Cancellations and Refunds With Humanitarian Flights

Many people ask me all the time how the cancellation and refund process works with the humanitarian flights. I have dedicated this to all of my adopting families and others who have questions about cancellations and refunds with humanitarian flights, so I can hopefully help to answer them here. Some benefits of using humanitarian airfare include the fact that these flights are refundable, minus airline penalties and fees, if you should need to cancel the flight prior to your departure date. Most flights out there on the internet are non-refundable, but the humanitarian flights are not in that category.

Missionary and humanitarian flights, unlike most flights, are refundable, minus airline penalties and fees if you should need to cancel and request a refund. These are not total refunds of 100% of your flight cost, but they do help tremendously, since most other flights are non-refundable. There are many other benefits to using humanitarian airfare as well. Humanitarian flights are changeable and usually the first change after departure does not have an airline penalty, so the change fees are much lower than changing a regular flight that you will find. Also, since humanitarian flights are only able to be accessed by a missionary and adoption travel agent, you can also expect much better service than using an online travel engine to purchase your flights.

The cancellation process for humanitarian and missionary flights can take around six weeks before you will see the refund applied back to your credit card. However, many people notice that their refunds show up closer to two or three weeks after the cancellation has been processed with the airline. There are always going to be multiple charges and credits with any refund of this nature, and many times you will need to add up the costs and credits which should all equal up to the amount quoted to you for your refund.

Sometimes an adopting family will need to cancel just the return portion of their flight for various reasons, and re-book with another airline at a later time. This is a case when the family would be very thankful that they have humanitarian flights vs. published flights. The humanitarian flights are refundable, even for just the return portion. This is always just a partial refund, less airline penalties and fees, but still helps tremendously to preserve some of the loss that would otherwise be incurred.

Generally, families who use humanitarian flights, especially for adoption travel, are very happy with them if they need to make changes to their return date. There are sometimes unpredictable circumstances that cause families to be forced to cancel their flights for adoption travel, and when these things happen, they are always very thankful that they have used humanitarian flights rather than anything they could have booked on their own.

I hope this helps in answering some of your questions!

Safe Travels!

Tabitha Lovell, International Travel Manager

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Never Miss a Flight Again – Limo Service Gets Travelers to the Airport On Time and in Style

Ever miss a flight? It’s a nightmare of astronomical proportions; here’s why. There is a cascade of events that follow, especially if there is a tight itinerary planned. Whether the flight is for a vacation, special event or work flights are usually booked at a specific time for a reason. Rarely does one have the freedom to wait around for the next best flight.

They may have ground transportation booked, a hotel to check into by a certain time, meetings, excursions, or weddings that they have to be on time for. People will be let down for sure, especially if it’s a special occasion like a wedding, anniversary or birthday. It’s not as if these milestone events can be rescheduled for one person, and if they are a part of the wedding then it is really a mess.

Fixing Plans

Not to mention, booking another flight costs a fortune. Unless it’s the airport’s fault that one missed their flight, they will be paying for another ticket. With a vacation waiting in the wings the traveler is left strapped. They have to come up with more money for a flight somehow and unless they are rolling in the dough they will have to sacrifice something to get to their destination – or call off the whole thing.

Personalized Service

Limo service to the airport can save the day. Unlike a cab, they are extremely professional. A cab can be, but they are also not quite as dependable. It’s a bit like playing Russian roulette, a cab driver isn’t guaranteed to be a stress-free experience as there’s no written guarantee the driver will be punctual let alone professional.

Picture this, a cab shows up late to get the traveler to the airport and as a result he or she is late to an important meeting. Not only is this counter-productive but the individual is costing the company money which doesn’t look good at all.

With limo service to the airport, one is booking a vehicle for a specific time slot. The driver knows they are fully dedicated to getting you there using the best route, and likely knows how to navigate the airport well. They will not be in a rush to drop travelers off to get to their next possible fare, but have a window of time that is just for this purpose. Expect them to be early, and offer the most courteous service possible throughout the trip.

Clean and Safe

There’s no measure when it comes to the difference of limo service to the airport and other methods. A reputable service offers great vehicles that are well maintained, clean and impressive to say the least. They also have only expert chauffeurs so no one has to be concerned with the validity of the individual driving them. Most services are sure to have them background checked, drug tested and be sure they have a clean driving record.

