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AIRLINE TICKET SAVVY


What is the difference between nonstop, direct and connecting flights? 

A nonstop flight flies directly from point A to point B without any stops. 

A direct flight will fly from point A to point B, but youíll have at least one if not several stops along the way. 

To get from point A to point B on a connecting flight, youíll not only have to stop over along the way, but you will also have to get out and make another flight to finish your journey. 



Is the best way to get there with a nonstop, direct or connecting flight? 

Prices on these three options will vary as to which is the cheapest way to go, so youíll probably want to evaluate each possibility for cost. 

The frequent flyer points awarded on these three options can also vary. 

On a very long trip it might be easier on you to enjoy a short stop over, but this will depend on the length of the trip and the stop over, as well as, personal preferences. 

Nonstop flights are the quickest and simplest way to get there since you wonít have to deal with any stops or transfers. Nonstop flights also provide less opportunity for your luggage to be lost. 



What does it mean if it states that the ticket is nontransferable? 

This usually means that the ticket is only to be used by the person whose name is listed on the ticket and cannot be used by anyone else but that person. 

Policies will vary among types of tickets, so check the Airlineís policy to find out exactly what the term means when it is applied to a particular ticket. 



What does it mean if it states that the ticket is nonrefundable? 

This means that you will not be issued a refund for the amount of the ticket if you donít use it. Policies can vary, so check the Airlineís policy to find out the exact meaning when it is applied to a particular ticket. 

Some Airlineís will allow a nonrefundable ticket to be used another time, but there is usually a penalty in the form of a fee to change the original itinerary of the ticket. If you are using a travel consolidator, remember that they can sign agreements with the Airline that will eliminate some of your protections, so in their case nonrefundable may mean use it or loose it. 

What happens if I have to cancel my trip? 

Ask the reservation center about the ticket cancellation policy. 

Generally, the cheaper the ticket the more restrictions. 

You might be able to get a refund or use the ticket another time, but all tickets have some restrictions. 

Make sure you can live with the ticketís restrictions if there is any chance youíll be canceling your trip. 

Cancel your reservation as soon as you are sure you wonít need your ticket, since some Airlines have lesser penalties for an early cancellation. 



What happens if I lose my paper ticket? 

If you are using a paper ticket, you should check all the information printed on the ticket for accuracy and write down the ticket number as soon as you get it. 

You should notify the Airline at once so they can begin the process of issuing you another ticket. Having written down your ticket number will help simplify this process. 

The penalty for losing a ticket will depend on the individual Airlineís policy. 

You might have to pay a replacement ticket fee, which can be quite costly. 

Other programs require you to purchase a new ticket at the current price rate, which will probably be more expensive since you may no longer be eligible for an advance purchase deals. Then youíll receive a refund for the original ticket, less a service fee. This refund can take weeks, if not months, so donít lose your ticket. 



Should I use electronic ticketing or e-tickets? 

You might consider electronic ticketing so you wonít have paper tickets to loose. Some Airlines are beginning to convert to only electronic ticketing. In any case, be sure to get a confirmation number and bring it with you. As always, it never hurts to reconfirm your flight information directly with the Airline, especially if someone else made your reservation. 
Traveling on an e-ticket may help you to avoid some of the extra and often high charges associated with issuing and delivering a paper ticket. 
You should check directly with the Airline in advance if you have an electronic ticket because you will need some form of paperwork to make it through the security checkpoint and into the gate areas. The Airline might be able to mail, fax or email any additional paperwork you need or you should be able to pick up the additional paperwork at their check-in counter when you check your luggage. 
If you are traveling abroad, avoid using electronic ticketing. Along with passport and visas, some countries require you have a paper ticket to get into their country. Even if itís just to change planes on a connecting flight. 
Paper tickets still have the advantage that youíll have something in your hand to prove you have a ticket and this can still come in handy if you are traveling to an area where you might find personnel with fewer computer skills. Paper tickets can also be handy if your flight is cancelled and your Airline offers to book you a seat on another Airline. Although, Airlines are working to improve their computer systems, most Airlines are not yet able to accept e-tickets from other Airlines. Often, you still need to have your airline print you a paper ticket and then endorse it over to another carrier. 



What will I need to bring to the airport if I use electronic ticketing? 

