When it comes to air travel, there’s a growing rift between informed and uninformed passengers.
I see it every day. A reader contacts me asking for help with a refund on a nonrefundable airline ticket or to change the name on an unchangeable reservation or to get their expired airline miles unexpired. Common sense tells you it shouldn’t be a problem. But spend a little bit of time studying the rules, and you’d know it is.
Ah, rules. They’re dense, cryptic, wrapped in legalese. But they do not apply to all customers.
A small subset of air travelers has taken the time to obsessively study every restriction, paragraph and clause. They often spend hours figuring out a creative way around those silly roadblocks that are meant to extract more money from customers. They get “free” airline tickets, as they did last week. That doesn’t make these “hackers” better or more deserving of the preferred treatment they get — they’re just better-informed. [continue]
Here’s a New Year’s resolution we can probably all agree on: Don’t be a jerk when you’re on the road.
There’s something about travel — whether you’re flying, driving or sailing — that brings out the jerk in all of us. Like the guy in seat 26B just in front of me right now on a flight from Honolulu to Los Angeles, who is probably a nice guy on the ground. But put him on a plane, and shortly after takeoff, he jams his seat into my knees without so much as an apology.
You don’t have to fly frequently to know the airline industry has some of the most ridiculous rules in the travel business. But if you fly enough, you may not have to follow all of them.
For example: Most passengers are herded through boarding areas in large, disorganized groups. Unless you’re an elite-level frequent flier; then you skip through a “breezeway” or over a red carpet, away from the long line, directly to your preferred seat. Frequent fliers also get to shortcut the lengthy security line at some airports, and they don’t have to pay many checked luggage fees and other surcharges. [continue]
I’m frequently accused of using this site as a bully pulpit, which is, of course, completely true.
I leverage this little corner of cyberspace to advocate for travelers who don’t have the clout of an elite-level frequent flier or the power of a corporate travel department to support them when they’re on the road.
Still, there’s something to be learned from listening to the other side — the folks responsible for inventing the fees and silly rules you have to put up with, the ones whose elite status affords them god-like treatment, the people who, let’s face it, don’t see the world the same way we do. [continue]