10 Useful Secrets the Major Airlines Don’t Want You to Know

Monday, October 22, 2007 at 2:25pm by admin

Ironically, traveling by air is getting more and more inconvenient as overbooked flights, lost luggage, and pricey ticket sales become more common. Unfortunately, booking a flight is sometimes just plain necessary, a fact that airlines know all too well, allowing them to continue maximizing profits while we passengers often get stuck on the ground.

The following is a list of useful secrets that will help you find cheaper, better, more convenient ways to fly. Bon voyage!

  1. Rule 240: Understanding your rights according to Rule 240 is vital. This article from Aviation.com explains the ins and outs of Rule 240, which states "that if an airline [can't] get you to your destination on time, it [is] required to put you on a competitor’s flight if it would get you there faster than your original airline’s next flight." Some airlines, including Delta, "no longer make any mention of transporting passengers on other airlines in the event of a flight disruption," so it’s in every passenger’s best interest to speak up.
  2. You can get better deals and schedules without buying directly from the airline. Sure, we all know about discount travel sites like Expedia.com and Orbitz, but matching a good deal with an ideal schedule and direct flight is sometimes tricky. Airlines often rely on travelers who can’t afford to waste time during long layovers and would rather shell out extra cash to keep them on schedule. There are alternatives, however. This article, from the Microsoft Small Business Center, suggests contacting a travel agent or even checking your newspaper for special deals. Agents "can have affiliate agreements with a large travel company that negotiates lower rates on their behalf," and "often, tour operators will advertise ridiculously low fares and package deals in the Sunday travel section."
  3. First class seats are available at coach prices. You may need to ask your travel agent to help you out with this tip, but it’s definitely worth it. According to San Diego’s 10News.com, coach tickets can be booked under codes like YUPP, QUPP, or Z, which award ticketholders automatic upgrades to first class. How does it work? According to Rick Seaney, president of FareCompare, "a lot of times the YUPPs are matching some sort of low-cost carrier in a particular market." According to the article, in 2006, a "round trip flight from Dallas to St. Louis on American Airlines, the YUPP fare is $278 — that’s nearly $1,500 cheaper than a regular seat in first class and more than a $1,000 less than the most expensive seat in coach."
  4. Find out which days equal the cheapest tickets. According to Wendy Perrin’s The Perrin Post by Conde Nast Traveler Magazine, "You’ll find cheaper fares and greater seat availability if you fly on a Saturday and return on a Tuesday, instead of going from Thursday to Sunday or Friday to Monday."
  5. Take advantage of lesser-known airlines. The European and Asian travel markets are noticing a boom in the number of smaller, cheaper airlines. Ryanair and Easyjet are popular airlines that are just as safe and probably more efficient than their larger competitors. Book flights on Jetstar or Malaysia Airlines for Asian travel. You won’t be able to fly direct from the U.S. on some of these airlines, but once you’re abroad, they’re definitely the way to travel.
  6. Fly foreign. Air France hosts its on U.S. site, which features extremely reasonable prices for tickets from various cities in the United States. You’ll probably find cheaper fares by checking with your destination’s airlines rather than American ones. Just be sure you calculate the exchange rate, however, to avoid paying more than you had intended.
  7. Re-work your travel schedule. If you plan on flying to several different cities, either within the U.S. or abroad, arrange your travel schedule so that you’re always flying into the cheapest cities. Wendy Perrin suggests looking "into flying via Dublin instead of London" if you’re going to Europe. "Aer Lingus has cheap flights, and low-fare carriers fly from Dublin to many European cities.
  8. Make sure you understand refund policies. Airlines can be reluctant when it comes to passing out ticket refunds, so make sure you’re familiar with their policy before getting duped. The article "Airlines’ policies on refunds and changes" from the New York Times connects you to the refund policies of all major U.S. airlines, including American, Delta, Southwest, and United. The article is dated 2001, but the links should take you to the most updated information.
  9. Buy consolidated. To find cheap fares even at the last minute, buy your tickets from a consolidator. wikiHow publishes a thorough step-by-step guide with tips on buying from a consolidator, including planning on departing from larger cities and finding great international ticket deals.
  10. Schedule your departure from a larger city to avoid higher prices. If you leave near a city like Dallas, Atlanta, Boston, or Los Angeles, consider driving to those hub airports instead of departing from the regional airports in your hometown. You can save hundreds of dollars and will avoid the hassle of having to connect (or miss) your next flight. Read the list of U.S. hub airports here.

Now that you’ve got the inside information on these top airline secrets, you’ve got a better chance of saving lots of cash, flying in more comfortable seats, and avoiding some of the inconveniences of traveling with major airlines. We hope you enjoy your trip!