Youíll need to bring your driverís license or other government issued picture I.D., such as a driverís license, passport or state I.D. card to prove it is really you. 
A college I.D., even a state college I.D., may not be acceptable. 
The name on the ticket must match the name on your I.D. exactly. 
Youíll also want to bring along your ticketís confirmation number. 
You may need to bring the credit card the ticket was charged on for the Airline to swipe through their computer, especially if you bought the ticket directly from the Airline. 
You should check directly with the Airline in advance if you have an electronic ticket because you will need some form of paperwork to make it through the security checkpoint and into the gate areas. The Airline might be able to mail, fax or email any additional paperwork you need or you should be able to pick up the additional paperwork at their check-in counter when you check your luggage. 

What documentation will I need to travel? 

You must present a government issued photo I.D., such as a driverís license, passport or state I.D. card when you check-in. A college I.D., even a state college I.D., may not be acceptable. Without the proper I.D., most Airlines wonít allow you to board the plane, even on domestic flights. If you donít have any of the I.D. listed above, you should call your Airline directly or checkout their web site to see if any alternative I.D. will be acceptable. 
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, children do not need a government issued photo I.D. for domestic flights as long as an accompanying adult certifies their identity. 
A valid ticket and the name on that ticket must match the name on the I.D. exactly. 
Passengers traveling on an e-ticket will need some form of paperwork from the airline in addition to an e-ticket number to be allowed through the security checkpoint. 
On international flights, youíll need a passport. The name on that passport must match the name on your ticket exactly. Bring your certified marriage certificate if a recent marriage has changed your name and file for a new passport as soon as possible. 
Check with the countries that youíll be visiting to see what types of documentation youíll need to enter and exit those countries. 
Remember that all travel documents are ultimately the travelerís responsibility and the Airline cannot make exceptions to governmental laws. 



How can I find out if I will need a passport or visa for my trip? 

The U.S. State Department, Bureau of Consular Affairsí Foreign Entry Requirements web page at 
travel.state.gov/foreignentryreqs.html  will tell you all the requirements you must meet. This site lists the entry requirements of foreign countries. It also includes the addresses and telephone numbers of foreign embassies and consulates in the United States. This web site is a good starting point, but since the information presented is subject to change, you should also check directly with the embassy or consulate of the country you a planning to visit.

The U.S. State Departmentís Foreign Consular Offices web page located at  www.state.gov/www/travel/consular_offices/fco_index.html  is also a helpful website. This site contains an updated listing of contact information for foreign countriesí consular offices in the United States.


Do I need to confirm my reservation? 

Yes, it never hurts to confirm your reservation directly with the Airline, especially if you depended on someone else to book that reservation. This will give the Airline the opportunity to update to any changes in flight information. Verify all your ticket information, including the spelling of your name. You also want to verify that any special requests are listed on your reservation. 



How can I avoid long waits at the airport? 

Before you leave for the airport, contact the Airline for an update on the flight schedule. It could save you hours of lobby waiting, especially if weather conditions are poor. There are other sources of flight delay information, but checking directly with the Airline should provide you the most accurate information. Be careful to stay updated and still allow yourself plenty of extra time to make it to the airport when the flight is ready. Late flights will mean an even more crowded airport with longer lines everywhere so be sure to arrive early enough to make it onto your flight. 
Look at the airportís layout in advance to get an idea of where you are going. 
Go To: US Airports & Foreign Airports Links 
If available to you, consider using curbside or off-airport check-in or electronic ticket kiosks. This way you may be able to avoid the long lines at the counter. Following the hijackings of four commercial passenger jets and the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11 2001, curbside and off-airport check-in were suspended indefinitely at all U.S. airports. 
Sometimes you just canít avoid the delays that cause you to wait, so always carry reading material or some other form of entertainment in your carry-on luggage. 



What should I do if I call and find out my flight is delayed? 

If your flight is delayed, get the name of the Airlineís agent and have them note on their computer that you are going to show up for the later flight time. Even if the flight is delayed, they still may recommend that you go to the airport at the normal departure time. 
Be careful to stay updated and still allow yourself plenty of extra time to make it to the airport when the flight is ready. Late flights will mean an even more crowded airport with longer lines everywhere so be sure to arrive early enough to make it onto your flight. 
If you think the flight is late, but the Airline wonít confirm this information, go to the airport anyway. You may have to wait, but you donít want to forfeit your rights to the ticket because you didnít show up on time. 
Remember to update your car rental and hotel reservations to let them know youíll be later then planned. Otherwise, you may find that since you didnít show up on time someone else has your car and your room. 



What arrangements should I make if Iím meeting someone at the airport? 

Airports are huge and congested places so you want to take extra care when arranging to meet someone at the airport. 

