- November 8th 2012
The last time I flew, I raced to the ticket counter, but wondered why no one else was at the gate. It was a small airport, but I thought at least an agent would be available. Finally, after pacing up and down the counter, someone showed up. She looked confused, then did some tapping on the computer. “Didn’t anyone contact you? Your flight is canceled and you are rescheduled tomorrow at 6AM.”
I did not receive the many alerts I had signed up for with the travel site I used. #Fail on their part. Really, if someone contacted me, I’m fairly certain I would not have arrived at the airport! I didn’t say that, but I wanted to. Keeping in mind that this counter person did not single-highhandedly decide to mess up my trip home, instead, I just said in the nicest way “No. No one called me.”
Luckily, I had been visiting friends and I got an extra day. But, what could I have done if my flight in mid-trip? There are several options, but none are the “magical touch” that will go smoothly.
- On the Arrivals/Departures board make a note if there are other airlines with similar flights and make note of the flight numbers.
- You can go stand in line at the counter, or where the airline directs you, and wait to see how they will route you to your final destination. Be prepared to wait quite a while for your turn. Everyone in front of you in line will get their choices met first, so on to the next option…
- Call the airline and try to make alternate arrangements that way. Make sure you have your ticket number, record locator, and any other information you may need when you are on the call to help things go quickly. You may find you are already booked on the next available flight, or the customer service agent may assist in booking another airline if applicable. Always be prepared for options. Going through another airport, or a direct flight, may be a better alternative. If there is a weather issue, unfortunately, you may find that you are stuck at the airport and no flights are available.
- Hop online and try to rebook an alternate flight. Again, make sure you have all your flight information so you can breeze through the process.
The most important thing to remember is to try to be patient with the counter agent, the customer service rep, and the people who are all the the same situation as you are. It will make YOUR experience more enjoyable. By the way, during my trip my connecting flight got delayed the next day. So, always be prepared.
- August 13th 2012
People are always talking about the future of air travel. We’ve done it ourselves on this blog, looking at the new Boeing 787, the question of airport parking in the future, and even taking a whimsical journey to Star Trek’s final frontier. But a recent story on a new kind of plane made me think that maybe the future of air travel lies in the past.
A recent Daily Mail report highlighted a joint effort by NASA and Boeing to reinvent the plane. That’s because, according to them, we can’t make fixed wing planes much more fuel efficient nor can we get many more passengers into them. The new shape is triangular with a wingspan of 21 feet. The x48C is called a “hybrid wing-body plane”. The prototype can only fly for 35 minutes and go to 10,000 feet, but the organizations hope that within the next 20 years or so, most planes will have this design. The new shape allows for greater fuel efficiency while retaining the level of control that pilots are currently used to.
Sounds like a great idea, but why am I saying that the future lies in the past? Just take a look at the picture of the X48C. The wide wings and general profile remind me of a much missed technological innovation – the Concorde! What do you think?
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- March 19th 2012
How many times do people have luggage stolen when they travel? It’s hard to get your hands on accurate statistics since neither the TSA nor airlines can tell you whether bags have been stolen or are simply lost.
Luggage Loss Statistics
According to this infographic from Credit Donkey, baggage loss stats last year ranged from 6 per 1,000 passengers (American Eagle) to 1.43 per 1,000 passengers (AirTran). Older statistics from the TSA claimed a loss rate of 3 per 100,000 passengers (source: Budget Travel Blog), though more recently the number of claims has fallen, according to the Travel Sentry blog. a Reuters report gives a higher figure, at 4 per 100,000. That may not sound a lot, but it adds up to about 2 million mishandled baggage reports! And at least some of those are thefts, if you can believe recent news reports. So what can you do about it? Read more »
- December 12th 2011
What are your 2012 business travel plans looking like? If we’re to believe a recent study commissioned by Deloitte it looks like many business travelers are expecting to take at least the same number of trips next year, if not more. The breakdown is largely age divided with only 16% of travelers over 45 planning to take more business trips next year while 27% of those aged up to 44 think they will travel more. Looking back at the figures for last year it seems that a lot of those surveyed anticipated that this year they would take the same number of trips or more than 2010 also 19% expected to travel less either because of the recession because they had changed jobs.
The survey also revealed some interesting trends in accommodation preferences among the respondents. In the 18 to 29 age group 46% of respondents expressed a clear preference for their favorite brand of hotel even if the location was not quite suitable while that figure fell to 37% for those above 30. Related to that, 49% of those in the over 30 age group felt that levels of service and hotel facilities varied widely among hotels in the same group. Only 39 % of those under 31 felt that way.
There was also interesting data on how business travelers use hotels, with 67% saying that they spent time working in their rooms. However, many of the younger business people spent time in executive lounges and lobbies for work. The younger respondents showed a preference for using automated check-ins but this was only a favored option for 19% of those over 45.
How have business travelers reacted to hotel price increases? By expecting better services and better amenities. This was the view of 61% of respondents. In addition 77% said that they wanted free Internet access as a priority. Like other travelers business travelers are concerned about flight and security delays at airports and these are even bigger issues for them than staff and amenities at hotels. Read the full story here.
(Image: Maurice Koop)
- November 23rd 2011
I was interested to read recently two differing views on air travel. The first, by Ed Jones on Fredericksburg.com, shared his list of pet peeves about air travel. As well as the rush to board the plane when the flight is called (irrespective of whether your row is the one being boarded or not), and the lack of legroom on board, Ed’s top air travel annoyance is what he calls “smart phone addiction”. It seems that some people are genetically incapable of turning off their phones even to the point where they bump into things because they’re so focused on the tiny screens. And as Ed points out a successful landing is now marked by people rushing to get their phones on.
In contrast to this piece was another article by Leon Neyfakh in the Boston Globe. His view was that air travel might be about to see an improvement because of some of the new technical wizardry that is available. Of course he hasn’t got rose coloured glasses on. He says:
Flying is cheaper, more popular, and generally much less comfortable. These days, when we line up at the checkpoint with the rest of the crowd, we expect to surrender our dignity along with our shoes.
However, there is some hope with technological advances that can reduce waiting times and improve the flow of passengers through airports. These include using face recognition technology, RFID tags for luggage tracking, improvements to boarding and of course the next generation air-traffic control system.
Do these prospective improvements get you excited about how travel will change? Leon Neyfakh isn’t jumping for joy yet. He warns that the future might not be as exciting when it actually arrives.
(Image by Nobunaga24 at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons)