26 November 2008

Skiers plan to slalom around new baggage fees

As skiers seek to lighten their load, fees may help boost resorts' rentals
Arno Balzarini / AP file

With new airline fees on checking luggage, including oversized bags, the cost of a vacation can rise by several hundred dollars. So skiers are cutting back and renting equipment at resorts instead of bringing their own. View related photos

When Bill Getty helped organize a ski trip for fellow MBA students at Northwestern University, he told them to leave one thing behind — their skis.
"We had 25 people," Getty said of a trip to Argentina in August, when it was winter in the southern hemisphere. "That's a lot of baggage fees."
Since last ski season, airlines have imposed new fees on checking luggage that could boost the cost of a family vacation significantly.
On American Airlines, for example, a coach customer checking skis, a boot bag and a suitcase for apres-ski clothing would pay $40 each way in luggage fees.
Skiing was already an expensive hobby, and the airline charges are giving skiers even more reason to reconsider their plans.
Some say they are cutting back to fewer trips this winter, while others are scouring the Internet for deals on lodging or lift tickets that might offset the higher cost of getting there.
Matt Cohen, who works in finance for a housing developer in San Francisco, had planned two trips to Utah this winter — an annual outing with his brother, and a friend's bachelor party.
"For financial reasons, I can't do both, and I'm not going to miss the bachelor party," Cohen said.


Travel tips for tough timesOct. 12: The travel industry is hoping that when the going gets tough, the tough get going, and they’re making all sorts of deals and incentives to make it happen. NBC’s Lester Holt speaks with TavelZoo’s Gabe Saglie.
Today show

Airline baggage policies

Baggage policies differ by airlines. Read the rules on the carrier's Web site or ask an agent before you fly. Here are fees that some leading U.S. carriers charge for a first, second and third checked bag, plus special rules for ski equipment on domestic flights. Note that most airlines waive baggage fees for elite members of frequent-flier programs, first- and business-class travelers and full-fare coach passengers.

American Airlines:
$15, $25 and $100 for first, second and third checked bag. The airline treats skis and ski bags as one checked item.

Delta Air Lines:
$15, $25 and $125. Ski bag and boot bag count as one piece of luggage; no oversize fee but can be charged $90 and up if they exceed 50 pounds.

United Airlines:
$15, 25 and $125. Ski bag and boot bag count as one piece of luggage; no oversize fee but can be charged $125 if they exceed 50 pounds. Only boots and binding allowed in boot bag.

Continental Airlines:
$15, $25 and $100. Ski bag and boot bag up to 50 pounds count as one piece of luggage; so does a bag with one or two snowboards. Boot bag can't exceed 62 inches in length, width and height combined.

Southwest Airlines:
$0, $0 and $25. One pair of skis, poles and boots count as one item; one snowboard and pair of boots also count as one item. Skis longer than 62 inches are charged a $50 oversize fee, according to a Southwest spokeswoman.

A breakdown of revenue at the average U.S. ski resort:
Lift tickets, 46.1 percent.
Food and beverage, 13.3 percent.
Lessons, 10.6 percent.
Retail, 6.1 percent.
Rentals, 4.2 percent.
Snowplay and tubing, 1.9 percent.
Property leases, 1.3 percent.
Other, 6.8 percent.
Sources: Airline Web sites and officials; National Ski Areas Association.

So Cohen is looking for lodging for "a bunch of guys who don't really care how nice the place is." He will pay the airline fee to carry his skis while cutting down on all his other baggage for the four-day trip.
"I'll wear my ski boots on the plane if I have to," Cohen said, his voice giving only the slightest hint that he might be joking. "It's not a cheap trip, and we're all scared about losing our jobs."
The move by airlines to impose baggage fees may have the unintended consequence of helping another industry — ski resorts, which depend on rental shops to augment the money they make from selling lift tickets.
Traditionally, advanced skiers and even intermediates used their own skis. Rentals were considered cheap, entry-level gear. Wearing a pair meant advertising that you were a novice from the flatlands.
But particularly in the Rockies, rental shops have been adding high-end skis. Winter Park in Colorado spent $250,000 on new rental equipment. Other areas offer concierge-like service, delivering skis and snowboards right to guests' hotels and condos.
The resorts sell the rental service as an added convenience for fly-in vacationers because it isn't always a cheaper alternative. The cost of renting basic skis ranges from $20 to $30 and up a day, and could quickly eclipse the airline baggage charges. The resorts are touting rentals as a no-fuss alternative to buying a new pair that might be used only one week a year.
"There might be a silver lining in all this for us," said Michael Berry, president of the National Ski Areas Association. "If you live in Dallas or Greenwich, Conn., you don't need to replace your skis. Just grab your boots and jump on an airplane."
Berry admitted that his resort members initially looked at airline baggage fees as a big problem, adding to the burden of selling a pricey sport during a weak economy. About half of all skiers fly to the slopes, according to a survey by his association.

21 November 2008

TSA agent helped himself to a $47,900 camera (and more!)

