Some tips for summer travel

This item was written by contributor David Grossman, who is serving as Guest Editor of Today in the Sky while Ben Mutzabaugh is away.

With the Memorial Day weekend behind us we’re officially into the busy summer travel season, so here are several tips to make air travel a better experience.

What to do if ticket prices drop

While airfares are projected to be 15% higher this summer than in 2010, fares on some routes have dropped over the last couple of months, according to an Associated Press article in the Louisville Courier-Journal.

If the airfare to your destination drops after you’ve purchased an airline ticket, you may be entitled to a refund. Many travelers don’t realize this and the airlines won’t offer a refund unless you request it.

Unfortunately, every airline has different fees and policies for ticket refunds when airfares drop. Three airlines offer refunds on any price drop, according to the article. These are Alaska, JetBlue and Southwest Airlines.

AirTran and Virgin America will assess a $75 change fee and the other major airlines will extract a $150 change fee, so the ticket price difference would need to exceed those change fees to be worthwhile.

What to do when you’re stranded in an airport

Summer storms can create havoc for travelers with wholesale flight cancellations. CNN offers some tips on what to do if you’re stranded at an airport.

When bad weather strikes, “The first thing you’ll want to do is find yourself a room for the night,” says CNN. Airlines won’t pay for hotel rooms for stranded travelers for weather-related flight cancellations. “With so many people stranded, hotel rooms are likely to become scarce.” The CNN article recommends getting on your phone immediately to find a room nearby before they’re all full.

Because airlines are unlikely to retrieve your checked luggage during these situations, it is always advisable to carry a change of clothing, your basic toiletries and all your medications in your carry-on luggage. CNN also advises being proactive and creative when trying to rebook a new flight. Contacting a travel agent, checking air travel web sites or calling the airline’s reservations phone line may be quicker than standing in line at the airport and both telephone and airport agents access the same computer systems.

CNN says, “The important thing to remember here is that when the weather gets ugly, it isn’t the airline’s fault,” so you need to take control of the situation.

May 31st, 2011 | Posted in Travel
No comments yet.
You must be logged in to post a comment.