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116 Comments »

  1. 11. They don’t always fly to the closest airport of your destination. E.g. European airline, Ryanair, will sometimes land at an airport more than 50-125 kms away from the major city. You have to add in extra cost for bus/taxi/train fares – which can be more than the flight cost. Also, you have to add in the extra travelling times.

    Comment by Richard C — October 22, 2007 @ 9:16 pm

  2. Thanks for the tips. Heard some of them before, but the links to your resources are great. Keep up the good work!

    Comment by Scott Edwards — October 22, 2007 @ 9:59 pm

  3. I understand Rule 240 went out with deregulation.

    Comment by Wyld Wyll — October 22, 2007 @ 10:43 pm

  4. I got in my destination from USA almost 2 months ago. I had my luggage lost, and when I got it back, I had 3 missing items. I think this is a disrespect with the client.
    Thanks for the tips.

    Comment by Andrea C. — October 22, 2007 @ 11:15 pm

  5. United is the least caring, least professional, least concerned about passenger comfort, welfare or anything of any airline I have flown. I avoid them like the plague except when there’s no reasonable alternative.

    They used to be the “Friendly Skies” but now they are the “Screw the Passenger” line.

    Comment by Hates United — October 22, 2007 @ 11:31 pm

  6. I flew RyanAir just a week ago and it was the worst flight I have ever taken. They charge for every little thing, hot flight, most of the passengers don’t listen. Never take it! Horrible!

    Comment by RyanAir Sucks — October 23, 2007 @ 3:35 am

  7. If you fly in Japan within 7 days of your birthday you can get discount fares for yourself and up to 3 friends. Nice for a little trip away from Tokyo.

    Comment by Simon — October 23, 2007 @ 4:23 am

  8. Your ’1. Rule 240′ comment is very inaccurate. Rule 240 isn’t a rule anymore, no one is required to follow it. You make it seem like it’s some sort of amazing certainty. Many airlines don’t abide by it, nor are they required to.

    Comment by Jet McFin — October 23, 2007 @ 6:53 am

  9. Regarding tip 10. In some cases, for example if you want to leave a car at the airport, it makes sense to fly out of a smaller city’s airport. For example, I live west of Chicago, if I park at O’Hare airport for a few days I would pay a lot for parking. If I fly out of Rockford, I sometimes fly cheaper and pay nothing for parking.

    Comment by Paul — October 23, 2007 @ 10:57 am

  10. Very good article! Obviously, rules are going to shift and change with the situation, but this is a good resource to bookmark! Thanks for your hard work on this! ~Paul W.

    Comment by MyMarketer — October 23, 2007 @ 1:09 pm

  11. Nice, but it would have been a better article if you actually knew more about travel. You’ve linked to resources that are providing half the information people really need – and you clearly have no idea what the other half is. Other than the Rule 240 and Tip #10 corrections in the comments, I can say that European LCCs have at least as many downsides as upsides :) and point 4 has really obfuscated what *could* have been useful information about what days are cheapest.

    Comment by Dan — October 23, 2007 @ 1:25 pm

  12. Thankyou for the information which I found very useful. I’ve bookmarked it for future use for when I fly!

    Comment by Close Protection — October 23, 2007 @ 2:17 pm

  13. I just took AirFrance to and from Paris (to LAX)
    They kick ass. Moreso on the return trip, the food was much better, decent room, and you can choose from lots of movies still in theaters on your own television (in the cheapo section!)

    Comment by Shaun — October 23, 2007 @ 3:55 pm

  14. Malaysia airlines is awful.. the cheapest way to fly in SE Asia (and more comfortable than MAS) is AirAsia

    airasia.com

    Comment by anthony — October 23, 2007 @ 4:01 pm

  15. Malaysia Airlines is one of the world’s nicest airlines for long-haul travel. 34″ seat pitch in economy (that’s more legroom than almost anyone), great food, friendly helpful crew, video-on-demand on most planes.

    On flights where they compete with AirAsia (4 hours or less), the planes are ho-hum. But that’s not a reflection of their long-haul service. And the legroom is still better than AirAsia’s miserly 29″.

    Comment by miguel — October 23, 2007 @ 10:59 pm

  16. I use to work for an minor airline that had partnerships with most of the major airlines and they had another travel rule that would be useful when placing people on later connecting flights because of delays (weather or traffic related) without charge. The magick words were “Rule 20 20″ that which a counter agent has to say to the connecting airline when they tried to help rebook them.

    Comment by Bruni — October 23, 2007 @ 11:08 pm

  17. I know that this is not a “gripe site”, but I cannot help but inject my two cents worth of opinion about British Airways. They are the MOST incompetent, most arrogant, and most unhelpful airline on the planet.

