February 9, 2010

February 9, 2010
Getting Settled

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Tuesday and I hope you are having a safe and great week so far. At least here in South Florida, the weather is decent especially compared to other parts of the country.

The Uhaul was returned yesterday after Two Guys with Muscles finished unloading the heavy stuff into the new place and the storage unit. But there is still a ton of unpacking to do and then of course finding spaces for my stuff to go in this teeny tiny apartment. I have not lived in something this small since being in New York City so it is going to be quite a feat. Considering about 90 percent of my stuff is in storage that should tell you how small this place is. The bathroom only has a shower and no sink. There is also no real living room but there is a bedroom with the tiniest of closets. But at least it is a roof over the dogs' and my heads.

Going through many mixed emotions right now. Sad about leaving Jacksonville and a ton of great friends. Anxious about all I need to do to get settled here in the Fort Lauderdale area. At least yesterday, I finally was able to get my information changed at the bank but it took talking to three different people before someone could half way understand me. Since the stroke it is very hard for anyone to understand me on the telephone.

Now anyone who follows my blog knows I travel a lot speaking and doing events around the world. When you travel as much as I do sooner or later you are going to get bumped from a flight due to overbooking. So what happens then?

It depends on how you were bumped and when you finally reached your destination.

When flights are oversold, as they often are, airlines first ask for volunteers to give up their seats. Those volunteers typically are compensated. But when there are not enough willing takers, involuntary bumping begins. The first passengers targeted are usually those who were the last to check in or who paid the least for their seats.

According to Department of Transportation rules, an airline is not required to pay those who are involuntarily bumped if it arranges substitute travel that is scheduled to arrive at their final destination within one hour of the original time.

If an alternative arrival is later than one hour, bumped passengers are compensated. The airline may offer you a ticket for a future flight, but you have the right to insist on cash instead.

The DOT rules say that if your new domestic flight arrives one to two hours after your original scheduled landing (one to four hours for an international flight), the compensation must be equal to the one-way fare to your final destination, with a $400 maximum. If the new domestic flight arrives more than two hours later (more than four hours for an international flight), the airline must pay twice the cost of your one-way fare, up to $800.

Even if you receive cash as “denied boarding compensation,” you can keep your original ticket and use it on the same flight at a later date.

Loophole list

There are several other loopholes under which airlines aren’t required to compensate those who are bumped involuntarily:

* To qualify for any payment, you must have a confirmed reservation for your original ticket and you must have met any required reconfirmation deadline.

* Some airlines also require you to have checked in at the departure gate within a certain time frame, which can be an hour beforehand for domestic flights and three hours on international flights.

* If the airline must substitute a smaller plane for the one it originally planned to use, it is not required to pay people who are bumped as a result.

* On flights using aircraft with between 30 and 60 seats, compensation is not required if you were bumped because of safety related weight or balance constraints.

* Finally, the rules do not apply to charter flights, or to scheduled flights operated with planes that hold fewer than 30 passengers, or to international flights inbound to the United States.

Anytime you are bumped involuntarily, the airline must give you a written statement describing your rights and explaining how it decides who gets to board and who does not.

So good luck on your next trip and here is hoping getting bumped does not happen to you. But at least you know what your options are now.

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope and happiness.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab