These days, airline travel is as simple as booking an Uber. While it may be as easy as finding a flight and purchasing your ticket, there are all sorts of secrets to airline travel that most passengers don’t know. Here are 7 airline travel secrets that airline companies don’t want you to know.
- Airline Prices Fluctuate Each Day
The day you book your flights as well as the day you depart all have an impact on the price you pay for your ticket. It’s said that the best time to purchase plane tickets is on Tuesdays around 3:00PM EST. You’ll also save money by buying each ticket separately. For even more money savings:
- Book early flights
- Choose a flight with stops to save up to 50%
- Travel on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays
- Avoid traveling on Friday and Sundays
- Fly out of a larger international airport
Airline flight savings means more money to spend during vacation!
- Getting Bumped Can Be Beneficial For Travelers
Believe it or not, most flights these days are overbooked. Airlines count on missed flight connections and overly tired passengers who arrive late and miss their flight. In fact, a flight has to be booked at least 85% before airlines make a profit.
If you find yourself in a situation where your flight is booked, the airline will likely offer you a voucher, but don’t take it! What most travelers don’t know is that airlines have to pay if you’re involuntarily delayed for more than two hours. In fact, the Department of Transportation requires a 400% compensation of the value of your ticket, up to $1,350.
- You Can Cancel and Get a Refund
Travel plans don’t always go as planned. If the weather at your vacation destination forecasts a week of rain, you may want to change your plans. But, if you take a look at any airline’s website, you probably get the idea that if you cancel your flight, you’re not eligible for a refund. But, thanks to a rule set by the U.S. Department of Transportation, airlines have to allow for travelers to cancel their reservation within 24 hours without penalty.
To cover your purchase in the event of a cancellation, be sure to book directly through the airline. Booking through a third-party website can complicate the refund process.
- Free Upgrades Are Possible
Over the years, airlines have tightened the availability of free upgrades, even when the plane has empty seats. These days airlines tend to only upgrade passengers if the first class cabin is oversold but there is room in first class.
To potentially score a free upgrade, sometimes asking nicely will do the trick. To increase your chances of an upgrade, avoid traveling during holidays and peak travel days. It may also help to sign up for the airline’s loyalty program. The fuller the flight, the higher chance you have of getting a free upgrade.
- After 3 Hours, You’re Free to Go
There’s nothing worse than sitting on the tarmac after learning that your flight has been delayed. While you could watch a movie or play on your phone to pass the time, after a few hours, you’re likely to become frustrated and quite hungry. If you’re stuck for more than 3 hours on a domestic flight or 4 hours on an international flight, you are allowed to get off of the plane.
- You Can Get Paid for Delayed Luggage
There’s nothing worse than landing after a flight, only to find that your luggage is nowhere to be found. Most airlines will offer you $25-$50 a day, and while this seems like a decent amount of cash, the airline may offer owe you much more. The U.S. Department of Transportation has stated that airlines cannot place arbitrary limits on monetary compensation for missing or lost baggage. In fact, the airline can pay up to $3,300.
- You Can Bring Food on the Plane
The food served on airplanes leaves a lot to be desired. If you’ve got a long flight or want to avoid a rumbling tummy while 39,000 feet in the air, pack your own meal. The rules to bringing food on a plane are pretty lax. As long as your food is wrapped or inside of a container, it can pass through a TSA security checkpoint.
Of course, use common sense when packing your meals. Avoid overly smelly foods that may fill the cabin and may disturb other passengers. Packing easy-to-eat snacks such as fruit, vegetables, and nuts will keep you satiated until you touch ground.
Airline travel may seem straight-forward, but there are some secrets that benefit travelers. Keep these secrets in mind to save time and money and to ensure you enjoy each of your flights.