It's no secret that I'm not a fan of the TSA. While I fully understand the importance of keeping our planes and airports safe, I'm just not sure the TSA is up to the job. The agency is also plagued by bad PR, mainly because of incompetent staff members and insane decisions that impact us as travelers.The latest in a long lineup of bad press for the agency involves TSA screener Pythias Brown. This 48 year old resident of Maplewood, NJ was supposed to keep bad stuff off the plane, but instead, he was helping himself to valuable items from the bags of people entrusting him with their belongings. Pythias started small, stealing cameras, laptop computers, gaming consoles and eventually moved on to the good stuff including a video camera belonging to CNN, and a $47,900 camera stored inside the bag of an HBO employee.The items were sold on Ebay, and as you can see from his feedback listing, these were not cheap items. His greed eventually came back to haunt him, when CNN found one of their cameras listed on Ebay.

With a little help from the local police department and the USPS, Brown was apprehended. When agents entered his house, they found 66 cameras, 31 laptop computers, jewelry, lenses, GPS devices and more. The total value of the stolen items is well over $200,000, and if you have ever lost an expensive item when flying from Newark Liberty Airport, you'll be thrilled to hear that the TSA is taking the matter "seriously".

News like this just reinforces the need to keep anything of value out of your checked bags.Of course, this also makes me wonder just how on earth a TSA agent is able to leave the sterile area of his or her local airport with a $47,900 camera hidden in their bag. We passengers get screened, so perhaps it is time to start screening TSA staff when they enter and leave the airport?

Shoe Scanners Being Tested at LAX, Albuquerque

Posted by Matt Phillips

November 20, 2008, 9:32 am

Our readers often cite shoe removal as one of the most annoying elements of TSA security screenings.
So I figured I should pass along a bit of info I picked up on Monday when I got to sit down with Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff and TSA Administrator Kip Hawley (more on that soon) during a meeting the officials held with a group of bloggers.
We recently told you that the TSA’s hunt for a high-functioning shoe-scanner has been unfruitful so far. In October 2007, the TSA concluded a trial of a GE-made shoe scanner at Orlando International Airport, saying the device did not “meet minimum detection standards.” The manufacturer is continuing to work on the scanner. The TSA is also testing options from other manufacturers.
During the meeting Monday, Hawley mentioned that shoe scanners — made by a different manufacturer than GE — are currently in testing at LAX as well as Albuquerque International. So if you’re heading through there any time soon, keep your eyes peeled.
While we’re on the subject of shoe-removal, I might as well mention that the TSA is in the early stages of a new advertising push — — in conjunction with the Ad Council — which seeks to explain some of the thinking behind unpopular policies such as liquids in baggies and shoe removals. You can keep your eyes peeled for them too.
Image: Poster for “I Wouldn’t Be In Your Shoes,” 1948, Via Everett Digital

20 November 2008

Delta charges more to fly pet than owner

Hello All BlkAv8tor2003 Checking In!!!

As I cruise the net looking for stories to help todays traveler I found this one about traveling with Fido or Morris the Cat. The first part is an account from the original author of the post but after that I went in and posted info from Delta's website regarding traveling with your pets. Most airlines are pretty even on this data but as always "Be Proactive, Not Reactive" and check your airline early so there are no suprises.
Now just a few things you should know that the airline may not tell you when traveling with a pet.

  • Check-in early-The earlier you check-in the better your chances will be that fixable problems can be resolved pretty easy and quickly.

  • Lap or purse dogs-The little dogs are sometimes cute but they are still dogs and not everyone can tollerate an animal due to allergies. Don't be offended and plan your trip with some flexibility in case you can fly because someone has an allergies. The agent or flight crew (pilots or flight attendants) can and may ask you to check your small dog at least but if you don't want to do that then you may need to think of flying another flight. If that is the situation that you run into (after boarding) you may not have to pay for checking the animal but I wouldn't go into it thinking that you may get over and not have to pay anything. If it's before boarding it would be safe in thinking the agents going to charge you so be prepared for it and plan at least $100.00 as a general price.

  • Temperature-Your animal is not sitting out on the ramp for hours baking in the hot sun in Phoenix or the humidity of florida or Georgia! Airline employees are people too and they wouldn't want to see a dog suffering...many times the employees water the animals, walk them around a bit and even just pet and talk to the animals. When preparing for departure the animals are the very last thing to be loaded and the cargo holds are very cold and is a pressure controlled enviroment.

  • Kennels-Choose your kennel wisely. Remember (in case you didn't know), your dog must be able to stand up and turn around in one complete circle inside the kennel without difficulty. Blankets inside are ok and maybe a chew toy or something to keep your pet occupied couldn't hurt.

  • Common Sense-If you have any questions about what pets can handle in this kind of enviroment check with your airline or vet...NOT your friends and other family members because they will fail to tell you important details! Do your own research and ask questions because the only stupid questions are the ones you don't ask!

  • Medicine-Please check with your vet on medications, tranquilizers and flying with a known sick animal. Many people will sedate their pet for the trip but I'm not a pet owner that takes my pet with me so check with a professional.
So choosing to fly with your pet is something that can be done with proper planning but if your not going to be understanding of what the animal will require to travel then you need to leave the animal at home and not be selfish. So have a good trip and think ahead!

By George Gombossy

November 19, 2008 9:58 AM
(From Original Author)
David Botelho, a real estate agent from Rhode Island, emailed me today sayng he is paying $275 to fly the family's 19 pound dog to Florida while his flight is $203.
Not that long ago, he says, it was $50 to fly a pet in the cargo area.
I have never put a pet in cargo, but last year we only paid $50 to $80 (depending on the airline) to have our 10-pound dog with us on board.
When the price of oil went over $100 a barrel, American and Delta jacked up their prices pet travel. Now that its come down 75 percent from the top, their prices have not come down.
Airlines must think we have no alternatives. Well, they are wrong. We and a lot of other people with pets are driving to our vacation spots instead of flying.

