Air Travel Fees, Bumps and Hassles
10/1/2008 10:05:59 AM Link
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By Peter Greenberg, Forbestraveler.com
And just when you thought it couldn't get worse;
Within the next few weeks, airlines in the U.S. will be cutting their domestic capacity by up to 16 percent across the board. Southwest Airlines will cut 200 flights from its winter schedule this fall. In September, Jet Blue ended on the following routes: Boston to San Francisco, Boston to San José, New York to Ontario, Washington to Burbank, Washington to Las Vegas, and Washington to San Diego.
This means that major airlines will be parking (i.e., taking out of service) planes. Continental will park nearly 70 planes, American will retire more than 80 and United could park more than 120. Midwest is cutting one third of its fleet, and Frontier—currently operating under bankruptcy—is removing 17 percent of its capacity.
The best advice is basic common sense: Book as early as possible. And since your odds of getting bumped off a flight have increased, get to the airport early if you really need to get somewhere.
Try to book the very first flight of the morning. Reason being: There's a good chance that the aircraft assigned to your flight—as well as your flight crew—overnighted at your airport the night before. You therefore stand a better chance that the flight won't be delayed, or get stuck waiting for a crew.
Buy travel packages whenever possible. Tour operators often block space on flights that may not show as available on other websites or through the airlines themselves.