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Entries during 2015-05

Airport Processing Times

Q. Do you have any idea what the minimum connection time would be for São Paulo Guarulhos International Airport? I'm considering an Azul flight from Belo Horizonte arriving at 5:50pm, and connecting onward to Newark via a United Airlines flight departing at 9:10pm.

I think it sounds like plenty of time, don't you?

A. That should be just enough time to connect, assuming that your incoming flight isn’t late. But United won’t protect you in any way if it is late, because it’s not a through ticket. Checking bags would also a big factor too. And you’ll have to go through security again. United.com posts these airport processing times.

If it were me, I’d probably be a bit nervous and want to build in a longer layover.

Holds without Refunds?

Q. I recently learned to my dismay that American Airlines is not required to refund full airfare within 24 hours of booking, as required under 14 CFR 259.5(b)(4), because they offer the option to hold reservations for 24 hours at the quoted fare without payment. This seems to allow carriers to skirt the intent of the DOT regulation by offering instead a free hold, which is something a limited number of carries offered before the DOT regulation went into effect.

What other airlines are not required to refund fares within 24 hours of booking because they instead offer a free hold?

A. Some people consider this to be an extra convenience since you can hold the fare without the hassle of paying, then canceling, and getting a refund. As for other airlines, American appears to be the only carrier with this policy, at least for now.

West Coast or Inter-Island

Q. Is it better to fly directly from New York to Honolulu and connect to take an inter-island plane to Maui, or should I fly to the West Coast (LAX or SFO) and connect to Maui?

A. The best reason for flying direct to Honolulu is that inter-island flights leave almost every 30 minutes, so if there's a delay in your inbound flight to HNL it won't matter. Should you somehow misconnect in SFO or LAX it might not be as easy to get on another flight to Maui.

Proof of Credit Card Used to Purchase Ticket?!

Q. We bought an airline ticket for our teenage son using a credit card and sent him off to the airport. Even though he had a boarding pass printed at home and checked in online, when he got to the airport the airline asked him to show the credit card used to purchase the ticket. Luckily, my husband was available to rush to the airport to provide the card. Otherwise, he would have had to buy a new ticket or not fly. Why did the airline do this, and do all airlines require a credit card to be shown?

A. The only reason I can think of is to prevent fraud, but as you say, your son checked in online and had a boarding pass. I asked my twitter followers if they had ever had this happen to them, and quite a few said yes. It’s fairly rare, but the worst that usually happens is the passenger must buy a new fare and get reimbursed when the original credit card is produced. Anyone who buys a ticket for a third party should be prepared to show the credit card used to purchase it.

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