All the Extras

Picture being met and greeted outside your residence for limo service to the airport with a smile and handshake from an assigned driver. They help with bags, offer bottled water or other refreshments for an extra enjoyable ride, and then offer airport tips if needed. This seamless experience is completely worth it according to frequent flyers.

Some other extras that may be included with limo service to the airport are:

· Competitive hourly rates

· 24-hour booking and customer service

· Flight tracking to be aware of delays or cancellations

In short, anyone travelling via plane should definitely go with a professional drive as opposed to any other unreliable source. The peace of mind associated with the experience is worth it in the long run

America’s Pride – Delta Airlines and Sun Country Airlines

Traveling on cheap Delta Airlines flights has become easier than ever before, and traveling via Delta Airlines has become something of a prestige in recent years. Perhaps this has to do with Delta’s illustrious history and its tradition of providing excellent service and comfort to its passengers. Originally founded as a crop-dusting operation, it began passenger service in 1929 under its present name. Since then, it has expanded its services to various destinations, both domestic and international. At present, it serves 319 destinations and it has found for itself a niche in the airline industry that flies over the American skies.

With Delta Airlines reservations, you can be assured of expecting the best from your in-flight experience regardless of where your destination lies. In-flight Wi-Fi connectivity enables you to be connected with family and business associates while you recline comfortably on the high-quality seats specifically designed to provide the ultimate relaxing experience you can hope for. Power outlets are available to charge your electronic devices; in-flight entertainment contains a great selection of movies, TV programs, music and games that would certainly prevent boredom from creeping in. The in-flight meal service and complimentary beverages are sure to tantalize your taste buds and to ensure a gastronomic extravaganza!

On the other hand, if you get your hands on Sun Country travel deals then you would be glad to know about the airline’s history of near collapse and eventual recovery, literally, coming back with a bang. Founded in 1982, Sun Country’s original mandate had been ferrying residents of Minnesota state to warmer destinations (such as Dallas and Miami) in the winter months. Steady growth enabled Sun Country to serve more than 40 destinations throughout the United States, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. Surviving bankruptcy in the 2000s, today Sun Country is one of the most profitable carriers in the States.

When you make Sun Country Airlines reservations you can avail their affordable first class service that allows you to travel with ease and comfort, allowing you to sit back and enjoy the flight with extra leg room and plush seats that enables you to be at ease during the duration of your flight. In-flight entertainment allows you to be absorbed into a large collection of movies, TV programs and music tracks. And as if that was not enough, you can get to eat the best in-flight means and complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

Therefore, what airline you choose for your next trip purely depends on what kind of in-flight experience you would prefer. In any case, both carriers offer exciting last minute flight deals for all of its destinations. So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and check out the amazing deals and make your next holiday plan a reality by traveling in ease, comfort and get the most out of your light by flying on these two exemplary airline services that continue to serve passengers and carry them to their destinations, be they domestic or international metropolitan cities.

Allegiant Airlines – Spend Less and Fly Easy

Allegiant Airlines, also known Allegiant Air, is a low-cost airline operator in United States, headquartered in Las Vegas. The airline operates to more than 70 destinations in America, mostly to small cities that have limited passenger airline service. In fact, in some places it is the only passenger airline that operates. Since it is a low-cost carrier, the airline operates many methods to cut cost. However, they offer good services as well to passengers who travel via this airline. Before flying with this airline, be sure to see their website about any updated regulations they have come up with.

Passengers are recommended to check-in two hours before the departure time. Airline desks at the airport close about 45 minutes before departure. The carry-on baggage that you have with you must be able to fit under your seat or the overhead compartment. The size specified for hand baggage is 9 x 16 x 19 inches. $4 is charged by the airline for every bag; each bag must weigh less than 50 lbs and four bags are permitted per passenger. Bags having excess weight are charged extra.

As mentioned earlier, the airline does several things to cut cost being a low-cost carrier. The airline does not operate flights to and from the destinations daily, but on some days of a week. You will have to make your travel plans according to the schedule, if you are traveling by this airline. Amenities like pillow, beverage, different types of food and beverages etc, are available for purchase on the flight. Passengers are allowed to carry pets in cabin for $50 each way.

