Canceled flights. Mandatory masks.
Temperature screenings. Air travel just isn't the
same since the
COVID-19 outbreak. We are flying in a strange and often confusing world.
So what are the new rules
for air travel after the pandemic?
Some changes, like new airline refund
policies and mandatory face coverings, are widely
Others are not. And it is these unpublicized shifts- happening quietly behind the
scenes - that suggest
passengers have an advantage that they have not had in years.
How has air travel changed since the pandemic?
But first, let us talk
about the changes you have probably noticed. When it
comes to air travel, here is
what is different about air travel since the pandemic:
Ticket change policies are more flexible.
If you cancel a
flight, you do not have to pay a change fee. If you
accept a flight voucher, you may be
able to use it as much as two years from the date your booked your original ticket.
Screening is touchless.
The TSA has
adjusted its screening procedures to eliminate
contact with passengers, and some
airlines are also temperature-screening their passengers.
Although there is no federal rule that
requires passengers to wear masks, many airlines
them as a matter of policy.
Cabin service has been reduced.
drink service has been cut on many flights. Your
flight attendant is more likely to hand you a
bottle of water in a plastic bag than to offer you a can of soda.
These changes are
fairly minor, and in some cases, for the better.
Airline change fees have become
punitive in the last decade. The pandemic brought them back down to earth.
And the TSA was getting
a little too touchy with its poking, prodding and pat-downs. Now, agents are
keeping a polite distance.
The important new rules for air travel are
largely unseen. Sure, some airline policies have
Screening is a little different, and you have to wear a mask on the plane. But the
real changes have
happened behind the scenes, where the balance of power has shifted toward you.
vacation, a bad hotel room can really ruin your
experience, so it is important to know your
rights before you check-in. While the answers to your questions may vary
depending on the
circumstances, below are some of the most common hotel questions and their answers.
A guaranteed reservation means you have
paid for your reservation in advance, and the
hold the room for you. A confirmed reservation means that you have not yet
paid, but the hotel
agrees to hold a room for you based on some condition. For example, in a typical
reservation, the hotel may agree to hold the room for you until 8 p.m. on a specific day. If you
show up before 8 p.m., then the hotel must give you a room, but if you fail to meet a condition,
then the hotel
does not have to offer you a room.
I have prepaid for my
room (a guaranteed reservation), can a hotel
give me a room?
If you have prepaid for your room, it
is guaranteed and the hotel must give you the room
for, even if you show up late. If the hotel does not have a room for you, then
it has breached your
contract and must provide you with a reasonable substitute. This means that they may
having to send you to another hotel, even if it is more expensive, and pay for the transportation
even the phone call to let people know you have switched hotels.
I wanted a specific
room, do I have a right to a particular room?
Typically, you do not have a right to
a specific room unless you specified that room
reservation (for example, the penthouse suite). Accordingly, if you really do
want a particular room,
then you need to
make that extremely clear when you are booking your room. Be sure
written confirmation that you booked that specific room. If the hotel fails to provide you with
specific room, then it has likely broken its contract with you and you may be able to recover some
This room is not what I expected, is there
anything I can do about it?
The hotel room you end up with may
not look like the pleasant room that was pictured
website or in their brochure. While a certain amount of exaggeration is
allowed in advertising,
though, intentionally deceiving customers is considered fraud.
If the room you got is substantially below what
you expected based on an advertisement, then
speak to the manager immediately. This also applies if the room has not been
or if the room is extremely noisy. You should request a better room, a discount or,
if nothing else
is sufficient, then a refund. You may be able to sue the hotel in small claims for the hassle of
having to relocate, but this may not be feasible or even worth the expense in practice.
Can a hotel charge
me whatever it wants for a room?
Hotel rates depend on lot on seasonal
variance and can fluctuate wildly, costing double
or triple the
normal rate during some times of the year. However, hotels cannot just
charge you whatever they
want. Many states mandate that hotels post a maximum charge in a conspicuous place
the back of the door). Items such as a visitor fee or bed tax may be mandated by state or
law. Other fees, such as utility or service charges may not be legitimate, however. A hotel is not
allowed to charge you more than the rate it quoted to you when you made the reservation unless
you approve the
charge in advance.