From Delta Airlines website:

Weather Restrictions
Summer Restrictions—May 15 through September 15
Pets cannot be checked as baggage on Delta and Aeromexico operated flights.
Pets may be shipped as cargo. See below for year-round temperature restrictions including live birds and snub-nosed breeds.
Prices for shipping pets as cargo are different from shipping pets as baggage. And, cargo locations may not be located in the airport terminal, so be sure to contact 1-888-SENDPET (736-3738) for details.
Year-round Restrictions
Delta will not accept animals as checked baggage but may ship as cargo during extreme weather if at any point during the animal's trip the temperature is forecast to be:
20 degrees Fahrenheit
For temperatures below 45 degrees Fahrenheit an acclimation certificate signed by a veterinarian is required.
85 degrees Fahrenheit for all other breeds.
For temperatures above 85 degrees Fahrenheit an acclimation certificate signed by a veterinarian may be required.

Additional Restrictions for Pug or Snub-nosed Dogs and Cats
Pug or snub-nosed dogs and cats are not hot-weather animals and therefore do not thrive in warm temperatures. As a precaution, Delta will not accept them as checked baggage or as air cargo if the temperature on any part of their trip exceeds 70 degrees F.


American Bull Dog
American Staffordshire Terrier
American Pit Bull Terrier
Boston Terrier
Brussels Griffin
Chinese Pug
Chow Chow
Dutch Pug
English Bulldog
English Toy Spaniel
French Bulldog
Lhasa Apso
Japanese Boxer
Japanese Pug
Japanese Spaniel (Chin)
Mastiff (all breeds)
Pit Bull
Shar Pei
Shih Tzu
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Tibetan Spaniel


Health Requirements

Health Certificate
A health certificate is required when shipping your pet as air cargo. While Delta does not require a health certificate for carried-on or checked pets, upon arrival, the certificate may be required by the state. For clarification, please call your veterinarian or see the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Veterinary Services.
The certificate must be issued by a licensed veterinarian within 10 days of transport. The certificate must contain:
The shipper's name and address.
Any tag numbers or tattoos assigned to the animal.
The age of the animal being shipped (USDA regulations require animals be at least 8 weeks old and fully weaned before traveling).
A statement that the animal is in good health.
A list of administered inoculations, when applicable.
The signature of the veterinarian.
The date of the certificate.
If the shipper knows that the pet is pregnant, it must be noted on the health certificate.

Acclimation Certificate

If your pet is traveling during winter months and is accustomed to low temperatures, you may be able to facilitate the journey by obtaining two copies of an acclimation certificate from your veterinarian. USDA regulations require that this certificate be issued no more than ten days before departure. The acclimation certificate must contain:
*Shipper's name and address
*Any tag numbers or tattoos assigned to the animal
*A statement that the animal is acclimated to temperatures lower than 45 degrees F
*Lowest temperature to which the animal may be exposed to, but not lower than 20 degrees F
*Signature of the veterinarian
*Date of the certificate

Live Animal Checklist/Confirmation of Feeding

When you check in your pet, you will be asked to complete a live animal checklist. When you sign this checklist, you are confirming that your pet has been offered food and water within four hours of check-in. On the checklist you must also give feeding and watering instructions for a 24-hour period. If in-transit feeding is necessary, you must provide food.


The use of pet tranquilizers at high altitudes is unpredictable. If you plan to sedate your pet, you must have written consent from the pet's veterinarian. This information must be attached to the kennel. Please keep in mind that Delta agents cannot administer medication of any kind.

Kennel Requirements

To transport your pet as checked baggage or cargo, you must use a shipping kennel approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The kennel must have enough room for your pet to stand and sit erect without the head touching the top of the container and turn around and lie in a natural position. These kennels are available at most Delta Cargo locations, as well as many pet supply stores. You should check with the local cargo facility for availability of the size kennel you need in advance of the date of travel. Kennels are for sale for booked Delta passengers and shippers only, not the general public.
Due to seasonal weather conditions, we do not accept pets as checked baggage from May 15 through September 15. You can, however, ship your pet as cargo with our Pet First® program.
All kennels must be capable of loading upright in the aircraft bin as required by the Animal Welfare Act and the International Air Transport Association Live Animal Regulations.
Also, USDA rules state that the kennel must:
Be constructed out of rigid plastic, wood, metal, or material of comparable strength with solid roofs. No cardboard kennels.
Have wheels that can be removed or made inoperable [applies to wheeled kennels only]
Have functional handles on the kennel's exterior to prevent tilting and any direct contact with the animals.
Close securely, but not lock, allowing personnel to open it in case of emergency.
Have labels with the words "Live Animal" in letters at least 1-inch tall on the crate's top and on at least one side.
Have upright arrow labels indicating kennel's correct Delta Air Logistics can provide these labels.
Contain some type of bedding, either shredded paper or towels, to absorb any "accidents."
Contain two dishes (one for food and one for water) attached to the inside of the kennel door. They must be easily accessible to Delta agents without opening the kennel door.
Display feeding instructions and food, if applicable. These instructions should be affixed to the top of the kennel, along with shipper and consignee information.
Not be made entirely of welded mesh, wire mesh, wicker, cardboard or collapsible materials.
The following is a list of kennel sizes, costs, and the types of aircraft in which each kennel can fit. The kennel costs below do not include tax and are subject to change.

