Just like that charge of $200.00 for an extra suitcase you had no idea about (probably because it was hidden in the fine print), there are many secrets about air travel that might benefit you – that the airlines don’t want you to know.
Somehow, it seems that, whenever we need an extra service from an airline, we have to pay through the nose. But when an airline screws up – lost luggage, multiple-hour-long delays, etc. – we get no recompense. Here are ten secrets that you can use for your own benefit, that the airlines won’t tell you:
1. Cash is king
Often, when airlines screw up, they try to placate customers with vouchers – for food, hotels etc. While you might like the services involved, these vouchers have no real street value. You can ask for cash. Sometimes, you can even demand it. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) requires airlines to compensate travelers up to $1,300 in cash if customers are left stranded because of an overbooked flight and adequate replacement flights are not booked within two hours. Even when your plans have been put back on track, airlines still woe you a cash compensation for the disturbance: 200% of the one way fare to the destination in question, up to a maximum of $650.00.
2. Midweek delight
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday are the cheapest days to fly. Why? The flights on those days often have more empty seats because of reduced business travel. However, also remember that fares change depending on which day you book them.
3. Cancellation is free
This is not as simple as it sounds. Many airlines allow customer to change or cancel tickets up to seven days before the scheduled takeoff, providing a full refund. This only applies, however, when booking directly through the airline and not a travel agent, although online service like Expedia or Orbitz often give you the same option. Other airlines allow customers to “hold” a ticket at a particular fare for 24 hours before purchasing.
4. Goodbye bags = hello cash
When a suitcase is misplaced and delayed, airlines often try to offer customers small daily amounts of cash to supposedly allow them to “survive.” These ridiculous compensation amounts will not cover any serious expense or replace valuable clothes. If you can prove that the contents of your lost luggage were crucial to your travel – for instance, skis for a ski trip, wedding dress, or medicine – they might owe you up to $3,300! You’ll need to show receipts and documents to prove their relevance to the trip in question.