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Entries during 2009-03
Q. I need to fly to the Seattle area around September 1. I see a lot of good deals for travel to Seattle, but most of them limit travel to no later than August 14. When will travel dates be extended past September 1?
A. The airlines release fares and determine fare periods. The release dates are top-secret and not for prying eyes like ours here at Airfarewatchdog. All we can promise is that as soon as we know, we'll post it on the website and shout it from the mountaintops - or at least our newsletters! Stay tuned.
Q. I need to book airfare from Miami to Madrid, then a connecting flight from Madrid to Jerez. My sister did some digging for me and it appears that we will need to clear passport control in Madrid before continuing on to Jerez. Based on this information, how much time would you recommend we allow between connecting flights?
A. You never know what may come up with international travel, especially if the airline that flies you to Madrid doesn't have an interlining agreement with the airline that flies you to Jerez - in which case, you'll have to collect your luggage and re-check it, once you're done waiting in line at customs. The Madrid airport is pretty big, and you might want to to read the Skytrax user reviews to get an idea of what other travelers have dealt with when passing through Madrid
Booking a flight straight through to Jerez would certainly more expensive, but much less of a hassle. Another benefit is that if it's one itinerary under the auspices of one airline entity, they are responsible for any delays or missed connections. Still, if you're intent on spending as little as possible, definitely go with booking onward with the local budget airlines or even trains. Just be sure to leave plenty of time - PLENTY! The last time we made a similar trip, we decided to play it extra safe and just stay overnight in our connecting city before traveling on.
Q. What is the best place to get money exchanged? I'm traveling from the US to the UK and don't want to pay high fees to change my dollars to pounds.
A. You can often get away with just using your bank card to make withdrawals at any ATM, depending on how much your bank charges for foreign withdrawals. Some banks don't charge a fee for this. Otherwise, a credit card with low foreign surcharges (such as Capital One) is a good option too. Stay away from airports and hotels, which tend to have the worst exchange rates.
We also encourage you not to rely entirely on an ATM card. What if the machine eats your card, or isn't able to access your bank info? Hey, it happens! More on this subject over in the blog.
Q. I had a friend who, while on a trip to Europe, was notified that his return flight was canceled and that he had been re booked on a flight a day earlier. He had pre existing reservations and had to forfeit a deposit as he changed his plans to accommodate the new return flight. Is the airline responsible for this lost deposit?
A. According to European Commission Transport laws:
1. In case of cancellation of a flight, the passengers
We're not quite sure when the airline notified your friend, but this seems to suggest a 2 hour cap on early rerouting. So, yes, it would have been within your friend's rights to demand a reroute on the scheduled day of departure. In regards to compensation, the language is a bit vague. While there's plenty on delays, they make no specific mention of departures ahead of schedule in terms of compensation:
According to section 1, your friend could probably argue that they are entitled to anything from EUR250 - EUR600, depending on mileage, although section 2 only mentions exceeding flight schedules, not preceeding them.
As tricky as this particular case is, European law does offer greater passenger protection than our own. Even passengers traveling on an American carrier departing from Europe are entitled to compensation under their laws, in the event of cancellation or delay. Exactly how much? More on this in the blog.
Q. Please correct me if I am wrong, but did you not have a link on your site to Amazon at one point? if I clicked and purchased something through that link, you received some of the revenue. Am I drunk or is that now gone? I need to order something and since I live for your site, I would like to try and support if I can.
A. Mom? Is that you? Just kidding! Thanks, that's very kind of you! We do have an Amazon link. You'll also find other ways to help out Airfarewatchdog, such as ordering cards to pass along to your friends, links to sites like Booking Buddy and CheapAir, as well as TravelGuard for purchasing travel insurance.
Q. My boyfriend and I are planning to visit his brother next fall in Naples, Italy. We'd also like to see Rome and Milan while we're there. Flying from San Francisco, which arrival airport closest to Naples would we find the best fare? And would it be cheaper to travel by air or train between cities in Italy?
A. We tend to find more sale fares from the US to Rome, but other cities do offer cheap fares on occasion. Rome is much closer to Naples than Milan, which is in the northernmost part of Italy. Air travel can be incredibly inexpensive within Europe if you stick to the small budget carriers like Ryanair or Easyjet, and may be able to beat the price of a train ticket. Try searching Whichbudget.com to see what carriers operate where. Just be aware that these smaller airlines often operate from airports farther outside the city, and sometimes require lengthy shuttle transport to/from, whereas trains tend to take you to the city center and give you a chance to take in the countryside.
When searching for a flight from the US, you might even consider flying into a less expensive hub city like London, and booking a flight onward to Naples on a budget carrier. Just be sure to allow yourself plenty of time to make your connecting flight!
Q. I'm currently up for a job as a tour escort. Do you know if it's possible to go through security at the airport and meet my party at their gate, without being a ticketed passenger?
A. Some airlines will issue something called a gate pass. The rules may vary from airline to airline, but here's what Northwest has to say on gate passes:
Gate passes are provided free of charge at the airport and issued under certain circumstances noted below. You will need to speak to an airport check-in agent for assistance in obtaining a gate pass. This policy is applicable to flights departing the U.S. only. Due to immigration requirements gate passes are not issued by non-U.S. airports or when an international flight is arriving in the U.S.
Q. Why do those calendars on the booking sites (that shall remain nameless) show all those available dates, which then disappear when you attempt to book them? It's so annoying!
A. Find the answer to this and plenty of other questions on our FAQ page....
Q. Why didn't you list any fares between Los Angeles and Baltimore in yesterday's newsletter? I've seen it listed in the past, and now that I'm looking to make the trip, it's not there. Surely this route is more popular than LAX to Appleton, which did make it in your newsletter. Why is this?
Q. I'm hoping to book a round-trip flight between Albuquerque to either London or Paris this summer. All the round-trip deals I find have a 30 maximum stay. Are there ways to get a deal on a round-trip with a 90 day maximum stay or even higher? Should I try booking two one-ways?
A. Seems a lot of folks are getting a head start on planning their summer vacations this year, and asking the same thing. Smarter Travel's Ed Perkin's just covered this topic last week, and here's what he had to say on the matter.
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