    As much as I love traveling in Europe (especially in Scotland and Ireland), I will NEVER again fly BA.

    By the way, thanks for the useful tips.

    . . . Climbs off of soapbox ;>)

    Comment by DocChuck — October 23, 2007 @ 11:53 pm

  18. Thanks a lot for the tips! BTW you should have mentioned that JetStar is a budget airline with adequate (not bad, but budget) service.

    Comment by Acronyms — October 24, 2007 @ 12:23 am

  19. FLY DELTA JETS
    After bankruptcy, they’re a new airline..Fresh…safe, clean and on time much more than say, JetBlue.

    Comment by ryan — October 24, 2007 @ 12:36 am

  20. If you are flying in South Africa, another cheap airline is mango airlines – http://www.flymango.com

    Comment by mike — October 24, 2007 @ 2:02 am

  21. Also consider that some travel sites can give you great deals when you combine flights and car rentals, and you can save money like in our Clearwater/Tampa Airport area.

    Comment by Clearwater Car Rental — October 24, 2007 @ 7:16 am

  22. This rule is still advised by some key inside sources.
    Of course without a smile and some calm reasoning in your manner then you are on your own and might as well get cozy with the terminal seat :)

    Comment by Rule 240 still exists — October 24, 2007 @ 9:11 am

  23. And we mustn’t forget Air Canada. I love the motto my boss came up with for them:

    “Air Canada: We’re not happy until you’re not happy.”

    Comment by Hamish MacDonald — October 24, 2007 @ 11:15 am

  24. As stated above, Ryanair is definitely to be avoided. They use airports in the middle of nowhere, with misleading names.eg. They call Charleroi ‘Brussels South’, although it’s almost in France.
    They charge for booking and – a lot – for each piece of luggage. You cannot reserve seats, so there is a mad rush to board and grab a good seat. You can avoid this by paying extra for a ‘priority boarding’ card.
    In common with other European airlines, you can only carry one piece of hand luggage, so transit passengers may have to give up one item. Ryanair passengers cannot share luggage allowance, so a couple using one case may well have to pay a hefty excess charge even if the weight is no more than the two allowances combined.
    In addition, some of the airports they use, notably “London” Stanstead, have incredibly strict security procedures which take ages and the staff are unbelievably rude. Finally, forget any ideas about refunds for whatever reason unless you’ve bought the Ryanair Insurance cover.

    Comment by Allan Mawdsley — October 24, 2007 @ 11:28 am

  25. Ryanair are brutal. Fly direct, don’t stop off in Dublin. No refunds, even those you are entitled too (Ryanair keeps airport taxes and charges if you miss your flight, even though the airport only charges them if you actually fly – you can apply for a refund but the “processing fee” is higher than the amount you are entitled too!) The whole “you get what you pay for” thing is just not worth it. Avoid avoid avoid – so you’ll save a few dollars, but is it worth potentially ruining your holiday by being stressed and annoyed at the start of your trip?

    Comment by irishstu — October 24, 2007 @ 11:54 am

  26. Point #3 is incorrect. A ‘Z’ fare is not a coach fare with free upgrade. YUP, QUP, and other coach-UP fares are, however, a Z fare is a deeply discounted business class fare. Oftentimes these Z fares have very strict rules such as purchase 60+ days in advance, etc.

    Comment by Keer — October 24, 2007 @ 12:14 pm

  27. I’m really surprised by all the bashing of Ryanair here. I use them (and EasyJet) quite frequently and find them perfectly adequate–they do exactly what they profess to do, which is get you from here to there at the lowest possible price. The policy of charging a nominal amount for checked luggage is perfectly fair, and encourages people to travel light, which is a good thing for everyone. And the unassigned seating means boarding is faster and therefore flights leave more quickly. It is true that some of the airports they use are farther from city centers than others, so this is potentially something to investigate beforehand.

    They’re also much more reliable than British Airways, whose flights are almost always delayed by an hour or more. For a short getaway they can’t be beat. If you want luxury on your holiday, like some miserable airplane meal, go ahead and pay luxury prices. And Mr. Mawdsley, ALL British airports have incredibly strict security procedures now, largely thanks to US foreign policy.

    Comment by Klark — October 24, 2007 @ 1:59 pm

  28. AirAsia (airasia.com) is a no frills/budget airlines. So be sure to pack your own ramen if you want fly on one. Please except flight delays. Malaysia Airlines is good for long haul flights. Check Emirates, they are also good. :)

    Comment by azman — October 24, 2007 @ 2:08 pm

  29. Sell all airlines! If you don’t own them, short em!

    Comment by airline fin analyst — October 24, 2007 @ 2:30 pm

  30. @keer- YUPs and QUPs aren’t “complimentary upgrades” either. They book into A or F fare buckets, bother of which are First Class. Therefore YUPs and QUPs are first class bookings, not upgraded coach tickets.