Kennel Type Outside Size (inches) Kennel Weight Cost of Kennel Type of Aircraft

SML/100 series 21 x 15 x 16 6lb. $45.00 Any Delta aircraft*
MED/200 series 27 x 20 x 19 12 lb. $65.00 Any Delta aircraft*

MED/300 series 32 x 22 x 23 18lb. $75.00 Any Delta aircraft*

LRG/400 series 36 x 24 x 26 24lb. $80.00 Any Delta aircraft*

XLG/500 series 40 x 27 x 30 31lb. $95.00 Any Delta aircraft*
(except MD-80)

GIANT/700 series 48 x 32 x 35 51lb. Any Delta aircraft*(Accepted as cargo only) (MD-80, MD-88, MD-90, MD-11, or B-737)

Reptile, Amphibian, and Fish Containers
Reptiles, amphibians, and fish are only accepted as air cargo, not as carry-on or checked baggage. Shipments must comply with the container requirements of the current edition of the IATA Live Animal Regulations.
Reptiles, other than snakes, need to be placed in a container constructed of wood, plastic or corrugated material. For flight purposes, animals in this category include:

Kennel Labeling

All animal kennels must display:
Live Animal Checklist (includes feeding and watering instructions)
Live Animal label
Directional arrows
In addition to the above displays, wild animal kennels require a Wild Animal label.
Delta provides these display items when your kennel is accepted for transport.

*Rates apply to Delta aircraft only. For travel on a Delta Connection Carrier, please contact

12 November 2008

Rule 240

Hello All BlkAv8tor2003 Checking In!!!

I copied this from another blogger because I thought it was funny coming from an obvious employee and it's some of the things employees of the airlines have to get a thick skin for. (My comments are in blue) The real reason for this entry is the "Rule 240" action and what it means to you and how to use it. Learn it because it may help you one day!

"There is so much to say but not enough time. For all I know I could be fired today, tomorrow, or maybe never. What I do know is that every day I wonder about my job and my sanity. I hate my job, but I love it too.

Some of the things I hate...

being called a bitch,




fucking (insert noun),



having to put up with people that think they know the airline industry
people that hate my airlines but fly it all the time

And then some of the things I love...

my customers

children that fly alone

passengers that fly often and know the routine

passengers that understand things can and will happen

everyone that lends me a smile

travel benefits

my company

my bosses

my coworkers

other airline employees

the reservation agents from other countries

the reservation agents from the Midwest


flight attendants

It's almost even, which is good enough for me, and the sole reason I return to work every day. So without any other chit chat here is some clarification on something that many people throw around when one of our flights cancel.

Rule 240

"To put it simply, rule 240 is the rule that journalists tell you to use when your flight is delayed or cancelled." I get it all the time that the passenger read about it on CNN.com or the New York Times, or some other "reliable" source. Before I can fully explain the TRUTH behind rule 240, these passengers always start the "I can't believe you treat your customers this way...blah blah blah I'll never fly you again...blah blah blah...this is ridiculous....blah blah blah...I'm going to sue you...blah blah blah...CNN said blah blah blah...you better get me to (city) right now!" So usually I just wait till they are done. Once they are done they will find out the following conditions of rule 240...Rule 240 states that if a flight is cancelled or delayed we must do everything in our power to put you on the NEXT AVAILABLE flight and get you to or close to your destination by whatever means are available. (This doesn't mean it has to be by plane either)

There are a few reasons a flight may cancel...


A mechanical failure is simple. Your plane broke down. The funny thing is, people would rather fly on a broken plane and maybe crash and die, than be glad we cancelled and offered a different plane. Of course this ruins MANY peoples' plans, but honestly...did you think it was a smart idea to book a flight the DAY BEFORE YOUR WEDDING? Crying that you're wedding is at noon the next day, means nothing to me. Of course I feel terribly bad and I'm sorry that the flight was cancelled, but although you don't believe, we really did cancel for the safety of our passengers.
Planning your plans to coinside with your flight plans and you can't control anything is the stupidest thing known to man! A wedding, funeral or whatever is important to you would warrant better planning on your part! Whoever plans like this are usually suspect from the door and your extremely lucky if nothing goes wrong but what are the odds of that???
When we say, 'safety is our number one priority,' we mean it. With a mechanical failure, depending on the airline policy, the airlines must get you to your final destination or another airport of your choice that is relatively close to your original destination, and must provide hotel and a food voucher if you are stranded over night.

Ok, man-made objects will breakfown from time to time and it has nothing to do with shoddy maintenance either. Things break, wear out and even fail and the airline will do all they can to fix the problem as quickly and correctly as possible but somethings take time to fix. So be patient and keep an ear out for updates about your flight from your agents ever 15-20 minutes because if the airline post a set departure time during a mechanical situation then they will shoot for that time or sooner if the problem gets fixed. If you leave the gate area for whatever reason and the flight leaves before you get back you can be out of luck if you miss it. The airline is not responsible to come look for you so I suggest you be close to the gate at least in ear shot for any changes in your flight including aircraft and gate changes.