Allegiant Air’s fleet consists of planes of different types having an average age of 20.6 years and equipped with economy seating arrangements. The fleet consists of:

• Boeing 757-200

• McDonnell Douglas MD-81

• McDonnell Douglas MD-8

• McDonnell Douglas MD-83

• McDonnell Douglas MD-87

• McDonnell Douglas MD-88

Allegiant Airlines has received many awards and recognition for their services. In August 2010, the airline received Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) Diamond Award of Excellence. Aviation Week ranked the airline as the ‘Top Performing Low-Cost Carrier’ and it has also entered the list of 25 under the Fortune 100 Fastest Growing Companies category.

International Air Travel: Make It Enjoyable and Hassle Free – Part I

International travel is an expensive and time-consuming exercise. Many of us go on international trips either for business or work related trips, to visit families, for studies in foreign countries or just for a vacation. Here are some tips to make this travel pleasant and easy on you and your pockets.

Planning your trip:

Plan your trip well in advance, if possible. This presents you an opportunity to get better air ticket deals. Airfares for international travels are seasonal. There are three main seasons: Low, Shoulder and Peak. Traveling in peak season is always the most expensive. If your trip is not time bound, plan to travel in the low season to get cheapest and low airfares. For travel in peak season, shop for deals well in advance. This assures you good price, your choice of airlines and your choice of dates. If possible, keep the travel dates flexible, as that would help you in getting lower fares. There is a notion that you can get cheap air tickets if you wait till the last minute. This is not necessarily true and during the peak season, you may run the risk of not getting a seat on any airlines at all.

There are many ways on how you can save money. Many airlines have different fares for weekday and weekend travel. If you are planning to break your journey midway, some airlines offer free stopovers while others charge a fee. Sometimes, direct / non-stop flights are expensive than the ones with one or more stops. Less known airlines can offer hard to resist deals. You can either call individual airlines to get their air fares and then compare or search on travel websites, which offer online booking facilities. While calling individual airlines can be a time consuming and tedious process, online booking sites may not be the right option if you have a few twists in your trip. And both these options may not give you access to the promotional and discount fares. The best bet will be to call a travel agent and let them do the job for you.

Travel agents are a good source to get great deals. They can help you in finding deals with more than one airline and can offer tickets for discounted prices. They have access to almost all airlines and have the expertise to search for the cheapest tickets in the market. Travel agents are a great source of information. Do not hesitate to ask them questions. They can provide valuable tips on how you can save money. Travel agents deal with more than one traveler at a time and hence may not be able to give you the details in the first call. Give them your trip details and give them some time and they can come up with really good deals for you. Travel agents are easy to spot as many of them have websites. A travel agency with excellent customer service is an asset. Some travel sites like [http://www.TravelWorldServices], [http://www.LowfareAlways.com], etc. offer personalized over-the-phone services on travel to various destinations across the world.

There are several travel agencies around the world. However, it is important that you choose the right travel agency, which offers the best customer service at the cost of a few additional dollars. This is better than booking the ticket online or offline through a travel agency who may offer really cheap deal but may end up not delivering you the ticket or not confirming your seats.

So the first step to planning your next international trip is to get yourself a really good travel agent.

How to Book Direct Flights to Mumbai

Mumbai is the business capital of India and the capital of Maharashtra. The most happening city of India never sleeps in night and its magnificence and splendor make it different from other cities. India’s largest stock exchange is situated here. It is previously known as “Bombay”. It will be unfair if we don’t discuss about Bollywood while talking about Mumbai. It is the biggest film industry in India. Everybody wants to visit Mumbai to see this enthralling and vibrating city.

The best way to commute to Mumbai is by air. There are various airlines which operate their direct flights to Mumbai on daily basis. It has the busiest airport in the country in terms of passenger traffic which is known as Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. It caters needs of millions of passengers every day because it is well connected to the entire world.

You can get flights to Mumbai from all the major airports in India. You can also avail cheap air tickets to reach here as many airlines usually offer discounted air fares. Whether it is your vacation or business trip you can get direct flights on daily basis. Various airlines offers huge discount on air tickets to reach here if purchased well in advance. Different airlines operate their direct flight to Mumbai like Jet Airways, Indian Airlines, SpiceJet, GoAir, etc.