    Comment by acidik — October 24, 2007 @ 3:13 pm

  31. I am not sure I agree about your Rule #4. Traveling on weekends is usually more expensive. Also you should remember minimum stay saturday requirement

    Comment by Faremax — October 24, 2007 @ 3:35 pm

  32. #10 isn’t always true.
    Airlines tend to charge a premium for direct flights, so it can be cheaper to fly from a local airport to the hub, or even schedule the flight from a regional airport, skip it, and drive to the hub for the second leg of travel.

    The best advice is always to do your research and see what travel plans can save the most money. Try changing the dates/times slightly, flying from a different airport, adding one layover, etc.

    Comment by esc27 — October 24, 2007 @ 4:15 pm

  33. As far as I know, Rule 240 is no longer applicable. The new one is Resolution SIPP 120.20, sort of like Rule 240, but not.
    Also, with Interline E-ticketing agreements, most any airline can pull up another airline’s E-ticket and take control (except DL, they are the most difficult to get control of an ETKT). This way, if you’re booked on airline A and they cancel or are delayed, you can contact airline B and they should be able to take control of the ticket and book you on their flight (note: you have to be unchecked-in from the original airline’s flight.)

    Comment by Marc — October 24, 2007 @ 5:10 pm

  34. great tips – thanks for these. I’ll have to remember those YUPP and QUPP codes as well as the rule 240.

    Comment by Matt Ellsworth — October 24, 2007 @ 7:12 pm

  35. The best way to fly in Europe if you are in Frankfurt Germany is Lufthansa. Ryanair is a bus with wings that has a fee for everything.. You want to check in at the airport, A FEE (US passports can not check in online) Check a bag, a FEE, everything is a fee. Lufthansa has 99 EURO deals to most of Europe to the MAIN airports unlike Ryanair will you will end up at airports at times an hour away from the city. A tip to Lufthansa for folks with US address, you can book these 99 EURO tickets for around $106USD, if you book on the USA webpage. One other thing Lufthansa will do if you need to cancel the flight they will refund the taxes and fees.. that is about $89 of the $106 total…

    Comment by Damian — October 24, 2007 @ 10:32 pm

  36. beaware travelling aer lingus from malaga or barcelona as you may be delayed while the whole crew shop for cheap booze

    Comment by james murphy — October 25, 2007 @ 5:07 pm

  37. Aer Lingus is shortly to unveil a collaboration with Jet Blue that will enable passengers book directly from nearly 60 US locations through to Dublin viw JFK and Boston

    Comment by Pat — October 25, 2007 @ 6:42 pm

  38. By far the worst planes, dirtiest, and flight attendants reek

    Comment by Hassan Amidhozour — October 26, 2007 @ 6:10 am

  39. Quatar airways I think has the best links to east africa, they generally have a stop in Doha, if you do get a stop on your flight get an overnight one (say 14 hours) and they put you up in a gorgeous hotel for free, with dinner and breakfast… even in economy!! Well they did for me and a lot of others! Here’s to restful travel!

    Comment by Gwen — October 27, 2007 @ 4:55 pm

  40. And yes….its all good. Lets get goin on that Holiday vacation!

    Comment by D Lawrence — October 29, 2007 @ 3:46 pm

  41. I don’t know why they miss the magical website: skyscanner.net

    no commission charge and search all flights in a very handy manner.

    Comment by Alan — October 29, 2007 @ 3:49 pm

  42. Well, in SE Asia we have Tiger Airways- http://www.tigerairways.com beside Jetstar. Plus SIA(Singapore Airline) just flew in the new Airbus A380…

    Comment by Sophie — October 30, 2007 @ 5:03 am

  43. Sorry. He chewed out of his restraints again. He has never actually flown on British Airways but sees their tv ads a lot.

    Comment by Mrs. DocChuck — November 7, 2007 @ 3:44 am

  44. re: esc27′s comment on skipping the first leg of your trip … that’s a good way to get your entire itinerary cancelled!

    Comment by veeh — November 9, 2007 @ 12:15 am

  45. He’s just cranky because Oysters Rockefeller wasn’t on the in-flight menu.

    Comment by MrsDocChuck — November 10, 2007 @ 12:17 am

  46. As a frequent Ryanair traveler I cannot agree with “Ryanairsucks” (post No. 4) traveling from Hamburg Germany to London England ( $23.00 return) and paying for a glass of water, is better than Lufthansa at $1,200 plus, (return,) and free water.