Make sure you give them all your flight information so they can stay updated in case your flight is delayed.  Ask them not to leave for the airport until they have gotten an update concerning your flightís status. The Airline will not verify that you are on the plane or that you even bought a ticket to be on the plane, but they will usually update individuals on the arrival time of particular flights. 

Check out the airportís web site and share that web address with the person you are meeting. This way you can both see the airportís layout and identify a good place to meet. 

Agree on a specific place to meet and be as specific as possible. Agreeing to meet in the passenger pick up area may leave you looking for each other in a huge place. Also, many airports have more than one terminal building and thus they can have several passenger pickup locations. 

Realize that security may prohibit them from waiting for you in their car at the pick up area and they may need to park or keep driving around until you can meet them. 

Donít plan to meet at the gate. Most airports only allow ticketed passengers past security and into the gate area. You might even consider agreeing on a secondary location that is just off the airport property, such as a specific restaurant or hotel, in case security prevents them from making it onto the airport property. Again, the airportís web site can probably help you locate such a location. 

Trade cell phone and pager numbers, if you have them, so you can reach each other once you both make it to the airport. You will need to keep your cell phone and pager turned off on the plane, but you can use it once you reach the airport. You might want to call when you are ready to be picked up so they don't have to park or keep driving around until you arrive. 


How early should I get to the Airport? 

Follow the instructions included with your ticket. 
U.S. Airlines recommend that you should plan on arriving early on both ends of your flight. At least one-hour before departure on domestic and two hours before departure on international flights. Some Airlines recommend arriving even earlier. 

The tighter security measures adopted after the hijackings of four commercial passenger jets and the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, mean it will take passengers more time to make it through airport security. These new security measures also brought an end to all curbside and off-airport check-in at U.S. airports causing an increase at check-in counter lines. Because of this, most U.S. Airlines now recommend that passengers arrive at the airport at least two hours before departure on domestic and at least three hours before departure on international flights. 

Note that most Airlines consider you to have arrived at the airport when you reach the check-in counter area and not just reached the airport property. If you are bringing your car, allow additional time to park the car and reach the terminal building. You should also allow for longer check-in lines during periods of peak travel. 

The advance arrival time required may vary depending on the airport you use. Some airports handle an incredible volume of traffic and are so physically large that they may require an even earlier arrival time. 

During peak travel season or periods of heightened security alert, you should contact the Airline directly for instructions concerning your arrival at the airport. Many airlines will have updated information available on their web sites and toll free phone numbers. You might also check out the web site of both your arrival and destination airport. Security measures or other conditions may have changed since your ticket was issued and those changes may make it necessary for you to arrive earlier than originally recommended. 

Please be aware that Airlines have recommended arrival times and stricter REQUIRED arrival times. All Airlines do REQUIRE that you arrive at the check-in counter, the flight's departure gate and even onboard and in your assigned seat a prescribed amount of time before the flight's scheduled departure time. The amount of the advance arrival time required varies depending on the Airline you are using. Most Airlines' conditions of carriage state that with many of their tickets, failure to arrive at the check-in counter, the flight's departure gate and your assigned seat a prescribed amount of time before the flight's scheduled departure time may cause you to be denied boarding and cause you to forfeit any refund or other compensation due for the unused ticket even if you have advance seat assignments and advance boarding passes. 



What are the advantages of getting to the Airport early? 

Arriving early helps you to get the better seats and make it though security to the gate check-in. 

Airlines also have minimum time requirements to get your luggage on your flight. Getting there early will mean your luggage will make it on the same flight as you. 

You have time so you can relax and watch others run through the airport. 

This could save you from getting bumped on an overbooked flight. 

Getting to the airport early means you can volunteer to be bumped if you like the Airlineís deal and arenít in a big hurry. The Airlines offer premiums, such as free travel vouchers, to those who volunteer to be bumped. 

Arriving late may mean you are bumped whether you like it or not. 



What can happen if I donít make it to the check-in counter by the recommended check-in time? 

Know that if you canít make it by the recommended check-in time, you may not have left enough time to make it through airport security and make it onto the flight. Also, if you are planning on cutting it close, you had better check the Airlineís REQUIRED minimum check-in times. Airlines often require that you arrive at the check-in counter, the flightís departure gate and even onboard and in your assigned seat a prescribed amount of time before the flightís scheduled departure time. Arriving later than the required time at any point may make it impossible for you to make your flight.

If you donít make it by the required minimum check-in time, you may not be allowed to board the plane even if your plane has not yet left the gate. 
Airlines also require a minimum check-in time for your luggage to make it on the same flight. Missing the deadline, and putting your luggage on the next flight, increases the chance that your luggage will be lost. 

