Airline lost your bag? Well if you can produce receipts, you can get reimbursed for the cost of some of your loss. However, until just this week the airlines have been able to keep that $25 bag check fee, even when they’ve lost your bag. Crazy? I think so. If you are charging for a service that you don’t in the end provide, you should refund the cost of the service. Turns out I’m not the only traveler who thinks so, and people you’ve been heard. The Dept. of Transportation announced this week that airlines will now have to refund checked bag fees to travelers with lost luggage. Now if only they could mandate that your luggage be found!
It’s Spring Break time again and I know a lot of you are getting ready to board flights and head out. Wanted to just give you some advice before you go. Baggage fees are still high, often running $25 or more. Since oil prices have been rising all Spring that doesn’t look like it’s going to change any time soon. What can you do to save on bags? Well you could get an airline credit card and use it to book tickets. Continental’s card waives your baggage fees if you do this. You could check in online and save $5 on your bag. Frontier is doing that. Or you could buy full fare coach (or be a frequent flyer God), and the airline will pick up your tab. Barring that, you’re going to have to pack light, carry on and fight for overhead bin space. Happy travels!
Time to give up sushi? Well, maybe for just a short while. You see even the chef’s are nervous after the radioactive water leaked into the ocean from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Le Bernadin, a famed New York restaurant helmed by celebrity chef Eric Ripert, began scanning it’s fish for radioactivity this week. They’ve also stopped ordering fish from Japan as a cautionary measure. Since we can’t know where and how the radiation is getting into our food supply, I admire the chef for taking extra care. Better safe than sorry.
Going to the Royal Wedding in Britain next month? You lucky thing! Well if you’d planned to fly British Airways you may want to make a back up plan. The cabin crews have voted to strike, again. They did this last year just about the same time. The idea is to muck up the Easter break, but this year it also coincides with the Royal Wedding. I’m wondering what all those rich, patriotic guests are going to do if their beloved national carrier leaves them high and dry. Guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Not happy with your airplane meal? Well neither is anyone else. And seriously, you’re lucky you even got fed. Most airlines have removed, curtailed or charged for food on planes since 9/11. When I read about this agro vegetarian throwing her food at a flight attendant this week I was horrified. First, who does that? Second, you could get yourself arrested, jailed and fined for this kind of behavior, and finally did you even bother to order a special meal? I’m guessing you didn’t. So truly the only person you have to blame is yourself. Next time throw that meal in your own face. Or take the advice of the commenters and simply don’t fly.
Hoping for a last minute getaway this Spring? Well you’re not alone. Oil prices being high you may be daunted by the cost of plane tickets. My recommendation, look for a package deal. The plane tickets included in a package were bought before the oil spike and at a group rate, so a package can help you hedge against skyrocketing airfare. Just be sure to carefully pick your hotel. I’m never impressed with most options offered and choose to “upgrade” my package to the next level to get a better hotel.
Heading up or down the East Coast? The train is a great option, but you could also consider the bus. I discovered today the DC2NY.com bus. It leaves from Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. and will take you in about 4-1/2 hours to Penn Station in New York for a mere $55 dollars. It’s cheaper than the train. Longer, but there are movies and AC outlets, so not a total waste of your time. If you’re heading between East Coast cities it’s definitely an option to consider.
Did you buy your Spring Break tickets yet? Well I warned you about airfare increases last week, and my fears have been confirmed. Airlines have raised ticket prices 6 times so far this year. And they don’t plan to stop there. According to this CNNMoney.com article:
They [airlines] also hiked up fuel surcharges by more than 20% since 2008, even through oil prices are down about 28% since their 2008 peaks.
How do they justify that? Well they’ve reduced their fleets. Meaning they’ve removed planes from service to limit the amount of seats they can sell and therefore drive demand. And it’s working. So, if you were planning to buy a ticket in the next few weeks, you may want to hold off. That or use those frequent flyer miles you’ve been banking.
Airlines must be shaking in their shoes today. It was announced via CNN that oil has hit a high of $100 a barrel. The unrest in the Middle East has been putting pressure on oil prices for a while now. This daunting sum means that airline tickets are going up. It could also mean more fees. Most of you will recall the baggage fee was first assessed to help airlines recoup high fuel prices. Not that it disappeared once fuel costs went down, oh no, it was too profitable. My advice to you is if you’re thinking of flying this Spring don’t wait for prices to go down, buy your tickets now. Or if you have frequent flyer miles, it’s time to redeem them.
More strikes? Seems we’ve made it through the horrific winter storms, overbooked flights and road delays only to be confronted with potential work stoppages. It turns out that American Airlines isn’t only fighting with travel agents, they are also at war with their flight attendants union. Which is strange because American is currently hiring back attendants furloughed after 9/11. Yes 10 years later they are finally getting through the backlog of laid off workers. The dispute was sparked because American jumped the line of attendants in waiting to hire Chinese speaking attendants designated for their Shanghai run. Naturally the union and other attendants aren’t happy about this ‘line jumping’, and they are threatening to strike. My tip this week? If you’re flying this Spring and plan on taking American, you may want to think twice.