A crew failure is when the crew for your flight is not there. There are a few reasons for this. All crew members (pilots and cabin attendants) are only allowed to work a certain number of hours in a day and during the month. This is not the airline rule but a rule enforced by the FAA. (Not waivable in any form) So towards the end of the month flights may cancel or get delayed due to crew lagalities or because they do not have enough crew members that can actually fly legally. (What was the weather like in the last few days around the U.S. and in your city) Other times it's because the crew that was supposed to work your flight was on a flight from a different city that was late or cancelled. Some airlines will offer hotels and meal vouchers, others will not.


There is a lot of air traffic. Especially at airports like New York (JFK), Chicago (ORD), Washington (IAD), San Francisco (SFO), Los Angeles (LAX), Philadelphia (PHL). There is nothing ANY airlines can do about traffic. If traffic was not controlled planes would be crashing into one another left and right. Sometimes traffic at a single airport is so bad every single flight will be delayed 2 hours. This happened in Philly not long ago. (Not every flight was delayed but a LOT were) Traffic is something we as an airline cannot control therefore we are not going to feed you and house you in the event you are stranded over night. Sorry. Seriously.

Traffic is going to be an ongoing problem as our aviation network is growing exponetially. Any little burp in the U.S. network at a medium or high volume airport can cause delays from early morning and then it can trickle down all day affecting flights in other cities. Chicago (ORD), Los Anges (LAX), Denver (DEN) and (JFK) in New York are going to have traffic delays regardless of weather so you as a passenger should plan your departure or arrival time if possible around that airports high bank arrivals.


Weather is just like traffic. We cannot control it, it is an act of God, too bad so sad. Whenever I tell a passenger their flight is cancelled due to weather, I ALWAYS get one or two that tell me they checked their iphone and the weather at so and so was perfectly clear. I even get military folks that tell me that's what they do for a living and they saw no signs of trouble with weather. So let me tell everyone a little secret.

Ladies and gentleman the agents do have a dial in the back offices that say's "Good, Bad or Fair Weather" so you can rest assure that the agents are messing with the weather and their daily objective is to mess up your travel plans! Now that being said, let's get real...the airline does not have or feel the need to ever deal their flights or inconvienence you "the passenger!" This is why I say be proactive when you travel and plan ahead. If it's from Sept-Apr and your flying between some cities your going to encounter weather delays, from snow storms to thunderstorms. Bring something for you to do, snacks you like, books or magazines to read...PLAN to get delayed! The weather can be great looking outside at your departure point but enroute or at your destination can be subject. Also know that when your pilots plan for your flight they are looking at the flights weather for around the time they (your) scheduled to arrive and if it's marginal you can anticipate a delay. So don't call family or friends asking how the weather is because you don't know what or where the weather issue is and it doesn't take much to at least delay a flight! Lastly, know what cities always have weather delays....watch CNN, MSNBC or the like and see what the weather is planned for the day at your destination or in the surrounding area...it all makes a difference in the operation of an airline everyday!

(From The original poster)
Weather...it changes. We always get delays coming and going to/from San Francisco because of fog. We always get delays coming and going to/from Chicago because of snow/ice rain. Things like fog and rain and thunderstorms (IAD) come and go. So whilst it may look clear right in front of you, up in the sky is a different story. And while the sky may be clear right now in 2 hours there will be problems, and then in 4 hours it will be clear again. That is why some flights from some airlines are cancelled, and some flights from other airlines are not. We all leave at different hours, take different routes, hit different areas, etc etc etc. Your iphone does not know the weather better than the people that make these decisions. I don't care if that's your job for the military, for you to tell me that the sky looked clear from the plane means well enough that you don't know WHAT THE FUCK YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT! So...if your flight cancels due to weather, we will not feed you or house you because...well God wanted it to be that way. So all these flights are cancelled and or delayed. What next? Rule 240.

(Oh and by the way to the Europeans...when you tell me this would never happen in Europe, well it does. Except you guys just have a better contract. But please remember your Euro and Pound is worth a ton more too. Complaining about how shitty the American system is will not get you on an earlier flight, and it does not help when you're acting like a total douche bag.) Rule 240 puts you on the next available flight. If your flight was at 2pm and the next flight is at 3pm, rule 240 does NOT guarantee that you will go on the next flight. We will put you on the next flight with OPEN seats, the airline does not have to bump anyone off of there scheduledflight to accomodate you!
We can put you on other airlines, but we MUST have an AGREEMENT with those airlines. So PLEASE...please...stop asking us to put you on Southwest, Virgin America, and Jet Blue. We will not, and cannot. They don't work with ANY airlines, they don't do connecting bags between carriers and the don't accept tickets from these carriers. If you want on or off one of the carriers listed you either need to get a refund against your ticket and purchase a new one or stick it out with the same carrier. These "discount" airlines keep to themselves, period. So if you're ever on a cancelled flight with them...you don't have the option of looking into other airlines. You just stick with them. In any case, the only way we can put you on another flight with other airlines if THEY have open seats. SO we ask that airlines, and even if they HAVE open seats, if that airlines says "NO" then we cannot. It's not our problem, now it is yours. So before you start yelling about rule 240, please know how it REALLY works. And the best kept secret of the airline industry...A little kindness and understanding will go a LONG LONG way. I swear it works. remember don't bite the hand that feeds ya!!!