    Comment by Not Tobrite — November 11, 2007 @ 1:59 pm

  47. Great info. Watch the spelling though. “Own” instead of “on” Tip 6 and “live” instead of “leave” Tip 10.

    Teacher

    Comment by Clhart — November 12, 2007 @ 2:06 am

  48. thats a great informaiton i love it
    thanks for sharing it
    bhaktapurgirl
    mazzako.blogspot.com

    Comment by bhaktapurgirl — November 12, 2007 @ 7:10 am

  49. My two cents to all this. I used to tour the world at least 4-6 times a year in the 80 and 90s. Now flying is far from anything pleasurable. Coach and priority “Business or First’ what makes them less to be screened than us. USA and SOME Canadians customs agents are the RUDEST in the world . and HELL get them on a diet soon they’ll be popping the boths they sit in. You approach them with near fear as the kindest smile and chirpy HELLO HOW ARE YOU gets you a frown in return. I spend 2 1/2 hours in Vancouver only for having a BRAND NEW BIOMETRIC passport and was taken away and put under suspicion of pedophilia only because I had two tiny pics of a small 15 year old black daughter (adopted in South Africa) and my lovers daughter 15 year old Chinese daughter..The bluntly asked me DO YOU LIKE CHILDREN . I replied of course I do ..than they asked how about little boys. I said I love kids equally. They took my laptop away
    asked for password etc. and went through my luggage for 2.5 hours. I was NOT allowed a glass of water and when ever my patience went short I was told in a scolding way. IF YOU CAN NOT REMAIN calm . You can take a seat there and we deal with you when you have recovered your patience. indulging to dimatel my properly packed luggage (2pcs coming from Hong Kong where I am a permanent resident) seemed to be a fun game . Pressurization for me to repack when finally they let me go with some chop on the custom declaration ( where NOTHING WAS FOUND) was equal unpleasant, as their shift had ended. During the whole ordeal I was NOT allowed to call my friend waiting outside who thought something really bad had happend as I confirmed being on the departing flight after sitting on board in HKG. Then came the cake topping. I still had to return back to near passport control to some other custom agent WHO STARTED all questions AGAIN..When I told him I had answerd all these already . HE took the same PATRONIZING attitude .. If you do not wish to reply now you can sit there and try to appease your anger/impatience.
    He than went to demand my friend tel number and called and verified if I really was visiting him and if he and I had a daughter etc.. HUMILIATING for a democratic country like Canada. Both agents were of Asian origin and I am Caucasian.I sensed PURE RECISME in both having a ZELOUS attitude of I am the boss her your right is to behave shut up and kow tow to MY COMMANDS.
    I also OBJECT deeply that sealed bottles of water bottles and home made sandwiches can not be brought into the TRANSIT LOUNGES to be consumed BEFORE departure.
    BUT anything from 1gallong soft drinks can be taken on board IF purchased inside the transit area on the way to the States. WHAT guarantees me that no drink sold inside the transit in not tainted with anything illegal.
    IT SIMPLY BOOSTS the sales inside the transit lounges where 1-2 hours before departure asre required.and I am quite sure someone recuperated all the thrown away water bottles before customs and sells them again under some scheme.
    AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST. When will USA get X ray machines that all respond the same way? In one city your simple plastic watch metal buckle set the alarm off, in others my stainless steel name bracelet chain clearly visible, and in Washington it was the HOCK of my tailored trouser that set it off after making me pass 20 x again and again in a clear plastic cubicle like a guinea pig and undressing more and more till topeless with my trouser zipper open to check the finally tiny metal bucle of the waist band in a glass cublicle in front of all passing passengers passing by the X ray, looking at me as HERE they caught a smuggler or some villain like that, while my laptop was there with my shoes and opern shoulder bag ready to be taken by anyone daring as no one was watching it. When I made the remark pointing with my finger I was DEMANDEDE to remain with my arms up over 10minutes by the RUDEST FEMALE fat butch “DYKE” looking agaent that was checking me.
    I was told to mind MY BUSINESS she finally let me go and simle walked away and forgot to hand me back my passport and I in my stress only found out at passport control. It took me 30 min more waiting to get her back with it as she was on brake and I did not know here name and they got all stressed out beacuse WHY IS THAT MAN COMING BACK to the X ray machine what wicked reason might push him to do that.
    WHO on earth remembers names of airport securuity staff. I DO NOT MIND BEING CHECKED for security but MR BUSH teach your staff the NAME OF EUROPEAN COUNTRIES to read on passport AUSTRIA is NOT AUSTRALIA and because a passport is NEW does not mean it is fake and IF WE GO through the trouble of getting the now required BIOMETRIC one, give us the credit for having done so and do not ask for the OLD ONE (lucky I carried it with me also) to prove the new one is not a fake. The old one showed I had been many times in SOUTH AFRICA in the past ten years and I had to explain all the reasons WHY and WHERE I went to RSA for 8 years out of 10. I happen to have a 92 year old dad there I have had not seen for 40 years etc… What business is it to Americans? TEACH YOUR BORDER STAFF ” COURTESY and give teach them a WELCOMING ATTITUDE !! Flying is already a risk WE TAKE we do not need the aggravation of being interrogated and looked upon AS GUILTY before proven otherwise…
    I REALLY HATE FLYING NOW what ever class. I am 50+ and NO punk or pierced or tattooed or of bearded middle eastern resemblance! So SHOW US SOME RESPECT and maybe Europeans will want to come and visit USA again because in the last years the idea only to have to come on business to USA has become a NIGHTMARE.

