Air traveler protections that went into effect this spring go a long way to make the skies friendlier for beleaguered travelers. Those changes however, do not guarantee you will arrive on time. Connecticut BBB and the U.S. Department of Transportation are advising vacationers to plan ahead to take some of the sting out of air travel problems.
While dreaming of island sun, many travelers fail to factor in the uncertainties that come with flying, such as unpredictable weather patterns, aviation system issues, maintenance, or crew problems into their travel plans. According to Bureau of Transportation’s 2011 Statistics, 25.5 percent of all flights were reported to be not on time. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) advises consumers to be proactive when planning a getaway.
Connecticut Better Business Bureau President, Paulette Scarpetti, reminds consumers that there are ways to avoid some of the most common pitfalls of flying.
“Flight delays and cancelations are sometimes unavoidable, so it is important for air travelers to plan ahead and know their options.”
Connecticut BBB offers advice for consumers booking flights for a summer getaway:
The early bird gets the flight - When booking your flight, remember that a departure early in the day is less likely to be delayed than a later flight, due in part to the “ripple” effects of delays throughout the day. Also, if an early flight does get delayed or canceled, you may have more rerouting options. If you book the last flight of the day and it is canceled, you could get stranded overnight.
Know your rights with a canceled flight - If your flight is canceled, most airlines will rebook you on their next flight to your destination wherever space is available at no additional charge. If this involves a significant delay, find out if another carrier has seats and ask the first airline to endorse your ticket to that carrier.
Unfortunately, compensation is required by law only when you are “bumped” from a flight that is oversold. Airlines typically refuse to pay passengers for financial losses resulting from a delayed flight.
Secure your payment - Pay by credit card, which provides certain protections under federal credit regulations. For example, in all recent airline bankruptcies, passengers who had charged their fare and were not provided service were able to have their credit card company credit their account for the amount of the fare.
For more travel tips, visit http://www.bbb.org/us/consumer-tips-travel.