Boulder City Magazine® September 2008 Issue
by Ihla Crowley
What's A Traveler To Do?
Last month, I talked about being stranded at the airport. I attributed the primary problem as departing on a Sunday out of Vegas, and advised never to leave on a Sunday. Okay. Let’s say you have done the right thing and booked a flight on a less busy day. You arrive at the airport and lo and behold, your flight has been canceled out from under you.
Boulder City Magazine®
|This is more and more likely to happen as airlines cut flights. According to a July 10th The Seattle Times article, “Airlines hope that by offering fewer travel options they can boost fares and better deal with soaring fuel costs that have overwhelmed the industry. Many passengers who bought their tickets months in advance are now going to have to scramble to fit new flights into their plans.”
Yes, that’s right. Airlines are selling tickets in advance on flights they know will be canceled. Oh, they don’t know when they issue the ticket that your particular flight will be cut, but they know that some of them will. United will cut 14% on domestic flights by the end of the year; American, 12%; Continental, 11%. Delta, Northwest, and US Airways have said they are planning cuts of 13%, 9.5%, and 8%, respectively. Even if you have tickets ‘in hand’ they have the right to cancel.
Although this is unfair, it is an ever-increasing reality. So, according to the article, if you find yourself at an airport with a canceled flight, here are some tips on what to do:
Be prepared to get bumped. Come to the airport early, bring your printed itinerary and keep your cell phone handy.
Know your rights. Read the airline’s “Contract of Carriage” policy.
Make sure you have an assigned seat. If you don’t have an assigned seat, you are less likely to get on the flight.
Know alternate routes to your destination. If your flight’s canceled, it’s a lot easier if you can walk up to the agent and say ‘What about American through Dallas’ or ‘How about Continental through Houston’ or whatever.
Dealing with the airlines has become the weakest and most unpleasant link in travel. Being aware of possible problems and how to deal with them will go a long way toward minimizing the misery.
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