Most Airlinesí conditions of carriage state that with many of their tickets, failure to arrive at the check-in counter, the flightís departure gate or your assigned seat a prescribed amount of time before the flightís scheduled departure time may cause you to forfeit any refund or other compensation due for the unused ticket. 

If you canít make it by the required check-in time, you probably have no chance of making through airport security in time to get to the gate even if the Airline lets you check in. Security wonít rush you through just because youíre running late. In fact, rushing security officers may make them even more suspicious of you and that could cause you to be even later. 

These check-in minimums not only vary by Airline, but the same Airlineís minimum can also vary from airport to airport. 



What should I do if Iím leaving my car at the airport? 

Check out the airportís web site for information about their parking facilities. The sites often contain helpful information about the layout of their parking facilities and the cost of using their various lots. Many sites also include information that you can use to help you decide how much time youíll need to allow for you to make it into the terminal building after you park. 

Remove all the valuables from the car before you leave for the airport and leave them at home. 

If you are traveling with others, see if you can drop them and their luggage at the terminal before you park your car. They can then keep an eye on their luggage while they wait for you to join them in the terminal. This can be especially helpful if you are traveling with lots of luggage or are using the long-term parking lots that are often a long bus ride from the terminal. 

Write your space and section number down on your return airline ticketís folder. 
Many garages recommend taking your parking stub with you to hinder someone trying to steal your vehicle from their lot. If you fear losing the parking stub on your trip, and want to leave it in the vehicle, at least take the time to hide it inside your vehicle. 

If you are parking under cover, look for a space next to a support, it will reduce your chances for door dings.  You might also put some window cleaner and paper towels in your trunk since all that parking lot and Airline exhaust seems to end up on your windows. 



How can I save time and hassle at the airport? 

Look at the airportís layout in advance to get an idea of where you are going and what services are available. Be sure to review their parking facilities if youíll be parking your car at the airport. 

Stay updated on your flight information so youíll know if your flight is delayed before you arrive at the airport. 

Use luggage with rollers and pack light. 

Take steps to protect yourself and your possessions while you are traveling. 

If available, consider using curbside service to check in your bags, it can save you time. If you use the service before you park your car or return your rental car, it will also save you a lot of carrying. 

Be aware that curbside check-in can make it easier for you to become separated from your baggage, so youíll want to follow the guidelines below. 



What do I need to know before using curbside check-in? 

Have your bags clearly labeled and remove old claim tags to avoid confusion. 
You cannot use curbside check-in if you have an international destination. 

Before you check your bags, youíll want to ask if the flight is delayed or cancelled. You might not want to give up your bags yet.

Know your three-letter destinationís airport code, see the link listed in the previous question for information. Airport codes arenít always obvious choices; Orlando International Airport is MCO for McCoy Field. This way you can verify that the correct tag is placed on your bag. 

Make sure the proper Airline information is placed on your bags, skycaps will often check in bags for several different Airlines. 

Watch your bags go down the conveyer belt, donít take the word of a busy skycap that theyíll get right to it. Criminals watch for skycaps that are too busy to guard your bags. 
Donít tip a skycap until your bags are on their way. 

Please be advised that curbside check-in and off-airport check-in may not be available at all airports. Due to the hijackings of four commercial passenger jets and the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, curbside and off-airport check-in were suspended indefinitely at all U.S. airports. 



Can I get an even better deal at the gate? 

Yes, check-in can provide an opportunity for a cheap or possibly even free upgrade into a better class. If one of the better classes of seats has room, you might be able to get a real good upgrade deal. Some Airlines wait until boarding before they start the dealing, but ask at check-in. You can find out whom to talk to and you might just get lucky. Here are a few tips to help you into that better seat. 

Being in their elite member or frequent flyer clubs will help. 

Producing your membership in another Airlineís elite club and saying "I wanted to give you guys a chance to win my business" could win you that first class seat. 

Dressing for success. Do you look like you should be in first class? 

If you are real nice and friendly, you might even be able to get a free upgrade. 



Can an Airline refuse to board me if I have a valid ticket? 

Yes, you can be refused boarding for many reasons. Here are a few:

Failing to present proper I.D., passport or other necessary governmental paperwork to complete your trip. 

The name on your ticket doesnít match the name on your I.D. 

Refusing to allow a search of your luggage or your person. 

Behaving in an abusive, disorderly or violent manner. 

Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 

Refusing to cooperate with any reasonable request made by security or Airline personnel. 


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Phone:  432-689-2758
Toll Free:  866-689-2787

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