Hi Cruiser gal, you gave us some great advise. I also do what you do and that is to check to see what other flights are right behind my flight so in case something happens I have other flights to depend on.
I just remembered that it is best to always choose a seat and get your boarding pass on-line. It will guarantee an airline seat.
Since I live in the WEST COAST and have to fly all the way to Florida.... there is a time change against me by three hours. I prefer to just fly the night before so I can relax at a hotel after a long 5 hour flight.
New York to Miami is a piece of cake which is great for you.
Los Angeles to Vancouver is a piece of cake for me because it is only a few hours flight. I am able to arrive early and get on the cruise ship on time. I don't need to leave a day before because it is only just a few hours flight.
This is a great topic because we always have to be ready for PLAN B.
I bought yearly travel insurance which is a lot cheaper for me since I travel so much. Angel