There are some surprising (and not so surprising) reasons to get kicked off a plane. There are the obvious ones, like overbooking, and even some extreme cases like bad hygiene, refusal to obey policies, dressing too immodestly, or obnoxious behavior.
We just found one that we rarely hear about, but is crucial to the safety of the flight: the weight and balance on a plane.
This doesn’t mean an airline will kick you off because you weigh too much. It means an airplane can only carry so much weight, like an elevator’s maximum weight limit. The ground crew will do what they can by moving luggage around for better balance, but it can still happen.
If you’re asked to leave a plane because of balance or weight issues, make sure you know what compensation you’re entitled to. Conde Nast Traveler recently outlined the various policies when it comes to compensation. The compensation depends on how close to take off you are notified, and how many passengers the plane can hold. It’s usually in the form of a voucher or credit for your next flight, plus a new ticket for that flight.
If you’re entitled to compensation, you can also ask for a check instead of a voucher. Airlines would rather offer the voucher than actual cash, but they are required to do it.
We recently had a representative from the International Air Transportation Association (IATA) visit us in Boca Raton. He explained how weight is a big issue for planes, but said the bigger issue is the overhead storage bins.
Most people nowadays try to travel solely with carry-ons to avoid paying the additional cost of checking baggage. However, these bins were not made to hold the weight people put in them. There have been cases where overhead bins have actually fallen down due to excessive weight.
Airplane weight can be a serious issue and is something the airlines watch strictly. If you’re ever removed from a plane because of a weight issue, don’t take it personally. Smile, thank them for their concern, and then ask if they can slip you a meal voucher with your regular voucher too.
Sometimes, knowing what to bring on a trip can get confusing, especially if you love your gadgets and want to bring them on the road. A video article by Matt Granite from USA Today had some good advice on what not to bring on your next flight.
Granite: Travel adapters are unnecessary. Most hotels accommodate you and your electrical needs. They take up a lot of space as well.
Travelpro: We disagree. Yes, you shouldn’t buy the adapter kit with 20 pieces, because you’ll most likely only need one style. However, imagine getting to your hotel and not being able to charge your phone. Do some research to find out what kind of adapter you will need, and just bring that, not all the adapters for every country.
It’s important to weigh the costs for this too. If you frequently travel around the world, the 20 piece kit is probably the best route for you. But if you’re taking that once-in-a-lifetime trip to Paris, go for the single adapter only.
Granite: Why bring an extra device when you can just use a mobile GPS app? Your GPS is the most likely item to get stolen.
Travelpro: Agreed. Another device is unnecessary. However there are some factors to think about when opting for the app. It drains your battery, can go into roaming, which will hike up your data usage, and is a lot smaller than a GPS. Better yet, consider a map as your primary wayfinder, and use your phone GPS for fine tuning or when you get lost.
Bluetooth Shower Speakers
Granite: Pointless, poor audio quality, and overpriced. Skip the shower speakers, and get a regular speaker instead.
Travelpro: We sort of agree on the speakers. Why not just endure your 10 minute shower without music at all? You want to save as much space and weight as possible, and a bluetooth speaker of any kind is just going to take up both.
But if you simply must sing in the shower, we recommend Nude Audio’s Super M as an all-in-one speaker. It’s bluetooth, water- and sand-proof, offers a 360-degree sound experience, is compact and durable, and costs $99.
Tech gear is one of those optional things. Other than some kind of power adapter, you don’t need a GPS (travelers have survived forever without them), and you certainly don’t need a speaker for your mobile device. Go as light as possible, leave the unnecessary gear at home, and experience what your destination has to offer, including the music.
It’s lost to the annals of history, but up until 1978, there was a code that said if an airplane was delayed, the airline had to book you on a competitor’s flight. Unfortunately this code, Code 240, was dismissed in 1978 when the Civil Aeronautics Board was eliminated. However, three airlines still uphold this level of courtesy.
According to a recent USA Today article, Alaska Airlines, Frontier Airlines, and United Airlines will still fly you on a competitor, in the spirit of Code 240.
