Flying Tips

Airlines almost always overbook-it’s a fact of life. Its how they ensure they make money, because you’d be surprised at how many people don’t show up to flights.


Usually, overbooking doesn’t cause any problems. But every once in a while, more people than anticipated actually do show up for the flight, which means some travelers are going to be bumped. If that happens to you, your airline may offer passengers a voucher in exchange for being voluntarily bumped.


The pros say to refuse to volunteer and insist on a cash payment instead. If you’re involuntarily denied boarding, you’re entitled to a cash payment, on the spot. This can net you up to $1,300 or 400 percent of the value of the one-way fare depending on the length of the delay. The more you know…


You’ve probably heard the best day to buy plane tickets is on a Tuesday. That may actually be true, but that doesn’t mean you need to only fly out on Tuesdays. It’s true that Tuesday and Wednesday are the least expensive days to fly, but you might be surprised to learn that Saturday is on that list too.


The best fares are when purchased well in advance. Last minute sales no longer exist, no senior or bereavement fares. There are sales you just need to check with me regularly. And I can tell you if it is a great fare or not.


Remember, the airlines makes most of the money on the corporate traveler. They all cater to them a lot, from miles earned to seat assignments. They travel at the beginning of the week and the end, not in the middle or on Saturday, so this is when more seats are available. And price is determined by availability.


If you fly when most people would rather be asleep (early morning or overnight), you’ll also get a better deal. Just avoid flying on Fridays or Sundays and you’ll probably save some serious coin.


The plane is way grosser than you think. Last winter I got sick after every flight. And I do all the sterilizing things. Never touch the inside of the lavatory door handle without a paper towel.


While most people think the “recycled” air in planes is what causes illnesses, take heart: the air is constantly filtered (about 20 times an hour) through hospital-grade HEPA filters. What you really need to watch out for are contaminated surfaces. While the trays are far and away the grimiest part of a plane (don’t rest any food on it without a napkin!), other surfaces like the armrests, seat belts, and buttons in the lavatory are disgustingly dirty and are rarely cleaned due to time constraints.


Stock up on that Vitamin C and hand sanitizer or hand wipes before you hit the tarmac.


And enjoy the last days of summer. Early September is the time to plan 2019 holidays.


Peace, Harriet

About alwaysharriet

With thirty years experience in corporate and leisure travel consulting, Harriet Ahouse has traveled extensively throughout the Caribbean and worldwide. An avid scuba diver, she understands the requirements of travelers both on land and in the water. On the European scene she has offered traditional and personalized travel itineraries throughout the continent--Italy, France, and England are some of her favorites. As a Virtuoso Agent, she also has extensive resources to enhance her expertise in designing individual destination travel itineraries--and honeymoons--worldwide!
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