United Changes Boarding Process

United Airlines has changed the boarding process to improve the customer’s experience. In the video below the spokesman explains that United tried and reviewed the new process in various airports around the world “until we got it just right.” In time we’ll see if they got it just right or not. I’m not sure that certain things (like the boarding process) can made just right, particularly when so many different people (i.e., personalities) are involved.

Here’s United’s 2min22sec video that explains the process.

If you miss or may miss your flight …

If you miss your flight, don’t stress out. There’s more than one way to save your vacation or business trip.

What to do if you miss your flight

If you think you’re going to miss a flight, call your airline immediately, experts say. The sooner your airline knows that you’ll be late, the more options it has to fix it.

Although airlines often charge you for a new ticket if you miss a flight, there are important exceptions. But to find out if you qualify, you need to act fast. Calling the airline before your departure can significantly increase your chances of getting rebooked on the next flight at no additional charge.

How to fix a missed flight

It helps to understand what’s happening behind the scenes. When you miss a flight, it also puts your airline in a difficult position. Chances are, your seat has flown empty. Rebooking you on the next flight means giving you a free ticket. That’s why letting the airline know you’ll be late is so important; it allows the carrier to release the seat and maybe resell it, offsetting the lost revenue.

Your reasons for missing a flight matter

If you are at the counter, be polite, explain why you are late. Was the airport exit congested? Did it take too long to get to the counter? Make the case that you were late as a function of trying to get to the airport or counter or running to the gate. Most airlines have an informal “flat tire” rule that allows them to book you on the next available flight if you have a good reason for getting to the airport late, like, say, a flat tire. Those may include a medical emergency, an accident on the way to the airport or some documentable event beyond your control.

Typically, sleeping through your alarm doesn’t count, but agents have some flexibility in how they can apply the flat tire rule.

Airlines tend to throw the book in your face if you don’t have a good reason for being late and you tell them after the flight leaves. That’s when you normally have to buy a new ticket. But a little politeness can overcome this obstacle, too. Time and again, travelers say that being nice instead of demanding has gotten them on the next flight at no additional charge.

What are your rights when you miss a flight?

If you missed a flight because you were late to the airport, you don’t have any real rights. Most airlines will classify you as a “no-show” and keep your money. Note that your return flight will also be canceled automatically. If you contact the carrier before the flight departs, you may be able to get a partial ticket credit depending on the kind of ticket you have.

But if you miss a connecting flight, you’re not out of luck. Under most domestic airline policies — which are outlined in the contract of carriage on the airline website — if you miss a connection, it will rebook you on the next flight at no charge. If that means staying at the airport overnight, the airline will cover a hotel stay. For example, American Airlines will pay for a hotel if the delay is “within our control or you were diverted to another city, and we don’t board to your final destination before 11:59 p.m. local time,” according to its contract.

EU Regulation 261/2004

If you miss a connection on a flight to Europe, you might be entitled to even more. For certain missed connections European consumer regulations provide up to 600 euros, plus rerouting or a flight back to your point of departure at no extra cost.

When you’re on an international flight going to Europe and miss your connection because of the delay or cancellation of the first flight, you have rights,” says Thomas Busson, a spokesman for ClaimCompass, a service that helps passengers obtain compensation under EU Regulation 261/2004, the European consumer rule.

But here’s the best advice of all: Don’t be late. Set an alarm and don’t forget to turn up the volume on your phone. Set a calendar reminder with your flight itinerary. And give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport. Airlines such as United even publish check-in processing times to allow for better planning.

Tips for handling a missed flight

• Know the rules. Keep a copy of your airline’s contract of carriage (available from its website) or EU Regulation 261 on your smartphone for quick access. You can find a full copy of EU Regulation 261 on the EU website: eur-lex.europa.eu.

• Use a travel agent. A trusted travel adviser can help you schedule your ground transportation to ensure you get to the terminal on time. In-the-know agents can also quickly find the next available flight and use their connections to rebook you with a minimum of fuss.

• Think outside the box. There’s more than one way to get to your final destination. You can rent a car and get to your destination, within a reasonable distance. Problem solved. Lesson learned? “Consider other travel options if there is going to be a long delay to get to your final destination.

Avoiding the Flu While Flying

The Associated Press is reporting on a recently published study that confirms “what some experts have been saying for years,” namely, that flying in a window seat might help travelers avoid the flu and/or colds.

Lead researcher Vicki Stover Hertzberg of Emory University, says,

get in that window seat and don’t move.

You can read the complete article here.

 

 

New International Screening Measures

Delta Airlines has published the following:

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Additional Screening Measures

Effective July 19, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will require additional screening measures for customers flying on international flights bound for the U.S. These screening measures pertain to any departure point where a passport is required to reenter the U.S. Customers flying to the U.S. from an international airport are encouraged to arrive to the airport at least three (3) hours prior to departure to allow time to clear security.

Advice to Customers Flying on International Flights Inbound to the U.S.

  • Customers should follow Delta’s current guidance and plan to arrive at their international departure airport at least three hours prior to the departure time of their flight
  • Customers are encouraged to proceed promptly to their departure gate where additional screening may occur to avoid delay or missed flight
  • Customers can expect to see expanded uses of canine screening at international airports and deployment of advanced technology screening

More and more visitors to Israel

The number of visitors to Israel is growing significantly. In 2009, some 9 million passengers passed through the airports. In 2018, Israel Katz, the minister of transport estimates the number will be about 20 million passengers. These numbers indicate the growth of both tourism and business relations.

To help ease the pressure such growth causes, several airport projects are under way or recently completed. First, the original terminal at Ben Gurion, dubbed Terminal 1, has been renovated and inaugurated for use by budget airlines. Terminal 1 is currently slated for 33 outbound flights per day. In addition to this upgrade at Ben Gurion, an additional wing is opening in Terminal 3. The new wing will add 17,000 square meters and 8 gates.

Perhaps bigger news is that two new airports are planned for Eilat and somewhere in the north. Of course the new airport in Eilat will replace the current airport, while the projected airport in the north will be completely new.