11 November 2008

What Are America's Most Delayed Airports?


By: Peter Greenberg

Oct 20, 2008 - 1:31:06 PM

The Department of Transportation compiles monthly reports on which airports have the most delayed flights. But when it comes to delays, what you need to remember is that arrival time trumps departure time. For one thing, it's easier to fake departure statistics because a plane is considered to have departed as soon as it leaves the gate, even if it sits on the tarmac for 10 hours. Here are our most delayed airports and airlines...and how to avoid them.

The 10 Most Delayed Airports

1. LaGuardia, New York (LGA)

Percent of On-Time Arrivals: 51.2
Alternate Airport: MacArthur Islip, New York (ISP)
Percent of On-Time Arrivals: 73.3
Voted greatest airport in the world in 1960, LGA now tops the avoid at all costs lists.

2. Newark, New Jersey (EWR)
Percent of On-Time Arrivals: 51.4
Alternate Airport: Philadelphia (PHL)
Percent of On-Time Arrivals: 71.1

3. Chicago, O'Hare (ORD)

Percent of On-Time Arrivals: 55.6
Alternate Airport: Milwaukee (MKE)
Percent of On-Time Arrivals: 69.9
O'Hare handled nearly 31 million passengers last year, but it also ranks last in two categories: air traffic control and cancellations.
4. San Francisco (SFO)
Percent of On-Time Arrivals: 58.4
Alternate Airport: Oakland, CA (OAK)
Percent of On-Time Arrivals: 74
5. Washington, D.C. (IAD)
Percent of On-Time Arrivals: 60.8
Alternate Airport: Baltimore (BWI)
Percent of On-Time Arrivals: 73.2
6. New York, Kennedy (JFK)
Percent of On-Time Arrivals: 61.6
Alternate Airport: MacArthur Islip, New York (ISP)
Percent of On-Time Arrivals: 73.3
7. Boston (BOS)
Percent of On-Time Arrivals: 64.4
Alternate Airport: Manchester, NH (MHT)
Percent of On-Time Arrivals: 69.2
8. Miami (MIA)
Percent of On-Time Arrivals: 65.8
Alternate Airport: West Palm Beach, FL (PBI)
Percent of On-Time Arrivals: 72A seemingly endless array of renovations adds to the delays at MIA. Originally scheduled for completion in 2005, it's now expected to be done by 2011.
9. Washington, D.C. (DCA)
Percent of On-Time Arrivals: 67.6
Alternate Airport: Baltimore (BWI)
Percent of On-Time Arrivals: 73.2
10. Seattle (SEA)
Percent of On-Time Arrivals: 68.5
Alternate Airport: Portland, OR (PDX)
Percent of On-Time Arrivals: 70.9
Seattle starts the day strong, with on-time arrivals at 90.3 percent, but that number steadily declines to 56.1 percent by 9 p.m.

The 10 Most Delayed Airlines

1. American
Percent of On-Time Arrivals: 58.8
Worst Route: LaGuardia to Dallas/Fort Worth
Percent of On-Time Arrivals: 19.23
2. United
Percent of On-Time Arrivals: 59.3
Worst Route: Chicago O'Hare to Port Columbus Airport (Ohio)
Percent of On-Time Arrivals: 12.2
3. Comair
Percent of On-Time Arrivals: 63.4
Worst Route: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta to Manchester Boston Regional Airport
Percent of On-Time Arrivals: 21.28
4. JetBlue
Percent of On-Time Arrivals: 64.9
Worst Route: Logan International (Boston) to Pittsburgh International
Percent of On-Time Arrivals: 15
5. American Eagle
Percent of On-Time Arrivals: 65.7
Worst Route: Birmingham International Airport to Chicago O'Hare
Percent of On-Time Arrivals: 19.75
6. Mesa
Percent of On-Time Arrivals: 67.3
Worst Route: Chicago O'Hare to Central Wisconsin Airport
Percent of On-Time Arrivals: 9.37
7. Continental
Percent of On-Time Arrivals: 67.4
Worst Route: Newark Liberty to Chicago O'Hare
Percent of On-Time Arrivals: 27.78
8. Northwest
Percent of On-Time Arrivals: 67.6
Worst Route: Detroit Metro to Newark Liberty
Percent of On-Time Arrivals: 24.18
9. ExpressJet
Percent of On-Time Arrivals: 68.5
Worst Route: Newark Liberty to Chicago O'Hare
Percent of On-Time Arrivals: 13.16
10. Delta
Percent of On-Time Arrivals: 72.9
Worst Route: Ft. Lauderdale Hollywood to LaGuardia
Percent of On-Time Arrivals: 27.73

06 November 2008

A Married Name, A Singular Headache

Airline Travel...What You Really Need To Know!!!
Nov. 5th, 2008 at 9:46 AM

Hello All BlkAv8tor2003 Checking In!!!

This first story is all about getting married (especially the ladies) and not changing your name! I'll give you my two cents and I have seen it happen and seen the results and if you don't prepare inadvance you could run into undo stress during a new marriage and honeymoon trip that you really shouldn't have to go through!I will give you tips on what to do at the end of the story!!!

