Advisories

Airlines offering change fee waivers due to wildfires

Airlines are offering change fee waivers and refunds in response to the California wildfires.

Some airlines are also helping out with emergency relief efforts for those affected by the fires.

See the links and tweets below for specific dates and details of the alerts airlines have posted.

 

Wildfires seen from space. Courtesy NASA

American Airlines  – The travel alert posted on November 11 offers change fee waivers for passengers booked travel to, through or from Burbank, California (BUR), Los Angeles, California (LAX), Oakland, California (OAK), Sacramento, California (SMF) and San Francisco, California (SFO) through November 13, 2018. Waiver is available for rebooked flights through November 18, 2018.

American will also give you 10 miles for every dollar you donate to the American Red Cross on donations of $25 or more.

Here’s the latest information from Hawaiian Airlines:

JetBlue is offering to waive change/cancel fees and fare differences for customers traveling through Tuesday, November 12, to/from the Burbank (BUR), Los Angeles (LAX), Oakland (OAK), Sacramento (SMF) and San Francisco (SFO).

The wildfire travel advisory for Southwest Airlines currently applies to flights booked through November 16 to, through or from Burbank (BUR), Los Angeles (LAX), Oakland (OAK), Sacramento (SMF), San Francisco (SFO) and San Jose (SJC).

“Customers who are holding reservations on the abovementioned dates, and want to alter their travel plans may rebook in the original class of service or travel standby (within 14 days of their original date of travel between the original city-pairs and in accordance with our accommodation procedures) without paying any additional charge,” Southwest says on its website.

Here’s the most recent information on wildfire waivers from United Airlines:

Airlines are likely to update their policies regarding waivers and refunds as the fires continue.

If you’ve got travel planned to or through California, be sure to check your airline’s website or social media channels for the latest information.

And stay safe!

DOT tunes up ruling on carrying instruments on flights

Austin Giant Guitars

Thanks to a new ruling by the US Department of Transportation (DOT), airlines are now required to allow small musical instruments, such as a violin or guitar, to be carried into the cabin and stowed in approved stowage spaces, if available, and/or under the seat.

“Under the rule, musical instruments as carry-on items are treated no differently from other carry-on items and the stowage space should be made available for all carry-on items on a “first come, first served” basis,” reads the new ruling. “Carriers are not required to give musical instruments priority over other carry-on baggage, therefore passengers traveling with musical instruments may want to buy the pre-boarding option offered by many carriers to ensure that space will be available for them to safely stow their instruments in the cabin.”

The rule goes into effect in 60 days.

For many years people traveling with instruments have been subject to arbitrary and contradictory size and weight requirements imposed by each airline for musical instruments carried on or checked as baggage, “[a]irlines will now follow a consistent policy for all musicians traveling with instruments, said Ray Hair, president of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada.

Airlines are now required to train air crews, gate agents, counter agents, and baggage personnel concerning appropriate procedures necessary to comply with all FAA musical instrument transportation policies and, hopefully there won’t a repeat of the incident that prompted the viral hit, United Breaks Guitars.

To help explain the new ruling, the DOT has created a webpage with helpful tips on traveling with musical instruments – and advice on what to do if you have a problem getting your instrument on a flight.

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Alaska Airlines joins gate-to-gate electronics club

Alaska Electronics

On Saturday, November 9, Alaska Airlines joined the club of airlines that allow passengers to use their personal electronic devices from gate-to-gate.

Already in the club: United, American/American Eagle* JetBlue, Delta and US Airways.

We’re still waiting to hear when Southwest and Virgin America will get FAA approval.

Horizon Air passengers should be able to use their electronic devices during all phases of their flight next week.

But beware: the rule does not yet apply on US Airways Express, United Express, Delta Connection and *American Eagle flights operated by some of its regional partners.

Stay tuned.

Airlines updating waiver policies in response to Boston lock-down

ScreenHunter_32 Apr. 19 05.36

 

 

Boston is in lock-down mode this morning and public transportation, as well as Amtrak train service is shut down.

Boston Logan Airport sent out a tweet this morning saying it is “open and operating under heightened security. Please check with your airline on flight status before heading to the airport.”

American Airlines

United

Southwest,

Spirit

US Airways

JetBlue and likely other airlines – are offering travelers an option to change their flights plans in or out of Boston today, so as this wild story unfolds, consider steering clear of Boston today.

 

 

 

 

Travel Tidbits: blizzard, extra points and free Wi-Fi

Snowstorm

Thanks to Storm Nemo, on Thursday evening I was one of the hundreds of thousands of travelers who had to cancel important weekend plans that involved flying to the east coast.

Then I had to sit on the phone for hours trying to work out a new and, it turns out, quite expensive new plan.

For those of you still trying to figure out your options, here’s a link to a list of many of the change-fee waiver policies airlines have posted.

In other news…. Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport announced that it is the latest airport to join the Thanks Again program, which offers travelers frequent flyer miles or points for qualifying purchases made at the airport for things such as parking, food and retail items. Travelers at DFW will also be able to get points or miles for stays at the airport hotels, such as the Grand Hyatt, and at Paradise 4 Paws, the airport’s pet hotel.

170 other airports already participate in the Thanks Again program – which requires a simple sign-up and registration of a credit-card.

And during the month of February passengers at John F. Kennedy (JFK), LaGuardia (LGA) and Newark Liberty International (EWR) airports – as well as passengers at some New York City subway stations – will be able to get complimentary Boingo Wi-Fi sessions courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line, which is celebrating a new ship, the Norwegian Breakaway.

That should come in handy if you end up stuck at one of those airports – or in the city – this weekend due to Storm Nemo.