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Bad Weather, Flight Delays or Cancelations and You

Bad Weather Flight Delays and Cancelations

So far, this has been a nasty year for weather: Lots of snow (remember the white stuff disrupting the Dallas Super Bowl festivities?) and lots of stormy weather.

Recently, FareCompare Editor Anne McDermott got caught up in some fairly run-of-the-mill storms at DFW that nonetheless disrupted her flight plans, but I’ll let her tell you about it – and how she coped:

“All I can say is, thank goodness I read Rick’s tips in Bad Weather Flight Delays and Canceled Flights: What to do Next because it really helped. I followed his suggestion to ‘multi-task’ by immediately getting on the phone as I also got in the long line at the American Airlines counter; the phone agent got me another flight so when I finally got to speak to the counter agent, I was all set. At least for the moment.”

“Unfortunately, the storms continued, and my back-up flight was canceled. The gate agent then got me on standby for another flight and I made sure I went to my newly assigned gate immediately because I knew that if I wasn’t present (or not close enough to hear them call my name for the flight), I’d be out of luck. As it turned out, there were plenty of people on the standby list who weren’t there when their names were called, but because I was, I was able to leap-frog over them and get a seat on the plane.”

“More great advice from Rick: I used a carryon bag – so I never worried about a checked-bag going astray in all the confusion.”

“By the way, I just want to add that every step of the way during this long day, the American Airline reps were just terrific – patient, calm and helpful; best of all, they constantly provided us delayed passengers with meaningful updates.”

This is Rick again, and I just want to remind all travelers out there that summer weather can be much worse than winter for flight delays and disruptions. If you’re always prepared, you’ll have a much easier time of it. And, as always, safe travels.

Thanks, Kevin Smith. For tackling a touchy airline topic.

February 9, 2011 | Posted in: Passengers,Southwest | 0 comments

Kevin Smith Loses Weight

Kevin Smith has lost 65 pounds.

You remember Kevin Smith; he’s the Hollywood writer/director who was ousted from a Southwest flight last year because he was deemed too large for his seat – even though (as Smith pointed out), he was seated with armrests down and seatbelt buckled as per airline policy.

So Smith did what anyone would do if they were unhappy and wanted everyone to know about it; he tweeted. To all his followers – all 1.6 million of them.

Recently, Smith told CNN’s Joy Behar that he’s lost a lot of weight. That’s quite an achievement. But I’d rather applaud him – and thank him – for something else:

Kevin, in his own unique way, brought a very touchy subject to light last year; one that the airlines still don’t want to touch with a 30 foot pole* and he did so even though that meant subjecting himself to a barrage of “too-fat-to-fly” stories. Unfortunately, since then, the airlines haven’t provided much clarity on the issue of “passengers of size” – a favorite airline euphemism. So, there’s little incentive for those who really do need two seats, to purchase them; they know the airlines will accommodate them if there’s an empty seat.

Of course, these days, there’s no guarantee of an extra empty seat on any plane. As Kevin Smith found out last year.

*My editor asked Southwest to comment; if we hear anything, we’ll let you know.

Photo of Kevin Smith from CNN.com

Airline Fees + Internet = Disaster (Now and Then)

February 8, 2011 | Posted in: Airline News,Passengers | 0 comments

Airline Fees Internet Disaster

You may have heard me talk about how we’re in the midst of a new “Airline Fee Generation” – with fees for all kinds of services we used to get for nothing (and please see our Domestic Airline Fee Chart is this is new to you).

Anyway, dozens of Belgian students apparently weren’t up to date on all the fees imposed by Dublin-based airline Ryanair, and got blindsided at the airport (they were asked to pay an additional $47 for oversized and/or overweight carryon bags). When they raised a stink about it – some called it a “mutiny” – they were dumped from the flight.

I can guess what happened; while governments have tried (sometimes successfully) to legislate full disclosure on fees, let’s face it – internet users are notorious for not reading the fine print.

Hey, we’re all guilty of this from time to time; for instance, how many times have you gone to iTunes and clicked “accept” without reading up on their new policies? I thought so.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: know before you go.

Attention Travelers in Cairo, Egypt – Evacuation Flights Now Underway

January 31, 2011 | Posted in: News,Passengers,Travel Safety | 0 comments

Cairo Egypt Evacuation Flights

I don’t have to tell you about the difficult situation in Cairo and other areas of Egypt; it’s all over the news.

If you have family or friends there in need of assistance, please go to Travel.State.Gov, which is the U.S. State Department’s website – and see further contact information below.

Emergency Flights

The U.S. government has begun flying travelers out of Cairo today, January 31 – see these FAQ’s for more on these emergency flights. You must let the embassy know you want a place on these flights, which for now, have been departing from Cairo International Airport’s HAJ Terminal 4. Priority is given to those with medical problems.

Contact the U.S. State Dept.

Here is how to get in touch with U.S. government officials monitoring the situation in Egypt:

Travelers in Egypt

Contact or go in person to the U.S. Embassy in Cairo (if it seems safe to get there):

The Embassy of the United States of America – Cairo
5 Tawfik Diab Street
Garden City, Cairo
Telephone: (20-2) 2797 3300, Fax: (20-2) 2797 3200

Website: http://cairo.usembassy.gov/

From Travel.State.Gov: U.S. citizens in Egypt are encouraged to enroll in the Smart Travelers Enrollment Program (STEP) at the following website: https://travelregistration.state.gov.  U.S. citizens without internet access may enroll directly at the U.S. Embassy.  By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency.

Six Reasons to Hop on a Plane this Summer

June 10, 2010 | Posted in: Airfare News,Airline News,DOT,Passengers | 0 comments

six reasons plane summer

Attention would-be vacationers: go ahead, find that cheap airfare and get on a plane.

There are good reasons to do so.

I found six, and you may know more; mine include better passenger protections, lower airline fees and occasionally free pizza.

And that reminds me – I’ll save a slice for that alert TSA screener at the Indianapolis airport security line, too.

Airport Security: More Body Scanners, More Controversy

May 13, 2010 | Posted in: Passengers,Security | 10 comments

airport security body scanners controversy

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says 300+ body scanners are on the way to an airport near you, so – get used to it.

Or get used to a patdown – your choice when it comes to going through these body imaging machines (you may remember, I went through an airport body scan machine and, no complaints here).

Meanwhile, the controversy continues – including an ugly episode of alleged workplace violence involving TSA employees; check it out in, “Security Update: More TSA Body Scan Machines Coming to an Airport Near You”.

Flight Attendant Sounds Off: Carryon Bags and Bad Attitudes

flight attendant carryon bags passengers

Ever wonder what that flight attendant on your plane is thinking?

Well, wonder no more. Or maybe I should say, now we know what one flight attendant is thinking – and he has a lot to say about negativity on the part of passengers and crew, and why the job just isn’t much fun anymore.

Oh, yes – the flight attendant also mentions passengers who simply dump their carryon bags at his feet. 

Check out the article, called “An Airline Flight Attendant Sounds Off on Bags, Bad Attitudes and Today’s Flying Experience” – it’s a pretty good read if I do say so myself.

Should Airline Passengers Undergo IQ Tests before Flying?

May 7, 2010 | Posted in: Airline News,Passengers | 4 comments


Ever been on a plane with a really “bad passenger”?

I’m talking about the kind that gets your flight diverted – like the passenger who thought he was an alien and want to fly the plane (make that, spaceship)?

Or maybe you’ve sat in the gate area as two female passengers attempted to take a corpse on a plane.

I think you’re starting to get the idea why I ask, “Should Airline Passengers Undergo IQ Tests before Flying?”

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