There are various places to visit in this city which attracts thousands of visitors. If you are planning to visit the city then the main attractions are Essel World, Marine Drive, Gateway of India, Hanging Garden, and Film City etc. To visit Mumbai all you have to do is book your air tickets and visit the thriving metropolis.

As the urge to visit the city is continuously rising, airlines are also increasing number of flights from all the major cities to Mumbai. Large numbers of flights are available from New Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Goa, Kolkata, Ahmadabad, etc. There are international flights which are from London, New York, Tokyo, Dubai, Singapore, etc. Now airline companies are initiating cheap flights on almost every route. To get a cheap flight ticket to Mumbai it is advised to book your ticket online or call your travel agent to know the best deal. You can also check information on their websites and can confirm tickets online.

To avail discount on the air tickets you have to negotiate with the travel agent or the airline companies. You can also book your ticket in Low Cost Carrier like JetLite, SpiceJet which offer lucrative discount on the tickets. They always promote various schemes which give lot of discount and additional services. Low cost carriers also provide various facilities to make their airline more popular among mass.

Most of the airlines have also implemented online flight booking facility on their website to make it easy for travelers to book air tickets. Air ticket booking can also be done by calling the customer service of the airline. Purchasing air tickets directly from the airline can also save you huge money as this day airline doesn’t’ has to pay commission to any travel agent.

Traveling in India? Great Meet and Assist Service by Spice Jet Airlines

When something goes wrong, we complain to the world. However, when something goes better than we expected, the credit doesn’t necessarily always go where it should. I’m writing this blog post/ article/ review to give that credit where it’s due.

 

My parents, both of who are in their late 60’s, were flying to Bangalore in April to meet relatives there. All of us were booked on an early morning SpiceJet flight. I normally do my trips with them since I feel uncomfortable about them traveling alone. However, as chance would have it, an important & un-avoidable business trip came up during the same period and I had to cancel my ticket.

 

Worried, I called up the airline and found out that they have a “Meet & Assist” service. The service was free of charge so I didn’t have too many expectations from it, nonetheless I chose to avail it, since that would lend me some peace of mind.

 

On the day of the departure, I drove my parents down to the airport unsure of how they’ll manage without me around or even if this “Meet and Assist” thing would work well.

 

Anyhow, here’s their account of the journey from the Delhi Airport to Bangalore when I spoke to them after they reached.

 

My parents were met by a ground staff at the check in counter who helped them through all the formalities and helped them to check in quickly. My mother has arthritis, making it difficult for her to climb stairs and such. Noticing this, a SpiceJet staff helped her aboard the bus and arranged for a seat in the over crowded bus.

 

Inside the aircraft, my parents were guided to their seats and the in flight staff put their hand luggage in the hold. My mother is a jittery passenger like some and not really comfortable during the initial takeoff and landing. However, she found both quite comfortable on the flight which helped her relax for the journey.

 

Since this was an early morning flight, I had pre-ordered breakfast for both of them. They quite liked the food which had a healthy variety and good taste. The same staff member who had helped them with their luggage also got them complimentary tea and cookies. 

 

Check out again was a breeze since the on-ground staff was there to help. They also rolled the trolley for them till the exit point.

 

Mom and dad are of course really happy about the five star treatment they got from the SpiceJet staff. What makes me really happy is that finally there is an airline which is sensitive to the needs of senior citizens and an airline that I can let my parents fly alone on.

 

Definitely recommended.

Luxury Travel on a Shoestring Budget – Money Saving Travel Tips

Love to travel but don’t have the thousands of dollars to do it?

You can get luxury travel on a shoestring budget by planning your vacation or trip just a bit more carefully.

Read a few of these tips, and then go on your well-deserved getaway without burning a hole in your pocket.

Always remember: When planning your trip, timing is key.

For example, school vacation weeks are the worst times to plan trips. Most parents have no choice but to travel at these high-peak seasons, so school vacation periods in any country are always going to be crowded. The airfare is always sky high – no pun intended.