Granted they do have some stipulations, such as if the delay was weather-related or an act of God, then they won’t. But that’s still better than nothing. Even in the 1990s, many airlines would honor the Code. But after September 11th, security became stricter, and fewer airlines honored it.
If you’re ever caught in a flight delay, you can still ask for Code 240 to see if the airline will grant it. After all, the worst they can do is say no. However, there is an alternative.
Some airlines have ongoing working relationships called a codeshare, where they work together and will sell tickets on each other’s behalf, and even fly their passengers. For example, the SkyTeam codeshare has 20 airlines, including Delta, Alitalia, and Air France. Star Alliance networks 27 airlines including United, Lufthansa, and Air Canada.
So if you booked a Delta flight to Rome, and have a Delta ticket, you may end up on an Alitalia flight because of the codeshare. If you want to fly Lufthansa to Germany, you may be on a United flight, and so on. This codeshare, in a way, works like Code 240. If your Delta flight to Paris is delayed, you may be able to get a codeshare seat on an Air France flight a couple hours later.
You can also use these alliances to get cheaper tickets. If you want to fly overseas, check the different ticket prices on each airline’s website. You may be able to get a cheaper ticket on one than the other, even though you’d be on the exact same plane.
Furthermore, if you’re a member of a frequent flyer program with one airline, but you fly with a codeshare airline, you’ll still get your miles.
If you ever find yourself stranded because of a delay, ask the airline about their codeshare alliances and see if any of them are available to get you to your destination faster. At the worst, you’re going to be late anyway. But if you’re lucky, you can get there sooner than everyone else waiting for the next regular flight, and you can do it without any extra fees.
An airline terminal can be a relaxing place to sit for a moment, after rushing and scrambling with last minute packing. Or it can be stressful with the chaos of other travelers anxious to get home. Airlines are hoping it will be the former, making it a place where more people are willing to spend time, relax, shop, and eat. Many airports are pouring in millions, if not billions, of dollars into renovation projects.
We’ve talked about some of the ways airports are trying to enhance travelers’ experience such as the efficiency of baggage screening and the use of wearable technology. Airports are also revamping the themselves, according to a recent USA Today article.
Examples of the grandiose projects
- San Francisco International Airport completed a $138 million project that features free wifi and even a yoga room.
- Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport’s renovation features kiosks that print boarding passes and luggage tags.
- The Los Angeles International Airport remade the Tom Bradley International Terminal to let in a lot of natural light through massive windows. It also has an aluminum roof resembling ocean waves.
Enjoyment and productivity for flier
These renovations will enhance both the enjoyment and productivity for the fliers in these areas. Not only is there free wifi for everyone, but there are even work stations and additional power outlets to get work done while you’re waiting. (If your airport doesn’t have additional outlets, here are a few backup battery options.)
Airports are also putting more of their region’s personality into their terminals, adding architectural flair, since it’s the last or first place a flier will see of their city. And they’re adding more and more dining options, including several local restaurants for more of that local “flavor.”
Of course, some people may not appreciate the renovations, because it either means fewer flights during renovation, or more likely, you have to navigate all the construction chaos to get to your gate. Renovations also cost a lot of money, which may mean an increase in ticket prices. And finally, some fliers just don’t want all the extra gadgets or bonuses, so they may not see what all the fuss is about.
But for those of us who travel a lot and sometimes feel like the airport is our second home, these improvements are much needed, much welcomed, and much appreciated. They may be inconvenient at times, but they’re being done to make your flying experience more convenient and stress free.
Photo credit: Thom Watson (Flickr, Creative Commons)
This is our latest video for our newest line, the Crew 10 series. We’re very proud of our new line and the changes and improvements we’ve made.
Things are going to go wrong when you travel. Maybe not this time, but soon. Something will happen, and you — understandably — won’t be happy. It could be lost luggage or bad weather causing major flight delays. An article from Peter Greenberg this past spring discusses how to get results when something goes wrong during a trip. Getting positive results boils down to having manners and being polite toward other passengers and the airline staff.