Here are the particulars:
Woman booked a ticket under her married name, but her passport doesn't match
The airline will change the name on the ticket, but it will cost the woman $400
While it was the customer's mistake, the airline agreed to a $50 change fee
By Christopher ElliottTribune Media Services

(Tribune Media Services) --

Shaun Francis' daughter has the wrong name on her airline ticket. It's her married name, and her passport still has her maiden name. The airline is happy to fix the ticket -- for a $400 fee. But is that right?
Q: My daughter and son-in-law will be traveling to South Africa to attend a cousin's wedding.

They've been carefully watching ticket prices online and recently found a fare on South African Airways. They phoned the airline to book the tickets.
The problem is that my daughter's ticket is under her married name. My daughter has yet to secure a new passport and green card with her new name, and there isn't enough time to get them before they leave.
An airline representative told my daughter that South African would issue a refund, minus a 25 percent administrative fee. But then she would have to buy a new, and probably more expensive, ticket. And there would be no guarantee she could get a seat on the same flight as her husband.
I do realize that this was a mistake of their own making, but the 25 percent fee works out to $400, which they can ill afford. Can you help? -- Shaun Francis, Orlando, Florida

A: South African Airways was well within its rights to charge a 25 percent fee for a refund.

In fact, some airlines won't issue a refund of any kind when you buy a ticket under a wrong name. You're just out of luck. At least the airline was offering some of your daughter's money back.
But should it do more? I think South African might have considered listening to this young family's story. They're newlyweds with limited resources and in my correspondence with you, it turns out they did their best to fix this mistake immediately, including calling the airline only a few hours after the erroneous booking.
Your daughter isn't the first newlywed who has done this. I'm not suggesting the airline should fix this free of charge. A mistake was made. But was it a $400 mistake?
There are easy ways to avoid the wrong-name error. Hiring a travel agent is the most obvious. Although an agent will charge a ticketing fee, you can also be sure that a competent travel professional will take the trouble to get your names right. They're also well connected, so that if something does go wrong, they can usually negotiate a name change at little or no cost to you.
You can also conduct the transaction online instead of by phone when booking directly with an airline. That's your next-safest option. Why? Because you're given several opportunities to review your name, and most airlines also have warnings that the name on your passport has to match the name on your ticket. It's less likely you would have made this error online.
By the way, this could have ended much worse. Your daughter could have tried to fly under her original ticket, using her marriage certificate as evidence that her name had been legally changed. That might have gotten her on the plane, but she also might not have been allowed back to the States. And that would have been a much bigger problem.
I contacted South African on your behalf, and it agreed to fix the ticket for a $50 fee.
All of this is the original reporter of the story!

Now my input:

Ladies until the airlines catch up with the times....CHANGE YOUR MAIDEN NAME is first and foremost or wait till you have the proper documentation to fly and wait till you have it in hand before you leave the USA. If you leave and the docs aren't right then you have the chance of having troubles when trying to re-enter. Think ahead and give up on some of the oldschool values and traditions and get things changed or stay in the US for your honeymoon till you have the proper docs. When you fly as a newly married wife and you make (or husband) reservations that involve your honeymoon you need to have changed over state id's, passports, social security cards etc. The more you have the better off you will be! The airline can be accommodating to a point but once the US and Federal governments in other countries get involved the airline has no control or action in helping you. This also applies if you have children and the children have the last name of the mother and not the father you will have like problems from seating arrangements to customs issues when you travel as a family.

(example below)

You’re married and your spouse has a different last name than you. Here is what the airline will see. Since the adults have different last names even though the reservation system sees the names in the same reservation it will consider them (2) two separate parties. So why is this important? Do you want to sit with your wife (kids read below)??? (Guys don’t answer that one too fast) Usually in today’s day and age some women don’t usually change from their maiden name to their married name. So when the reservations system see’s this it will automatically seat you separately. Now the agent will go back in the check-in profile and change that to put you both together in seating. This is ok when the flights not real full but when it’s full this can be a headache for some people. If you have a good agent this will happen and you won’t even notice it in the time you’re standing there checking in. The trick is 1. Ladies change your maiden name to your married name if you think you’re going to travel. It’s usually it’s a trip down to DMV, your local social security office and it’s done. 2. Always keep each other in the same reservations if at all possible. You must say "we are a family of 4 persons" 2 adults and 2 children Now as far as the kids are concerned, the children should fly under whatever the family name is when it comes to what they’re reservations should be made under. (Carry some form of ID for your kids like passports or at least copies of birth certificates) Even if the mother’s children from a previous marriage they should fly under the new family surname. If you don’t, you take the chance of the children getting split from one or both parents when seating assignments are issued, like children under the age of 12 sitting in the Emergency Exit Row Seats and worst of all not everyone getting a seat assigned if the flight is in an oversell situation. Because of children I have seen a whole family to get bumped (Involuntarily Denied Boarding) and it’s usually late night, vacation trip or international travels which are the hardest to fix after the fact. Also I know it might be a pain to do but when you initially go to check-in for the flight (before you know exactly what the seat assignment are) bring the whole family up, not just the tickets that way the agent can see what type of passengers they will be seating. The agent will know to avoid the certain areas on the plane that are not conducive to children. There is another way to try to keep from catching a seating problem when making the reservation through an airline representative or travel agent.