If you’ve traveled during these peak seasons, you may noticed that coach seats during a school vacation week could cost you more money than a first class ticket during the off-season. So remember, unless you MUST travel during these peak periods, avoid winter and spring breaks at all costs.

Here’s another important tip: Regardless of how you decide to book your luxury travel arrangements – either through a travel agent or through an online travel website – make sure that you know exactly who you are working with. For example, your best bet to save on a hotel and car rental package is probably going to be with Priceline.com’s “name your own price” option. However, Priceline.com is not the best choice for international airline travel. You’d be better off with an agent. Either way you go, try to use the same travel agent or service. This makes sure that you build a solid relationship with the company you’re dealing with. If you are loyal to them, they will be loyal to you. Always remember, they want your business.

Think about how frequent flier programs work: if you choose their airline consistently, they’ll reward you by giving you a free flight. Granted, you’ll need to do a lot of flying if you’re just going to earn points sitting on a plane, but with a little research, you’ll find ways to make loyalty programs work in your favor. When booking online or with an agent, make sure you always ask questions. You will never get anywhere from being silent.

If for some reason the company you’re working with makes an error, be sure to take advantage of it. Most companies want to keep up a high level of customer satisfaction, and they rely on their guests to provide them with information on how to achieve that. See if they could possibly upgrade an aspect of your trip. Your coach tickets could turn into first class, or maybe your suite could turn into a deluxe version. Don’t be scared to ask for upgrades. If they say no, then you’re no worse off than before. Your criticism will ensure that yourself (and other travelers) will have a satisfactory luxury vacation.

When you’re looking your vacation online, you should search travel review sites for agents or an agencies who have shown they willing to work with unhappy customers, an have proven that they excel at customer service. Many times, customer service representatives get aggravated with customers who complain, or the service reps are based in a foreign country and can only read from a script. And you probably already know that scripts don’t cover every possible customer service issue that a traveler may encounter.

You’ll find just about any travel service rated on a review site somewhere. Just keep in mind that people like to complain about bad experiences, so you’ll find many more complaints than good reviews for even the most well-known travel services. So take the complaints with a grain of salt. Look for the most commonly re-occurring complaints (like bad customer service). Most bad experiences are not usually the fault of the service. Rather the experience occurred because of the traveler’s misunderstanding of the travel site policies.

* * * Read your travel site’s terms and conditions BEFORE you book reservations * * *

You want to consider all aspects of your deal; not just the price tag. Quality wins over quantity in some cases. You find a rate online offering a room at $20.00 a night. It may sound appealing, right? Maybe you’re taking your family to Disney World and you figured you just need someplace to rest your head at night. But when you check-in, that’s when you discover the bathroom is shared with everyone on the floor, there’s police tape strung across the the door to the room next to yours, and you see prostitutes wandering in the parking lot. Maybe this deal WAS too good to be true.

Do your research. There’s plenty of information available to educate yourself on discounted travel mastery. Most of it is available for free; some of it you may have to pay for if you don’t want to do the research. Go to travel websites and forums specific to the type of trip you’re planning to take: Cruise, adventure tour, etc. If you are itching to take a trip that you don’t want to pay full price for, and you opt to pay for money-saving travel information online, I’d recommend that you only consider offers that give you a 100% money-back guarantee. If you don’t get great money-saving travel tips, at least you can get your money back.

Follow these simple practices, and you’ll have the luxury you want on a shoestring budget.

Where to Find Airline Deals on Business Class Seats

Air travel can be costly and, of course, tiring. Flying business class, however, offers the opportunity to make the most of the journey-a great way to travel and to reach the destination invigorated and stress-free. Business class flights are pampered with top-notch lounges, multi-course meals, Internet accessibility, private screens and entertainment systems. Getting expert advice and travel tips can therefore worth the effort in finding airline deals to make flying experience the best it can be. Flying in business or first class, especially, at a price of an airline deal on a business class seat is very well the Holy Grail of air travel. And there are ways to work the upgrades deals on business class seats.

Airlines’ Own Websites

Airlines’ own websites offer great possibilities to find the lowest available fares on business class seats and they may show many fare options. One of the advantages of finding an airline deal on a business class seat on the airlines sites is that the sale s established directly with the airline. It becomes swell more so when flights are cancelled for it will be easier to negotiate an alternative with an airline agent when ticket is purchased directly with them.

