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Entries during 2014-01

Take a Hike, Check Your Poles

Q. Does the TSA allow hiking poles to be carried on planes? I've seen conflicting information online - and apparently the regulations were going to be changed to allow it at some point, but the TSA site says they're prohibited. Would love to have an answer to this before my upcoming trip.

A. Implementation of the change in prohibited items is currently delayed, and still being refined.

According to the TSA, "Certain sporting and hobby equipment cannot be brought on-board aircraft. For example, baseball bates, bows and arrows, cricket bats, golf clubs, hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks, pool cues, ski poles, hiking poles, and spear guns are prohibited and not allowed as carry-on items. Although these items are prohibited from carry-on baggage, they may be transported in checked baggage. Any sharp objects in checked baggage should be sheathed or securely wrapped to prevent injury to baggage handlers and security screeners."

Above image via Shutterstock

Lengthy Fare-Hold Periods

Q. I have heard that it's possible now to put a ticket on hold from anywhere from 3 weeks and longer. Then you have the option of buying the ticket or letting it go. Any info on this, and if it's legitimate?

A. U.S. Department of Transportation regulations require that, as long as you've booked a non-refundable ticket 7 days ahead of your flight, you're entitled to hold your reservation and the fare, and change or cancel within 24 hours of booking. No airline that we know of offers holds for as long as 3 weeks, though United's FareLock allows for hold periods of up to 7 days, but only on certain fares and for a fee. You can also auto-schedule your fare to be purchased at the end of the hold period, or cancel it should you change your mind.

More info on fare hold and change policies here.

Above image via Shutterstock

Debit & Gift Card Purchases

Q. We want to pay for airline tickets to fly my daughter and grandchildren home for a visit. Is there a way to use our credit card to purchase the tickets even though the names on the tickets will be different from ours? My daughter had to recently file bankruptcy and is not allowed to have a credit card; but she does have a bank debit card in her name on our account. Could she use this in lieu of a credit card?

A. Yes, airlines do accept debit cards, or even stored value cards and some of them, such as Southwest, sell gift cards as well that can be used like cash. If you use your credit card to buy the tickets, beware however: I’ve heard of instances where, to prevent fraud, someone traveling on a ticket bought with another person’s credit card has been asked to produce the card, or at the very least speak to the person who owns the card.

Above image via Shutterstock

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