Due to the number of emails I have gotten from you regarding “Overbooking”, and a few other rules, let’s take time out from our travels for some important updates.
Certainly the airlines have consumed much of the travel news in the past few weeks. The Federal Government has worked very hard to contain misuse or abuse of the few rules there are governing airlines. To be fair, we would be in a real pickle if airlines cut back on flights, service, or any other phase of the flight process. World citizens are booking flights in record numbers, airlines are growing, profits are skyrocketing, and new planes are coming out regularly. Here are a few developments regarding flying;
New TSA procedures, increased manpower, and different rules have improved wait times in most airports. The most important procedure changes have been the “Trusted Traveler” Program that you can register for on line, Changes in what you should carry on and what you should not pack in checked luggage, changes in Pat Down procedures, and the addition of automated kiosks for incoming USA citizens to speed immigration inspections. Not so good changes that have made the news include a renewed effort by some airlines to impose dress codes, resurgence of extra fee charges for all things on board, decreased leg room at seats and a trend toward “universal Pricing Models”. What are your choices? The airline contract, that is part of every ticket, is so long and wordy, very few ever read it. Essentially it does give the airlines many rights, including removing you from a flight for cause, overbooking flights, not providing some services on some flights. The Government stepped in and requires the airline give you certain inducements for voluntary rebooking, and involuntary rebooking. It does not restrict them from overbooking, refusing a passenger a seat, or “ asking” a passenger to leave a flight that is overbooked. If it happens to you, and you have a travel agent, that agent can walk you through your rights and inducements. If not, read up on your rights.
Flight delays are a very big problem, and as long as there are this many airports, passengers, and flights, the only solution seems to be in the flight control automation area, where giant strides have already been made. For crowding or uncomfortable seats, there are many options opening up every day in these areas. All will cost money for the traveler, because there is NO incentive for airlines to do anything for free. If you have the opportunity, take a look at, or ask me about, the new “reconfigurable” modules Quatar Airlines is researching. They are one of the leaders in innovative flying extras. Why Quatar? Maybe because the folks who frequent that airline have sufficient disposable income to afford to pay for innovations like “Family Suites” on board Dreamliner Aircraft.
Check back next week for Part 2 of Travels Tips and Rules.