Frequent Flyer Miles Program

The frequent flyer miles program with an “elite” status member offers a better chance with more options and better odds at getting that upgrade for a deal on a business class seat. Using frequent flyer miles for an upgrade to a business class seat offers better value for the miles used compared to using miles to purchase a coach award ticket. Upgrade inventory, though, can be limited. It is best to book as far in advance as possible and be flexible about mid-week travel, if possible. Further, upgrades can be doable days and hours before departure-by being on the waiting list.

Travel Agents

The professionals in air travel are the travel agents with the relevant experience about the nuances of air travel. A good and reputable travel agent may well worth the help to find airline deals on business class seats, especially for foreign travel with complex itineraries. Helpful agents do all the work and help eliminate the stress and inconvenience of plodding through endless discount-air fare websites. Also travel agents often have access to special consolidated fares that are not offered directly by the airlines. And knowing all the conditions and restrictions associated with a consolidated fare ticket is key to getting that good value.

Airline-Independent Sites

Airline-independent sites are a good resource for surveying all the airline offerings at once. Among the most popular airline-independent sites where to find deals on business class seats include sites such as:

  • Expedia: one of the world’s leading online travel companies using leading technology-websites, mobile apps and Facebook page to discover destination ideas, get information about flights, hotels, care rentals, cruises, and more. Expedia also offers member rewards program with hotel price guarantees, earning points booking for others, and VIP access hotel room benefits.
  • Orbitz for Business: offers a full service and fully integrated approach to travel and expense management by combining leading technology with expert support to achieve savings in travel expense needed.
  • Travelocity: offers the most comprehensive guarantee in the travel industry. The Travelocity Guarantee is key in Travelocity’s business model, guaranteeing the best prices in air travel-that matches lower prices online or will refund the difference if a lower price is found elsewhere.
  • Kayak: a tech company co-founded by Expedia, Travelocity, and Orbitz, with a different approach in air travel and focus on making airline travel better. At Kayak.Com website and Kayak mobile apps on any SmartPhone or tablet, one can compare hundreds of travel sites in one comprehensive, fast and intuitive display and choose where to book.
  • Cook Travel: offers negotiated first class airline tickets and exclusive business class airfare discounts. Cook Travel offers airfare savings of 10 to 60 percent off, as well as 2 for 1 airfare discounts worth pursuing.
  • WholesaleFlights: a boutique travel agency specializing in discount business and first class flights. WholeSale.Com offers customer service with the personal touch of a friendly travel concierge helping with the research and providing several discount flight options in both business and first class.
  • OneTravel: offers a wide selection of business and first class flights with a low fare promise subject to terms and conditions, good for website bookings only.
  • CheapOair: also offers opportunities to explore cheap business class flight deals.

Other Ideas

Taking advantage of what is known as fare buckets is also a great way to gain savings in air travel. The further in advance a ticket is purchased the more fare options there are. On some flights there may be over a dozen different fares for coach, business or first class seats. However, it is often the case, that the cheaper the fare, the more restrictions and conditions there are attached to that bucket. And the few ways to find a cheaper fare bucket seat may be to change the time of departure or leaving a day earlier or later.

Further, there is also the website, ExpertFlyer.Com, an airline-independent website that does not sell tickets; rather, the site lists all the fares and rules for all flights. ExpertFlyer.Com is designed to meet needs of the frequent flyer, the airline mileage program “elite-tier” passengers, professional travel managers, and the occasional air traveler looking for the best values. ExpertFlyer.Com is a 24/7 real-time powerful air travel information service and offers information on seat maps on specific flights that show which flights are occupied or not.

Generally, the cost and rigors of air travel can be daunting. Ways these rigors can be minimized is to travel smart. Other useful resources worth taking a look at when making travel plans are websites such as SeatGuru and SeatExpert-sites with proven technology that offer designs of the cabins and graphical layouts of seats and the pros and cons for the various seats on the planes.

Know Your Air Travel Rights

If you have ever had a flight cancelled, had a boarding pass but were denied boarding because they overbooked, been bumped just before boarding, sat on the tarmac for hours, or find that your luggage has been lost or delayed on arrival at your destination, you know how maddening it can be.

