Wednesday, March 29, 2017

7 Secret Passenger Rights

We already feel like airlines are screwing us enough. Add long delays, overbooked flights, lost bags, and it turns into hell on runway. But there's a silver lining, if you know what to ask for. Here are seven ways to get even.  Get refunded for bumping It’s hard not to freak out when you’re bumped off an oversold flight. But remember this: you can get paid back. According to the Department of Transportation, if you get to your destination between one and two hours of your original arrival time on a domestic flight, or between one and four hours on an international trip, the airline owes you 200 percent of the one-way fare (up to $675). If you arrive more than four hours later than planned, you'll pocket 400 percent of the ticket (up to $1,350). Still can't believe it? An AirHelp study found that the average payout is $643.
Ask for cash not flight vouchers Don't let an airline ever give you a voucher for a bumped flight, or any other inconvenience. Vouchers are like Monopoly money. They look good on paper, but they're not as useful in reality. Your best bet? Ask for cash or a check because credits almost always come with strings attached (i.e. blackout dates). So before you pass go, collect your $200 — in cash.
Opt out of a tarmac delay So you're stuck on the runway, forced to watch Taken for the fifth time as the hours tick by. (No offense, Liam.) Lucky for you, you can't be held on a delayed plane for more than three hours on domestic flights or four hours on international routes (if you don't want to be at least). Airlines are also obligated to update passengers every 30 minutes, and serve food and water after a two-hour wait. Pass the pretzels.  Cancel tickets for free Got a bad case of buyer's remorse? Don't worry, most airlines allow you to cancel or change your ticket within 24 hours for a full refund. In fact, on some carriers (like Southwest) you can even change plans until right before boarding at no charge. But there are some exceptions. Take American Airlines: You can hold a ticket up to 24 hours, but once you book, you're locked in. Also, keep in mind that third-party sites like Kayak and Expedia have their own set of rules, too.
Pay back for itinerary changes When flights are delayed, rescheduled or canceled, many passengers are forced to rearrange transportation. In situations like these, the airline must either cover all the expenses and fees to reroute you or give you a full refund — even if you bought a non-refundable ticket or were rebooked on a different carrier. So, if the only seat left on the next flight out is first-class, it's yours without costing a cent. More champagne, please.  Snag a hotel voucher This will be the last time you'll ever have to sleep at the gate, or worse, on the terminal floor. Airlines are required to offer free accommodations if you're stuck overnight involuntarily. Just don't expect the Ritz. These hotel vouchers can be claimed at any time, meaning if you decide to stay with friends instead of a Holiday Inn, you are still entitled to the coupon. It's also worth asking if they'll cover meals as well.
Cash in for lost luggage If your checked bag is lost, delayed or damaged, don't settle for the small $50 sum you're usually offered. Depending on how much your items were worth and how long your bags are MIA, you could be repaid up to $3,500 per passenger in liability for a domestic U.S. trip, and up to $1,675 on international flights. Hello, shopping spree.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Tips for Taking a Great Family Vacation with Teens

Let's face it, teens aren't the easiest people to please. They want to be treated like adults and do their own thing, especially on vacation, but they aren't quite adults yet.  Oh, and they also get bored easily too! When you travel as a family, you are exposing them to educational experiences.  Shaping a teen's mind by exposure to other cultures is one of the best things you can do for them.

However, planning a vacation with teens comes with its own unique set of challenges, so how do you make your trip a good one for them?

Stay at an all inclusive resort with a great teen club and activities.  Teens love food, games, and a place to hang out without adults.  Beaches Resorts in the Caribbean is a great example of a true family vacation with a Scratch DJ Academy, where your teen can learn to be a DJ and compete in a DJ FaceOff, or even perform at a party while they are there.  

Involve them in the decision making process.  Ask them what they would like to do.  Let them have a separate space or their own room.  Sometimes, it is best to have a condo style or villa property.  Let them have a say in the destination choice and what their interests are in that destination and make them feel their desires are important.  

If there is free Wi-Fi at the resort, set boundaries before you arrive.  How many hours per day are they allowed on a device?  Set a time frame to put devices in the safe so you are spending quality time together doing activities.  On the other hand make sure they do stay connected to their friends by having Wi-Fi readily available for those set times each day.

Though family vacations, especially with teens, can be stressful, the benefits of spending that time together away from outside distractions, will promote family bonding and your children will have lifetime memories that they will forever be grateful.