There are five things we should or should not do when dealing with travel problems.
1. Don’t call customer service
Customer service is there to deal with complaints, but they may not have the power to say “yes.” They can easily say “no,” however. Peter suggests going to someone who has the ability to say yes, so avoid calling the customer service line. Also, if you’re having problems with your current flight, skip the desk at your gate. Go to an empty gate for your airline and ask them for help. They’re plugged into the same system as your own gate.
2. Do address the problem right when it happens
Waiting until you get home or arrive at your destination will put extra distance between yourself, the problem, and those who can help fix it. It may mean staying in the airport, or hanging around the hotel a little longer. Keep your travel time a little padded for emergencies anyway.
3. Keep all documents, names, and receipts
If you’ve ever tried to return a purchased item without a receipt, you know how tough that can be. Without proof, they won’t budge. Keeping all information related to the incident will allow for those trying to help you to do so in a more efficient manner. If you have this information readily available, they’re more able (and likely) to help you.
4. Use your credit card
This is important enough that it’s worth doing every day. Not only do you get travel points (if you have one of those kinds of cards), but thanks to the Fair Credit Billing Act, you can also dispute an unknown or unwanted charge to that card. For example, if you did not order room service in your hotel, you can dispute it, as long as you paid for the room with your credit card.
5. Have an alternative to suggest
One suggestion we came up with after reading Greenberg’s article is to have an alternative when addressing a problem. For example, if a flight is delayed due to bad weather, ask the gate agent if an alternate route is available, and suggest a few possibilities yourself. That will make their job easier, because they will not have to spend extra time researching alternatives.
While you’re not going to have major problems on every trip you take, it helps to be prepared, and to be polite and have a positive attitude when dealing with others. You’ll get more done, and you’re more likely to get the desired outcome.
Photo credit: Travel Collector (Flickr, Creative Commons)
NBC’s The List, a show that airs in Phoenix, Tampa, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Tulsa, Baltimore, and West Palm Beach, recently visited our luggage testing facility here in Boca Raton, Florida to see how we put our luggage to the (rigorous and rough) test before it ever reaches the store.
Wearable technology — fitness bands, health monitoring devices, Google Glass, and even garments that light up when your phone rings — is beginning to appear in business settings like airports. Instead of wearable technology being solely used as a consumer device, staffers are in the early testing stages of using it to help them do their jobs better. Airports have talked about using wearable technology in the past, but it finally took off (pardon the pun) when the airline, Virgin Atlantic, tested out Google Glass and the Sony Smartwatch at London-Heathrow Airport in the Upper Class Wing.
The technology was used to create a more customized customer service for passengers. Google Glass was used to identify passengers through facial recognition, while Sony Smartwatches were used to increase efficiency of passing along information instead of referring to paperwork.
Virgin Atlantic’s findings were presented at FTE Europe 2014. Although the trial lasted only six weeks, preliminary results were positive. The goal was to simplify the airport experience and reduce the amount of paperwork for the staff and passengers.
The only problem they discovered involved the reliability of connectivity, which they decided could be resolved by increasing wifi signals and using Bluetooth (something most travelers would love to see as well).
Right now, using wearable technology in airports is only in the testing phase, but as more airlines like Virgin Atlantic take the plunge and embrace the future, we may see wearable technology in the airport world quickly, and hopefully seamlessly.
Photo credit: Peter Russell (Flickr, Creative Commons)
Providing the Most Innovative Luggage and Business Cases for Today’s Frequent Business Travelers
Travelpro, the inventor of Rollaboard luggage and a market leader in innovative, high-quality luggage design is pleased to introduce the Crew Executive Choice Business Case Collection. This premium business case line enhances Travelpro’s flagship Crew luggage collection by integrating some highly functional briefcases, backpacks and overnighters into the overall offering. Genuine leather accents and durable fabrics enable the business traveler to travel in confidence with the latest advances in luggage and business cases, all from one compatible product offering.
“The Crew Executive Choice Collection’s attention to detail, confident style and functional efficiency are a reflection of Travelpro’s commitment to its customers and business travelers worldwide,” said Scott Applebee, Vice President of Marketing for the Travelpro family of brands.
