print-out copies in PDF form via email so she could have the reservations all in one directory there on her phone as well as printing them out. Remember phones die, batteries die, so having those print-outs along with you in some cases could be very useful. I know everybody loves the digital age but we’re not always connected to the Internet. The Internet doesn’t always work and our phone doesn’t always work.

Anne: Very true, very true. Insurance, if you’re going to purchase flight insurance or maybe you’re using your own insurance to cover your rental car, I mean we all know what you insurance company–actually do we?

Rick: Yeah a lot of people actually buy medical insurance additionally if they’re going to a different part of the country that isn’t supported by their insurance company for example. So all those numbers are very important that you have with you and organized very quickly in your phone. And you know I’ve been sort of one too to start flipping through and saying, “Oh my gosh, the person that was supposed to water our plants, I don’t have their phone number.” My wife’s asking to give them a call. Or I’ve seen my next door neighbor who actually does have a dog named Sparky have the same issue with their particular kennel.

Anne: Yeah you know all those personal numbers of people taking care of your stuff, people taking care of your animals. Make sure you’ve got that, I mean it’s so easy to forget in the last minute running around. And one last one is if you’re going overseas–do you do this Rick? Do you add consulate official contact? They say you should.

Rick: Yeah I usually–I haven’t in the past but it’s something that after doing some research on this, I absolutely would like to do. You need to have basically people that can help you in another country very quickly on speed dial. And that’s basically what you’re doing especially if you’re in a country that’s you know–that you’re not really used to. I just got back last week from the United Kingdom, I did not have the consulate number in my phone. But if I was going to a variety of other countries, I likely would and I’ve done that in the past.

Anne: Sounds good. Anyway so–

Rick: Yeah when I went to Russia a couple of times, I definitely had the phone number in there. It’s a little disconcerting you know when in some countries of the world they take your passport at the hotel. Sometimes they take your passport at the airport in the past I’ve had that happen. And that passport along with your phone with all those numbers in it can be a lifeline.

Anne: And it only takes a couple minutes to do this so go ahead and do it.

Rick: Yeah and I’d also note if you do all your important documents, you should actually take photos of them and stick them up in the cloud. So if you do lose your phone or whatnot, you have access to them. It’s very helpful.

Anne: Thanks Rick.

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Published: August 20, 2014