With summer just around the corner, many of us are beginning to plan vacation getaways. While dreaming of island sun, don't forget to factor into your travel plans the uncertainties that come with flying, such as unpredictable weather and aviation system issues.
BBB and the U.S. Department of Transportation advise travelers to do the following when booking and securing flights this summer:
The early bird gets the flight. When booking your flight, remember that a departure early in the day is less likely to be delayed than a later flight, due in part to the “ripple” effects of delays throughout the day. Also, if an early flight does get delayed or canceled, you may have more rerouting options. If you book the last flight of the day and it is canceled, you could get stuck overnight.
Know your rights with a canceled flight. If your flight is canceled, most airlines will rebook you on their next flight to your destination on which space is available, at no additional charge. If this involves a significant delay, find out if another carrier has seats and ask the first airline to endorse your ticket to that carrier. Unfortunately, compensation is required by law only when you are “bumped” from a flight that is oversold. Airlines almost always refuse to pay passengers for financial losses resulting from a delayed flight.
Secure your payment. Consider paying by credit card, which provides certain protections under Federal credit regulations. For example, in all recent airline bankruptcies passengers who had charged their fare and were not provided service were able to have their credit card company credit their account for the amount of the fare.