Overbooking is not a new problem. But having a cell phone video of just about every move you make in public is a growing concern for all us...not just the airlines. United today announced it is making adjustments to its overbooking policy based on the incident earlier this month. After you are finished reading this post, you can read the new policy updates here from United's website.
We all watched the April fiasco in horror (like an episode of the OA) where some guy was dragged off a plane all because the flight was overbooked and United needed to get its crew members on board. And while this incident was bottom line ridiculous, this incident speaks volumes about a much larger issue. I really hate to wax poetic about the past, but it wasn't that long ago when airlines truly empowered their employees to solve passenger issues, efficiently and with mutual satisfaction from all parties. More and more airlines (and other hospitality product suppliers) are opting to pay front line employees lower wages and cutting hours to part-time status. Well, you get what you pay for. The airlines, in my opinion, aren't on the forefront of attracting young, eager and energetic young professionals to join the ranks of aviation customer service. Then again...work at a ticket counter and deal with the general public interacting with a company (or an industry) that we Americans LOVE to hate? No thanks. Nevertheless, it is an issue that must be addressed because incidents like the one in April will continue and we will all have front row seats on YouTube.
That being said, I applaud United for making swift updates to policies and hopefully the incident is a HUGE wake up call to airlines. Incidentally, the Department of Transportation just released new data last month (March) and according to government data, Southwest is twice as likely to bump you off your flight than United.
PS. If I am on a flight and someone threatens to throw me off the plane because it's oversold, my response will be "whenever you're feelin' froggy...just leap."
It’s true what has been said “nothing in life is free”. However, there are a few things to consider if your budget is tight but you still want to include travel in 2009. If you have decided to not “stay local”, then here are the biggest expenditures: airfare, hotel, car rental, and food. That being said, if you are open to new ideas and destinations, plan a trip based on where you can get the biggest discount.
Figure out and round up all of your frequent flyer or reward programs information. Find out if you are eligible for airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, etc. What are you saving them for? You can't line your casket with them!
Look into deals-especially package deals. A lot of reputable companies put together travel packages to save you time and money. They buy the product in bulk (just like buying ten gallons of chicken stock at Costco) and then they pass the savings on to you. Due to the slumping economy, A LOT of hoteliers are offering deep discounts.
Airlines have a myriad of financial issues, so they too are offering great deals to destinations. My particular favorite is the companion ticket - a family of four can save big money if you shop around for them.
Every place in America (and most in the world) have an official tourism bureau. Once you have selected a destination, call the official Convention & Visitors Bureau and ask them “what’s free”. You’d be surprised at the number of activities you and your travel mates can take part in that doesn’t cost one red penny.
Keep an eye on the souvenir purchases. For parents, I always recommend buying their children little notepads and call it their birthday wish list. While on vacation, tell the children to pick out things they would like for their birthday. This is especially helpful at theme parks.
Eat a huge breakfast. Breakfast food is very cheap (for the most part) and it helps cut down on all the snack-food purchases throughout the day. Skip the booze. I love to tip ‘um back just as much as the next guy. But if you are trying to cut down on expenses, then cut out or limit the restaurant alcohol purchases.
I am not suggesting you pitch a tent in the driveway and call it travel, but I do want you to understand that even if you are trying to save a couple of bucks, you can still explore new places (to you) in this world without missing a mortgage payment.
I am on a mission to get you traveling more often. This blog is a reflection of my mission. I travel (on average) 30 weeks per year hosting and producing a television series for PBS. In addition, I host a weekly radio show and produce original travel videos for online distribution. I am very fortunate for these opportunities and it is my hope you will join me on my travels!