Is there a right to
privacy in my hotel room?
Generally, yes, you have a right to
expect privacy in your hotel room as long as you
are using the
hotel room in a normal, responsible way. However, if you are engaging in
anything illegal or
disturbing other guests, hotel management can enter your room without your permission.
Note that hotel management, not the
police, can enter the room without your permission
management cannot give the police permission to search your room.
The police must go through
the usual process, which usually means getting a warrant before they are
allowed to search your
A final exception to your right to
privacy is for cleaning and maintenance. Hotel
have the right to enter your room to clean or perform necessary maintenance.
What happens if I
do not check-out by the deadline?
Unlike apartment or house rentals,
hotels can evict you if you stay past the agreed
time. Of course,
most hotels will understand short delays and accommodate you, but the
hotel is entitled to evict
you, change the locks (easy with electronic key cards) and move your items out.
Am I entitled to a
groups are entitled to hotel discounts, here are
some of the most common
Families with children
(American Bar Association)
Certain credit card members
American Automotive Association
My property has been
stolen from my hotel room, is the hotel
Historically, hotels were liable for
your property during your stay. Today, however,
significantly limit the liability a hotel can face if your property gets stolen or
destroyed while at the
hotel. In most states, hotels are required to provide you with a safe for your valuable
Be aware, however, that there are monetary limits on hotel liability, so even if the hotel is
responsible for the loss of your expensive suit, it may not be liable for the full dollar amount of
The major exception to this rule, however, is if the hotel did not
exercise reasonable care in
protecting your property. For instance, if the hotel leaves the safe unlocked, or
does not meet
local fire codes, then the hotel may be liable for the full value of your property if someone breaks
into your safe or if the hotel burns down.
My car was broken
into while at the hotel, is the hotel responsible?
Similar to how your personal property
is handled, it depends on whether the hotel
reasonable care in protecting your car. If the hotel was negligent, then it
may be liable for
damages to your car.
If any property was taken from inside your car, it
is far less certain, but again will largely depend
on whether the hotel could have foreseen and prevented such a theft. It may
not have been
foreseeable that a random passerby would break-in to your car and steal your stereo, but it
have been foreseeable that the valet of the hotel might steal the cell phone in your car.
hurt myself while at the hotel, is the hotel
It depends largely on the
circumstances. If you slipped and fell on the
hotel premises because
the hotel management failed to clean up a spill, or failed to clear a
walkway, then the hotel may
Another typical example is if you have an accident because a hotel does not
adequately light an
area. If you do get hurt while at a hotel, contact a lawyer to determine whether you
have a case.
You have arrived at the airport early,
checked in, and are waiting in the terminal when
that your flight was overbooked and the airline is going to bump you to a
later flight. We've all been
there. Putting up with flight changes, delays, or cancellations by airlines can be
when your carrier refuses to adequately compensate you for the hassle. However, if
for some reason
you need to change or cancel a flight, airlines often seem much less accommodating.
You may not know this, but there are
several protections in place for you when it comes
changing, or canceling your ticket, even if it is a non-refundable
ticket. These are based on federal
laws and regulations as well as the internal policies of airline
carriers. To show you the seriousness
of these protections, in 2013 the Department of Transportation issued an
order requiring United
to pay a fine of $350,000 for, among other things,
failing to timely process consumer refund
requests. The laws are on your side, and there are significant pressures for airlines
to grant your
request for a plane ticket refund.
What Are Your Rights?
Some of the more important rules, regulations, and
policies protecting your right to plane ticket
refunds are listed below.
Restrict refunds of ticket
Impose monetary penalties on
Raise ticket prices
These terms must be displayed either
on your airline ticket or with your ticket so
check your ticket
and any paperwork you were given with your ticket to see if you were given
adequate notice of any
restriction or fee that an airline is trying to impose on you.
Twenty-Four Hour Reservation Rule
24-Hour Reservation Rule, you can either: Have your reservation held at
the quoted fare for 24 hours without payment, or Cancel your
24 hours and receive a full refund.