    Comment by Vic Stapel — November 12, 2007 @ 9:17 am

  50. “Rule 240″ DOES NOT EXIST. Bloggers should check their facts too, not just journalists.

    Comment by Brian — November 13, 2007 @ 3:18 am

  51. Very informative. I’ve never known about this before.
    Thanks

    Comment by Mas Jabier — November 14, 2007 @ 1:27 am

  52. I actually almost liked Ryanair – but you have to read the terms very carefully!

    Unlike most of the airlines, Ryanair only allows you 15 kilos per passenger with no luggadge pooling (when you have 20 kilos where your friend – only 10, you would still be charged for excess laggadge – EUR 8 per kilo at the moment)

    However, they do allow up to 10 kilos of hand baggadge weight – so if you do not mind the bring aroung heavy hand-bag – you’re in!

    But nonetheless, Ryanair is not a patch on Easyjet efficiency!

    Comment by ioni — November 20, 2007 @ 6:18 am

  53. Websites like http://www.weefly.com

    compares flights for you and find the cheapest flight ticket. With the advanced option, it is possible to find the cheapest weekend to travel. I found mine at £29 to London.
    cheers
    Monica

    Comment by Monica — November 25, 2007 @ 2:23 pm

  54. “Malaysia airlines is awful.. the cheapest way to fly in SE Asia (and more comfortable than MAS) is AirAsia”

    Yes. I too agree on that.

    Comment by James Chia — November 26, 2007 @ 8:12 am

  55. The airlines now have made flying an ORDEAL, not anything close to pleasant. All in the name of profit, people are treated with less respect and more like cattle! Its high time the government put back regulation. The airlines are getting away with murder and are now in the same class as the oil and drug companies. We need to speak out more to the DOT and file complaints.

    Comment by Frank Palermo — December 3, 2007 @ 6:03 pm

  56. I disagree with those who state the airlines have made flying an ordeal. I travel quite frequently in the US, Caribbean, and Europe on various airlines. I have always had a pleasant experience with the flight crews, security staff, and Customs/Immigration employees, even in countries where there was a language barrier. Treat them with respect and courtesy and invariably you will get the same in return.

    To those that bash the British security screening, get over it! Terrorism has made strict security a way of life. The UK was recently hit with a wave of terrorist activity. As a 30 veteran of law enforcement, I commend their efforts in a very difficult job. (and no, I don’t get any special treatment when I fly) I feel very safe when flying out of the UK, which is why we have the security in the first place. If you can identify a terrorist in a crowd 100% of the time, you could make a fortune in the security industry. The problem is, they don’t look like the cartoon drawing, stereotyped figures, so everyone gets screened equally. Those who arouse suspicion by their actions, will invariably get closer attention, and rightfully so.

    Understanding the screening process will make the “ordeal” much easier when you choose clothing without a lot of metal, place watches and jewelry in your carry-on bag and keep your carry-on bag to a minimum. I have flown both economy and first class on US domestic and international flights and can assure you, the security screening process is the same; however, some airlines give first class passengers a separate line the goes to the front of the line.

    In regards to carry-on bags, people take too much on the plane with them, taking up what little space there is. If it is big enough to need wheels on it, it belongs in the baggage compartment. Quit running over my toes with stuff that you don’t need during the flight. It will make everyone flight more enjoyable.

    I have flown Air France, Alitalia, Swiss, British Airways, American, United, Air Jamaica, Hawaiian, Continental and many of those airlines no longer around such as PSA, TWA, Western, etc. While some flights may have had issues, I always found that the airline employees did their best to accomodate my needs based on the circumstances. Air France does score high in my book :) for customer service.

    One last note, when traveling abroad, try greeting people in the local language. Even if you stumble over the words, the gesture will be appreciated and will generally get a smile out of the customs/immigration officer. Respect gets respect in return. I can’t wait until my next trip! Aloha!