Male or female children, 15 and younger get “MSTR” or “MISS” in front of their name when the reservation is made. You as the parent MUST tell the agent that you have children under 15 traveling with you to minimize seating problems when you go to check-in! This will tell the reservation system that this is a minor and to seat them with the assumed adult names listed in the reservation. The computer system will try to keep this group together.Now if you’re coming from different airports and meeting up and traveling on further, this is not possible. The more you show individuality the more problems you may encounter, so travel as a family unit it will make things easier.

Remember Be Proactive Not Reactive When It Comes To Airline Travel!!!

03 November 2008

Inspections show inaccurate airline luggage scales may cost travelers money

Posted By: PointsWizard

Hello All, BlkAv8tor2003 Checking In!!!

As we move toward the end of the year and the busiest part of the travel season isn't ironic about the news that starts to come out with all of the airlines financial woes! This is a prime reason for passengers to become more "Proactive" in there travel plans than ever before. Now it's the scales the airlines could be using to nickle and dime you to death for every bit of cash they can get to stay above water another day! As you read the following story you will see what I mean and I also made a personal observation. How is it the cities with the most issues with bag weights are the cities with larger retired citizens in the Florida area (I'm curious to see what other retirement cities are like). One would think over-weight baggage we be most likely associated with the passengers traveling to the Caribbean (non-vacationer) like natives of the islands who tend to travel heavy going to the islands and coming back considerably lighter in baggage weight. Usually when your checking in to a flight and your checking a bag I would ask to see the scale and ask to have it zeroed before you put anything on the scale. If you think your bag will be close and a weight issue might be in the works at least be sure that it's weighing your baggage correctly.

Plan ahead and get to the airport early enough so that if weight is a problem you can adjust the items in your baggage maybe to another bag or carry-on to keep from having to pay an over-weight fee. There are some airports that have the scales accessible to you before you go to check-in and you can weigh it yourself to see were you stand and then adjust accordingly.

Weighing your baggage at home is also a good thing but remember the average basic scale for home use is a good range indicator (unless you have a newer digital scale) for the weight of your bag(s). So get an idea of the weight your working with and adjust as needed or at least make sure your not so heavy that you incur additional cost if your in the neighborhood of 100 lbs.

Packing your bag should be done methodically. Pack your clothing, shoes and personal products while thinking about their weight if your going someplace for a short period of time. Look at the climate of the place your going while packing to gauge what you need to check vs. carry-on. Somethings you can wait to get if your traveling to a friend or family members home you may not need to pick up some things and wait until you arrive to save you some ounces. Remember 16oz equals 1 pound and they add up quickly.

Sending your bag(s) ahead if you know where your going especially for the holidays and your spends several days in a place, think about checking your luggage ahead of time by sending it via UPS or FedEx. It maybe a little more expensive but you at least know where your luggage is all the time, you can send it 2-3 days ahead and have it waiting for you with family or friends when you arrive and your day of travel can be a light in day travel weight and much more comfortable and stress free about where your bag is if there is a delay or cancellation. Carry-on a small bag with food, personal items, medicine and at least a change of underwear and a washcloth just in case you get stuck in an airport and a hotel room isn't a viable option. Remember if you think everything is going to smooth in easy your already setting yourself up for disappointment.

Lastly, it is already snowing in some cities now and the airlines use different average weights to calculate the weight and balance for an airliner. Summer weight for average passengers is about 180 lbs (general average) and 200 lbs for the winter time and the airlines start using those numbers roughly around October and end in April and they can be adjusted because one way or another because of a cities specific climate conditions. Also when you fly into smaller cities that use commuter size aircraft weight becomes more critical and if your traveling to a ski resort plan on delays, cancellations and bags not arriving on-time when you do because of weight limits of that particular aircraft. Places in Colorado, Utah, Nevada, N.E. Corridor and of course Canada to name a few will have ski resorts near the local airport and it doesn't take much to have an airport socked in and flights can't land.

So be mindful, proactive and have your guard up in the winter months because things happen and you or the airline won't be able to control it so make the best of the situation my thinking that things may not go as planned and have a great flight and holiday travel season!



“Before packing your suitcase and heading to the airport this holiday season, consider this: The airline’s baggage scale may be the reason you’re paying extra for an overweight bag.
A Sun Sentinel analysis of nearly 2,000 South Florida airport scale inspections found that more than one in four resulted in failures from 2005 to mid-2008, many for technical reasons but some because they couldn’t weigh accurately.
Palm Beach International Airport had the worst record for weight-related failures, 12 percent, while Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International and Miami International had 4 percent.
Inaccurate scales could mean travelers are unnecessarily shelling out money for heavy bags, as some airlines have increased fees for overweight luggage to compensate for extra handling and higher fuel costs.
Airlines said only a very small percentage of customers pay overweight bag fees, which are usually at least $50 each way for bags more than 50 pounds, and charges most commonly occur on international flights. Some consumers have filed complaints with the state in recent months, including Joseph Jablonski, of Flanders, N.J.
The 20-year-old and his mom packed a single bag for their four-day Bahamas cruise in July. It weighed 50 pounds on the bathroom scale at home and the JetBlue scale at the Newark airport. Returning from the cruise, Jablonski said he was surprised when a ticket agent in Fort Lauderdale said his bag was too heavy.
“They were trying to tell us the bag gained 35 pounds in four days,” he said, noting they didn’t buy much on vacation. “

by Jaclyn Giovis and Dana Williams