This rule only applies if your reservation is made at least seven
days before the departure date but
would apply to all tickets, even those that are non-refundable. An
airline is also required to clearly
and fully disclose this rule to you on its website and verbally through
reservation agents or customer
service agents upon request. Keep in mind that if an airline offers you other
refund options within the
24 hour reservation period, you still have a right to demand a full refund under this
Many airlines have policies in their
contracts of carriage covering involuntary refunds
(often referred to
as Rule 260). Under these provisions, you are able to change or cancel your
flight (with a full refund) if
an airline refuses to carry you for any reason or if your flight is severely
delayed. However, this only
applies if you have already checked in for your flight.
These provisions are based on the contract
with your carrier, but
federal rules also apply when you
are involuntarily bumped from a flight. If that is the case, the airline must
provide you with a written
statement describing your rights and how the carrier decides who gets on an
oversold flight and who
does not. You can also be entitled to denied boarding compensation which would depend
price of your ticket and the length of any delays.
Also, if you are involuntarily bumped from
your flight, federal rules require that you be
you would arrive at your destination more than one hour from your
original scheduled arrival time, as
Up to $650 if you would get to
your destination between 1-2 hours of your
scheduled arrival time Up to $1,300 if you would get
to your destination over 2 hours from your
scheduled arrival time or
if the airline does not make any substitute travel arrangements for you
Schedule Change Loophole
Many airlines also have policies that will
allow you to obtain a refund if there's a
change before your departure. You should review your carrier's website to
determine whether this
applies to you.
What Can You Do if an Airline Refuses to
Refund Your Ticket?
If an airline refuses to provide you with a refund
that you are entitled to, you can file a
complaint with the Department of Transportation. Complaints submitted to the DOT
available to the news media and the public and are reviewed by DOT to determine whether
are in compliance with all federal consumer protections for airline passengers.
In addition, if you have a dispute with an airline
regarding ticket refunds or another matter and
not being adequately compensated, you can contact an attorney who specializes
in aviation law. An
attorney can properly advise you of your rights, the legal remedies available to
you, as well as any
statute of limitations deadlines.
Taking a trip is the last thing
on the mind of many people. Roughly 94 million Americans
have canceled or plan on canceling
travel plans due to
the coronavirus pandemic,
according to a recent survey by
personal finance site
reimbursements can range from full refunds to travel
vouchers for a future trip, depending
on the airline, hotel or tour operator. Sometimes, the type of
reimbursement varies depending on the
customer service representative you speak to.
no consistency, which is part of the problem,
To successfully navigate unbooking a trip
- or even snagging a deal for future travel -
experts offer this advice:
1. Go directly to the source. If you
would like a refund on an upcoming trip, reach out to
carrier or hotel directly. American, Delta,
and United have suspended
cancellation fees for now.
Airbnb have also relaxed their restrictions. Keep in
mind that other refund policies are continuously changing
so your best move may be to sit tight
and wait, according to Lieberman.
It is likely that the airline or hotel
will become more flexible as the departure date
said. Further, if your flight is ultimately canceled, passengers are then
eligible for a refund as
opposed to a travel credit.
If you booked through a travel
site, such as
Expedia, check the individual policies for each
and hotel. Actual hotels, airlines and cruise ships own the cancellation
policies, said Yatin Patel,
CEO of Reservations.com.
Online travel agencies like Reservations.com, Expedia, Booking.com and
travel agents have no
choice other than to abide by their policies. Otherwise, your credit
card may offer benefits, as well,
2. Follow up - but
nicely. If you are canceling your
plans but not getting the type of compensation
you would prefer, follow up in an email, phone call or message through the
app - sometimes just
talking to a sympathetic agent or trying a different avenue could yield different
said... But be compassionate in your persistence, she added.
These customer service
agents are dealing with an unprecedented number of
calls, Lieberman said.
Being kind is really your best recourse right now.
5 Beaches that are Currently Ranked as the
Best in the World
What makes a great beach all depends on the
traveler. Some like wide, open stretches of sand
ample things to do and throngs of people to watch, while others
prefer deserted shorelines with calm
waters. U.S. News took this and factors, such as unique scenery,
beach quality and overall accessibility,
into consideration to determine the best beaches in the world.