This is especially stressful if it’s not just you and now you have a melee of angry passengers looking to re book. To put it mildly they are stressed and upset and make it obvious, Then you have the drunk and the crying kids all of which add to the stress level when all you want is to board a plane and get to your destination on time.

In all of these cases, the airline owes you for your trouble. Sometimes it’s by law and other times it’s just good customer service – not all airlines are equal in the way they handle a variety of problems. Here are some of your legal rights you may not know you have..

Research and Know Your Rights in Advance

It makes sense to know your rights before you book. When you are stranded at the airport is no time to start researching to find out what you are entitled to and what rights you have in the particular situation you end up in. There are two resources that will help you understand your rights the US Department of Transportation Airline Passenger Protection Bill and the Air Consumer Flying Rights.

Locking in your Fare in advance of Payment

When booking a flight you can reserve and lock in your price for 24 hours or more without payment depending on the flight being booked. This works when booking direct with the airline or with your Travel Agent. This won’t necessarily work if booking your own fare online. At the time of making the reservation you must provide your exact name as it is on your passport or government ID. Names cannot be changed and if it’s wrong the reservation would be canceled starting back at the beginning looking for a new fare likely at a new more expensive price. This process gives you 24 hours or more to decide if that’s the flight you want before making payment. Remember that any requested changes during that time will cancel the reservation and start you back at the beginning with new information.

Prices do change quickly in the airline industry depending on the volumes booked on the flights. Booking last minute will likely cost you a lot more than booking 2 to 3 weeks out. When you get a good quote on the flight you want lock it in while you make a decision rather than losing out on the price while you decide.

Bumped Flights

You may not be aware but if you are bumped from a flight or if your luggage is lost or delayed you have a right to ask for cash. If they ask for volunteers because a flight is overbooked and offer a voucher for a future flight or a combination of cash and voucher most people will accept this. If that’s good with you then take it, but according to Airfare Watchdog you can ask for a cash payout on the spot depending on the amount of delay time In getting to your destination.:

Under US Department of Transportation rules bumped passengers subject to short delays will receive compensation equal to double the price of their tickets, while those subject to longer delays would receive payments of four times the value of their tickets. There are limits in place so check the DOT bill of rights for the latest compensation limits.

Short delays are 1-2 hours for domestic flights, and 1-4 hours for international flights. Longer delays are for times more than these. For outright cancellations, the airline owes a full refund, even on non-refundable flights.

Delayed or Lost Luggage

If your luggage is delayed or lost you are also entitled to compensation. Some airlines offer nothing other than delivery to your home or destination hotel when the luggage arrives, others offer a small amount of cash to cover essentials like toiletries, and others might offer a voucher for a discount on a future flight. The law actually says you are entitled to up to $3,300 for luggage delayed on a domestic flights and up to $1,500 for luggage delayed on an International Flight. The amount is determined by how long you are without your luggage. If the luggage is totally lost then you are entitled to the full compensation. Check the DOT bill of rights for the latest compensation limits.

Airlines are also required to apply the same baggage compensation for each segment of your trip if you have more than one flight including those with interline and code share partners.

Tarmac Delays

The amount of time the airlines are allowed to keep you sitting on a plane on the tarmac before they allow you to deboard has changed. On a domestic flight the airline cannot keep you on the plane for more than 3 hours before allowing you to deplane. On International flights the amount of time they can keep you on the tarmac is 4 hours. The airlines are required to provide you with water and washroom access at all times during the delay..

Summary

Airlines will often give you what works for them, glossing over whats best for you and your passenger rights. Your best defense is to know your rights and to be willing to follow up with them when you have to.

Most airlines will try to give you a travel voucher, a discount on a future ticket, a flight upgrade or additional frequent flier miles instead of cash. If you are happy with any of these take them.

The airlines will do their best to re book you on another flight or with another airline. Rather than wait in the line up after a flight is canceled call the Airline direct to re book, you’ll get booked much faster than waiting in line. Make a note of the airline contact number and keep it handy just in case.

Better to be prepared and to know your rights before you fly, then you’ll know exactly what to do if and when the times comes.

In my next article I will elaborate on how to complain and how to go about getting what you are entitled to.