The Crew Executive Choice Rolling Business Overnighter is an ideal choice for the executive that demands it all: durability, convenience, versatility and a fashionable look that makes a bold statement. An ideal carry-on size for short trips, the Rolling Business Overnighter is built for maximum efficiency with a patented PowerScope Extension handle, which minimizes wobble when fully extended and stops at 42″ ensuring a comfortable roll for users of varying heights. A built-in corduroy, padded pocket protects laptops up to 15.6″ in size, and the business organizer keeps pens, pencils, business cards and keys in place for easy access. The Checkpoint Friendly Computer Backpack is the perfect complement to Travelpro Crew 10 Carry-on luggage. With its one-of-a-kind Quick Loop system, the Backpack can be attached to all existing Travelpro luggage for convenient transport through airport terminals. The Backpack also provides protection against loss and identity theft with an RFID-blocking pocket that keeps all credit cards and passports safe. The highly featured backpack is Checkpoint Friendly, featuring a padded pocket for 15.6″ laptops, plus a tablet pocket and a removable cord pouch for power cables and accessories. Adjustable, padded shoulder straps provide comfort for users of different heights.
Genuine leather handles combined with sturdy nylon fabric make the Checkpoint Friendly Messenger Brief and Checkpoint Friendly Slim Brief, a stylish and damage resistant option for business travelers on the go. Checkpoint friendly design allows the traveler to keep their laptop inside the bag while going through the security x-ray machine at the airport. Each item is equipped with a RFID-blocking security pocket, Quick Loop system, a padded and quilted corduroy pocket that fits a 15.6″ laptop, a separate, padded tablet pocket and a built-in business organizer for quick access storage of key business essentials.
The Business Tote is the ideal case for the female business traveler who wants to combine style and functionality. The tote features a removable padded sleeve for laptops up to 15.6″ and a separate tablet pocket to protect multiple electronic devices safely. A removable cord pouch, RFID-blocking security pocket and business organizer keeps everything organized and safe. Genuine leather straps and trim add a touch of elegance and style.
For over 25 years, Travelpro International has prided itself on design innovation and durability in crafting the highest quality luggage for travelers worldwide. Since transforming the ease of modern day travel with The Original Rollaboard wheeled luggage, Travelpro has been the brand of choice for flight crews and frequent travelers worldwide. Travelpro is dedicated to building a lifelong relationship with its customers by consistently understanding and exceeding their needs. Travelpro was honored to receive the New Product Innovation Award from the Travel Goods Association (TGA) in March 2013 for the revolutionary Platinum Magna luggage collection.
Boarding a plane can be a hectic journey. You don’t want to miss your flight or forget your passport or go to the wrong terminal. But have you ever thought about the journey your bags go on once you check them?
CBS 46’s Pothole Harry did a fascinating behind the scenes report on where your luggage goes. At Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the world’s busiest airport, TSA screens about 30,000 bags per day. (One surprising tidbit: oftentimes, your luggage boards the plane before you do.)
The way the system works is that the Transportation Safety Administration has some very large scanners and an intricate conveyor belt. Each bag is sorted and scanned, as the system looks for questionable items, using an algorithm that looks for certain objects. If an item is found and flagged, the system then alerts an operator and the bag is sent for further inspection. Something may be considered questionable if it’s flammable, sharp like knives, or alive, like the suitcase full of live crabs someone had tried to check through the system.
TSA will open your bag, inspect it, and then place a note in the bag that informs you of the search and identifies themselves. They do this so, when travelers open their suitcase and find things packed differently, they know why. If there are any questions about missing items, the name on the note will help the TSA identify who inspected your bag. There are also hundreds and thousands of security cameras in the inspection area to cut down on theft.
How our luggage is handled, where it goes, and who touches it is valuable information. Knowing the airlines and TSA have a solid system is important, because it ensures our safety in the air, and helps reduce the amount of lost luggage each year.
Photo credit: Bradley Gordon (Flickr, Creative Commons)