#1 in Best Beaches in the World
Boasting 333 islands, resplendent resorts,
sparkling waters and endless stretches of pristine
sand, Fiji is the perfect spot for
paradise-seeking beachgoers. Travelers who want to
while on vacation should set their sights
on Taveuni's diverse coral reefs. Meanwhile, those
for the tropical beaches featured in the
movie "Cast Away" and multiple seasons of the
"Survivor" can catch a ferry from Port Denarau and head directly to the 20 islands
make up the Mamanuca Islands. Popular options
include Qalito Island and Vomo Island.
Maldives #2 in Best Beaches in the World
Maldives is unlike any beach destination you'll
experience. This tropical paradise features
22 ring-shaped atolls made up of approximately 1,200
islands, with each beach more beautiful
last. You'll likely stick to the island your
resort is on, but you can expect pearlescent
sands, towering palm trees, incredibly blue waters
and surreal sunsets at all of the beaches in
the Maldives. Most public beaches require covering up,
so if you do stray from your resort's
sands, consider checking out the bikini-friendly beaches
on Rasdhoo and Maafushi.
#3 in Best Beaches in the World
French Polynesian island is small but mighty.
Measuring only 6 miles long and less than
wide, every inch of Bora Bora is packed with
stunning beaches, green jungles and ritzy
with overwater bungalows. Matira Beach is ideal
for sunbathing and strolling along
while the beach at the Four Seasons Resort Bora
Bora is where you should
head for Mount Otemanu
views and calm water. Snorkeling and shark-feeding
also available if you enjoy
Tahiti #4 in Best Beaches in the World
should be high on your list if you like your
beaches paired with gourmet French cuisine.
118 islands that make up Tahiti are known for
top-notch fare, verdant jungles, lavish resorts
and sandy shores. The smaller section of Tahiti
(known as Tahiti Iti) is more secluded than the
larger Tahiti Nui, but both are worth seeing.
Tahiti Iti's famous La Plage de Maui is popular
reason (think: sparkling sand and
crystal-clear water), but the popularity comes
Check out Papenoo Beach on Tahiti Nui
for excellent surfing conditions and more
Maui #5 in Best Beaches in the World
you're looking for a taste of Hawaii's beautiful
beaches without the crowds on Oahu, retreat to
Maui. The island boasts impressive beaches both
big and small, adult- and family-friendly, as
as the black sand shores at Waianapanapa State
Park. Southern Maui is especially
families, as it is home to Wailea Beach, which is
known for its mostly calm water,
and highly regarded restaurants. Meanwhile, the
North Shore attracts active
travelers keen on
taking advantage of the superb windsurfing
conditions at Hookipa Beach Park
and Kanaha Beach
(Note: Some of the destinations may
be affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Check
with the CDC and the U.S.
Department of State before traveling.)
Boarding a plane and
traveling to faraway destinations makes you feel free, but
nothing free about getting there. Buying luggage, paying
for plane tickets and reserving
hotel rooms are all part of the package. One of
the most important investments you will
make when you travel is a travel wallet to hold
your passports, ID cards, money, cell
phone and more.
100% nylon with durable
zipper closure; RFID blocking material to protect
against unwanted scans
pocket and large stash pocket; micromesh zippered
pocket for coins
for credit, business, or membership cards;
exterior rear stash pocket for quick-access.
Adventure Travel Baja California Sur in
Mexico is the southern half of the Baja California
Peninsula. The Pacific Ocean to the west, the Gulf of
California to the east and a mountainous strip running
middle. This combination allows for a whole range of
through the state. From sand, surf and Spanish learning;
tasting and baby turtles. There are so many things to do in Baja
best surf in Baja Sur will be found in the area of Todos
This is a quaint town with them good beach vibes. If you
15 minutes further south, you will find Playa Los
Cerritos. This long crescent shaped beach has a point
break at the top end, consistently
pumping out peelers that can challenge more intermediate
advanced level surfers. The waves mellow out as you move
and in shore, offering something for everybody. Even
Going on a cruise is often referred to as being on a floating
today's cruise ships are equipped with as many if not MORE
amenities than the top of the-line resorts on land. But with a
cruise, you only have to unpack once, and all food and
entertainment on the ship is included...free!
As airlines and hotels update their policies,
added two new filters that let you sort
results by providers offering free
(usually in the form of travel credits) and providers
that are waiving change fees.
always, it is good practice to check a providers
full policy when you
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