    Comment by Ron Melton — December 4, 2007 @ 12:14 am

  57. I totally agree with those who hate United Airlines. A small bag of salted whatever on a 5-7 hr flight is not my idea of customer relations. A cold, dry sandwich for $5 is absolute greed on their part. Additionally, some of their personnel are downright rude. I do not fly this abomination of an airline.

    Comment by Bill — December 4, 2007 @ 8:19 pm

  58. Humourous blog, but tackling AA; linked to your site. Nice.
    So is that one, particularly if you dislike Air Asia, or wish to prepare yourself for what your journey holds.

    Comment by Zuel — December 5, 2007 @ 7:29 am

  59. airasia booming in asia

    Comment by Ian — December 7, 2007 @ 10:38 am

  60. the best advice is to be flexible. fly a different day or from a diff airport. the savings can be huge, you just have to check.

    Comment by david — December 7, 2007 @ 11:30 pm

  61. and i totally disagree with flying from major hubs. i find they are almost always more expensive!!

    Comment by david — December 7, 2007 @ 11:31 pm

  62. Nice and interesting article! Thanks

    Comment by THE CHEAPEST FLIGHT FINDER — December 8, 2007 @ 5:22 pm

  63. Rule 240 really does not exist anymore except by some policy. What does happen is that each airline enters into agreements with other carriers (often limited) to accomodate these pax……Many airlines now have few, if any, agreements, so if they cannot get yout here on your airline, you are stuck…..

    Comment by Capt Rick — December 15, 2007 @ 4:05 pm

  64. Re: Z-fare: I discovered the “Z” fare last year when booking for a trip to Italy. I booked a seat in business class on United and found it was the greatest way to travel. It still isn’t cheap, compared to coach, but the Z fare was half the cost of a regular business class seat. The service was excellent, the seat terrific (with a lumbar support that inflates and deflates), individual TV screens, and so much more. The only problem I had was when I tried to book on-line, the United site couldn’t finish the booking. I copied all the flight information and then called United reservations center. She first quoted the ‘normal’ business class cost but when I told her I was trying to book the reduced price online, she came back on the phone in a few seconds and gave me the booking at the website price. I’ll always fly business class again and never pay the full price. I arrived in Rome refreshed and ready to see the sites. FYI – I’ve never found the Z fare listed on searches other than on individual airline websites. Also, flying business allows you to bypass the long security waits and go through the “First Class & Business Class” security lines. Happy travels.

    Comment by Victoria — December 17, 2007 @ 3:50 am

  65. Fantastic guide. Thanks

    Comment by THE CHEAPEST FLIGHT FINDER — December 29, 2007 @ 5:16 pm

  66. Some airlines do not allow a change from one airline to another in the event of a schedule change. They may, if you are at the counter and if they have an agreement with the other carrier, but it is better to check with the airline to be sure, rather than arguing it out with the airline rep in the terminal.
    Please remember that each airline has their own policies as well as FAA policies.

    Comment by Becky — February 11, 2008 @ 11:16 pm

  67. I love flying. The best part is getting off the plane safely at the end. On an Air Nauru flight in an airbus seating potentially several hundred, we had 5 passengers and 5 hostesses. Thinking we’d have personal attention, in fact we had a hard time dragging the staff away from their game of cards during the 3 hour flight to Guam. In 2001, on Emirates (which I still prefer in the Middle East), our flight made an unscheduled stop in SriLanka one day after a civil war that had left the international airport a disaster area with every plane on the tarmac blown up. Seeing the remains of those planes and the soldiers lining up alongside the runway was a good incentive to begin a prayer life. Thankfully I already had one so I rather spent the time helping calm down my nervous co-passenger beside me. In 1990, on our way to Beijing, I looked out the window of our Cathay Pacific flight to see what looked like smoke coming from the wings. I was wrong. The plane had turned round because radar in China was down and we were almost back to Hong Kong where we had started and because planes aren’t allowed (for safety) to land with a full tank, they were jettisoning the fuel over the South China Sea. That was the “smoke.” Ah…the fun of flying.

    Comment by Murray — March 15, 2008 @ 11:49 am

  68. Since deregulation airlines like Northwest made a rule saying that they did not have to accommodate any travelers in the event of a delay or cancellation, and just for kicks they put it under section 240 which previously meant the opposite. So the rule still exists it just hurts instead of helps.

    Comment by Charlie — April 11, 2008 @ 2:27 pm

  69. I love flying, but Delta has disappointed me once again in their customer service dept. I suggest not flying with them, if you can use another company, there is to much competition form them to be so ruthless and unprofessional in there commucation skills with their customers.

