Delta Punished For Breaking The Rules On Passenger Bumping

delta plane
Kentaro IEMOTO, Flickr

Delta has received a slap on the wrist for failing to properly compensate passengers who were bumped from their flights. The government handed the airline a $750,000 fine, saying the carrier had routinely mishandled overbooked flights by bumping passengers without asking for volunteers or compensating travelers.

Airlines regularly overbook flights since many passengers end up cancelling or changing their travel plans. If flights are still full when departure time rolls around, airlines typically ask travelers to volunteer for a later flight in order to avoid having to bump (and compensate) any passengers. However, not all travelers realize that they may be entitled to cash or understand the rules about it works.In general, if the alternative flight a bumped passenger is placed on arrives within one hour of when the original flight was scheduled to land, airlines don’t have to pay them anything. But according to U.S. federal regulations, passengers who are involuntarily bumped and will have their travel plans pushed out by more than an hour are entitled to at least 200 percent of the one-way fare to the destination (with a cap at $650). Compensation for longer delays maxes out at $1300.

This isn’t the first time Delta has been penalized for bungling how it deals with overbooked flights. The airline was fined back in 2009 for the same infraction.

5 Quick Ways To Save On Travel, Since You Did Not Win The Lottery

save on travelThose who gamble were dreaming of a win that would have rendered a desire to save on travel useless. Sure, it would have been nice to win a half-billion in Wednesday’s Powerball lottery drawing. Instead, we’re left with worthless lottery tickets, unfulfilled lotto-dreams and a life that must go on as normal. No doubt, travel will be part of that life, albeit without the gold Rolls Royce for each of our friends. Here then are five quick ways to save on travel.

Airline Tickets- Sign up for every airline’s email notifications of sales, discounts or values. Use a price-watching service like AirfareWatchdog. Sign up for frequent-flier programs and try to be loyal to a favorite airline or airline alliance group. Bump up miles by using an airline credit card for all purchases. Better yet: drive rather than fly if the numbers work out in favor of a road trip vs. an airline ticket.

Cruise Vacations- As long as they are still in the game, use a travel agent who will have access to the best values and can be your advocate for savings throughout the life of your booking. Time is running out as cruise lines try to push consumers to book direct, without representation.Hotel Reservations- Like airlines, sign up for major hotel email notifications, newsletters and past-guest loyalty programs. If possible, book far in advance but check pricing on a regular basis all the way up to the date of stay. Prices can and do change frequently and being on top of it can make a huge difference. Also, avoid discount online sites that charge a cancelation penalty.

Car Rentals- First, check with your personal auto insurance carrier to see if you are covered for rental cars. If so, skip the car company insurance. Next, check the gas mileage possible with different classes of automobiles if not exact makes and models. At the rental counter, that free upgrade to a full-size SUV might cost a whole lot more in fuel than it is worth on a long haul.

Bring Your Own Entertainment- Hotel movie rentals and last-minute, full-price admissions to amusement parks and attractions can be expensive. Bring CDs, DVDs, books on tablets and other small items that will not take up space/weight in luggage if flying. Road trip? Board games to play at destinations work too.

Surely there are many more ways to save on travel but this short list will hopefully chase away the post-lotto depression. Don’t feel too bad though. Often called a tax on the poor or mathematically challenged, the odds of winning the lottery were staggeringly against us anyway.


[Image Credit- Flickr user Peter Gerdes]

Review: Aluratek BUMP portable wireless speaker

For some, having access to music on the road is pretty important – this could be as simple as some good quality tunes on an iPod, or a way to get music in your hotel room. In the past, we’ve looked at some portable speakers. and today we’ll review one that lets you cut the cords on your portable music.

The Aluratek BUMP AUWS01F portable speaker consists of two parts – a rechargeable speaker, and a USB wireless dongle. To get your music, you simply plug the dongle into your laptop, and turn the speaker unit on. There is no need to install software, as the dongle shows up on your laptop as a generic audio playback device. You also don’t need to worry about “paring” or other wireless tricks, as the two communicate over their own 2.4GHz wireless system.

The BUMP speaker does two things really, really well – sound quality and wireless range. Wireless range is absolutely crazy – I was able to walk from one end of my house to the other, without as much as a crackle or pop in the music – well over 200 feet away. The fantastic sound quality from the speaker is another great selling point – despite being a single speaker (so no stereo), bass and volume are great, and when cranked up, it’ll easilly fill a room with decent music.

aluratek bump review

Controls are simple – a single large circular button on top provides access to power and volume – sadly no track skip/play/pause buttons here. On the rear, you’ll find a miniUSB charging port and a 3.5mm audio jack for plugging your portable media player in.

Uses for the speaker are endless – I recently took it to a hotel room and used it to listen to a movie I was playing on the hotel TV, but it also works perfectly for bathroom tunes streamed off your laptop when you take a soak in the oversized spa tub (just keep it away from water).

At $79.99, the Aluratek BUMP is considerably cheaper than most other portable speakers like the foxL and the Jambox – but because it operates on its own radio system, you can only stream music off your portable device with the wired connection. Battery life is rated for four hours and the package includes a USB cable and an audio cable.

Delta Airlines turns the game of voluntary seat bumping into Ebay

delta airlines involuntary bump

Marginal Revolution posted this photo of a voluntary bump screen on a Delta Airlines automated kiosk. Instead of offering bump vouchers to anyone interested, they now ask in advance how much you would be willing to accept for a bump.

Genius.

Pay close attention to the “Delta accepts lower bids first” text – which is a great way for the airline to pay much less than they’d normally hand out.

Inexperienced fliers may be tempted to settle for $100, or even less – just for taking a later flight. But keep in mind that a “normal” bump entitles you to much more. Normally with voluntary bumps, the airline may start at $150, and keep going up. Once they can’t find volunteers and start switching to involuntary bumps, they will have to pay a maximum of $400 ($800 if they can’t rebook you a different flight).

In other words – if the airlines gets enough suckers to settle for $100, they’ll make a fortune. Don’t be one of those suckers. The terminal apparently only settles for numbers under $400, so make sure your numbers are always around that amount. Sure, be competitive with others, and go for $398 (folks on the Price is Right do that all the time), but don’t spoil the system with low-ball offers.

[Via: Consumerist]

Southwest bumps thin passenger off flight for two-seater


Last week a 5-foot-4, 110-pound woman was removed from a Las Vegas to Sacramento Southwest flight in order to accommodate an overweight teenager who required two seats. Despite paying full-fare for the last available seat, the anonymous woman was booted off the flight when the heavier passenger boarded the plane just before departure. Southwest admits their handling of the incident was “awkward” but were reluctant to ask for volunteers to deplane as the overweight person was a minor and they didn’t want to cause her further embarrassment.

This isn’t the first time this year Southwest has had a weight-related controversy. In February, director/actor Kevin “Silent Bob” Smith tweeted that he was deemed a safety risk and bumped from a flight after he refused to buy a second seat. The airline claimed they were acting in accordance with their “Customer of Size” policy, but apologized to Mr. Smith. In response to this latest incident, he tweetedNow me AND my wife can get booted off Southwest… TOGETHER!”

How do you think Southwest Air should have handled the situation?

[Photo credit: Flickr user David Reber]