    Comment by K Sullivan — April 15, 2008 @ 8:05 pm

  70. Rule 240 was nullified with deregulation in the ’70s. In fact, most of today’s airlines don’t even make it their responsibility to put you on the flight for which you bought a ticket in the first place. Check your facts.

    Comment by catnip — April 19, 2008 @ 11:15 pm

  71. Can’t agree with point #2 more. It does not make sense booking with Expedia et al, more expensive, up-front payment, little customer service/support etc. Remember, strong brands always come at a premium. Malaysia Airline is generally quite good.

    Comment by Chiang — May 7, 2008 @ 10:29 pm

  72. Good article! Congratulations!

    Comment by lavrento — May 15, 2008 @ 10:25 pm

  73. Thanks for the Great ideas… I’m always up for saving some dough when I travel!

    Comment by John — May 16, 2008 @ 3:33 pm

  74. Great tips! The first rule is MUST know!

    Comment by transliteration — May 27, 2008 @ 12:21 pm

  75. I got screwed at new years. They had us fill out forms. They sent us $150 gift cards for the mess up.

    What I did, is send another letter. Got another $150 gift certificate. I thought why not send another…. got another.

    They don’t keep track, United sent me 4 $150 gift certificates from the same incident in TOKYO.

    Comment by Best Exercise Information — June 11, 2008 @ 8:36 am

  76. Thanks for the 240 rule. Never heard of it before.

    James Love
    http://www.wheresthebeachdude.com

    Comment by James Love — June 24, 2008 @ 12:46 am

  77. Nestled in the Eastern region of the Himalayas, Bhutan is a small country roughly the size of Switzerland and fondly referred to as Druk Yul “Land of thunder Dragon” by the Bhutanese. Bhutan has remained a country where age old customs and traditions are still part of the everyday lives of the people, even while modernization, development and the strains of global influences are felt more and more.www.go2bhutan.com

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  78. I’ve worked as a travel agent and changed professions because they are as slimey as a car salesman! Consolidated tickets can come at a lower cost but the fees for any changes to these tickets ie. dates etc. is going to be at least 6 x higher then with the airline directly and that is only before the agent tacks on whatever they want as a comission. So if you bought a ticket for a $100 and your mom has a heart attack so you want to delay your trip by a month it could end up costing up to $1000 in change fees and so on. The 240 Rule is a VERY good tip though!!

    Comment by Tiffany — August 15, 2008 @ 7:52 pm

  79. I love lists, lists make the world go ’round. Thank you for this detail info. #8 is quite important.

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  80. Great info! Thanks.

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  84. Thank you for the tips, they were very useful to me.

    Comment by airline secrets — February 18, 2009 @ 1:41 am

  85. I need to cancel my flight booking with Emirates as my father in law has passed away recently but was told it will cost me $1200 to cancel 4 tickets. is there a way out? please help. I would rather donate the money to charity than donate it to Emirates..no compassion airline.

    Comment by Rashi — August 13, 2009 @ 12:22 pm

  86. Wow I really needed to read this, thanks so much for taking your time to write this.

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  87. its first time i come to know above secrets topic. i never know about. thanks for sharing great tips

    best regard
    Nepal Travel

    Comment by Nepal Travel — February 19, 2010 @ 1:54 pm

  88. after being stranded in florida with no help what so ever from united airline and atlas insurance company its about time these were made to accept liability and help their customers .if a booking is made in the eu and the airline takes the booking in the eu it should abide by the eu rules and not try everything it can to get out of compensation and all insurance should pay come what may

    Comment by demi — April 26, 2010 @ 5:43 pm

  89. Good work on a well researched article.

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  99. I would also recommend flying to a continent and using cheaper local airlines when there. For example, fly from Canada to England to enter Europe (use Canadian Affair) and then use cheap airlines like Ryan and Jet to get to other European countries. Or fly to Hongkong from Europe or N.A using Air China, (as cheap as $300) and then use Air Asia to fly to other Asian countries.
    One rule to keep in mind is that Expedia and Fare Compare may tell you that ou don’t need a visa, but they are in NO WAY responsible if you are turned away at customs. Make sure you check all entrance requirements yourself. And if your already paying for your credit card, upgrade to have flight cancellation on the card.
    Hope this helps save some headaches that i have had in my years of continuous travel.

    Comment by Nick - Goats On The Road — November 28, 2012 @ 5:48 am

  100. I would also recommend flying to a continent and using cheaper local airlines when there. For example, fly from Canada to England to enter Europe (use Canadian Affair) and then use cheap airlines like Ryan and Jet to get to other European countries.

    Comment by Awais — April 4, 2013 @ 4:10 pm

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