According to the FAA, Summer travel is expected to be relatively smooth at most of the nation’s airports. This is, in large part, due to deep capacity cuts and fewer flights.
However, one key airport that could be facing a number of delays is O’Hare International Airport. The FAA says the carriers have scheduled almost as many flights as the airport can handle in peak travel times on good-weather days, and added operations that far outstrip O’Hare’s capacity in stormy weather.
The over-scheduling is occurring in 15-minute bursts – typically at the top of the hour, when research shows flight make more money. For instance, on Thursday (6/10), American Airlines scheduled 27 flights and United scheduled 39 flights between 8 a.m. and 8:15 a.m. That’s seven more flights than the airport can handle under the best conditions. O’Hare can handle approximately 100 departures an hour, but not 66 in a 15-minute window.
FAA officials warned that congestion problems forming at O’Hare could worsen as the carriers have already announced plans to expand their schedules in the second half of 2010 — adding almost 22,000 more flights at O’Hare from July through December compared with the same period last year.
Here’s some more travel news you can use:
- The USAToday noted that, “many first-class seats aren’t being filled by high-spending customers, but rather by fliers who’ve paid only for a coach class ticket but moved to the front of the cabin on an upgrade.” Keep that in mind the next time you’re about to pay top dollar for first class.
- In the first quarter of this year, just 10.6 percent, or 23,380 passengers, of the 219,860 passengers who got bumped were unwilling. But it was worse on some airlines than others. American Eagle denied boarding to 4.59 passengers per 10,000 in the first quarter. Delta involuntarily bumped about 0.63 passenger per 10,000. Jet Blue had the best record, denying boarding to only about 0.01 passenger per 10,000.
An Australian news outlet recently asked a panel of travel experts how to increase your chances of getting a seat upgrade. Here’s the Cliff’s Notes version of the tactics they recommended:
- Look the part: Ditch the backpack, flip-flops and sweats. Present yourself neatly and polish up your manners and you may find yourself sipping on champagne in either first or business class.
- Travel on busy days: With a sold-out flight, there is more chance of an upgrade if passengers don’t show up, which is more likely to happen on busy days.
- Never, ever, ask for an upgrade: Unless you have elite frequent flier status, do not ask for an upgrade. Apparently, it’s like ordering soup from the Soup Nazi. It’s rude to ask. Instead of asking, simply volunteer yourself to be bumped.
- Flirt your way to a better seat: If break tactic #3, then you better be charming. Dropping a “pretty please”, batting the eye-lashes and flirting a bit actually works.
- Travel solo: You’re more likely to score an upgrade if you travel alone as it’s more than likely there will be one seat available than two or three. If you travel solo, it also helps with tactic #4.
- Join a frequent flier program: A frequent flier number implies a certain degree of loyalty, and the airlines are more likely to upgrade passengers who are or appear to be their loyalists.
- Don’t be an early bird: Airlines allow for no-shows by double-booking some seats, so when everyone turns up to board the flight, the late arrivals are usually bumped up into a higher class.
- Smile: Be nice. Say thank you. Enough said.
- Lie: Airline staff have heard everything under the sun, so be creative and see how far a little lie can take you.
Here’s some more travel news you can use:
- The U.S. DOT has fined Southwest Airlines $200,000 for “bumping” passengers from oversold flights without complying to federal standards. An investigation by the DOT revealed “numerous instances” in which the Dallas budget carrier denied boarding to passengers on overbooked flights without providing a written statement explaining their rights, which can include compensation of up to $800.
- The seven hotel brands of IHG are offering discounts of up to 50% off on stays across Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, French Polynesia and Papua New Guinea on stays between June 1 and Aug. 31. IHG brands include InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Staybridge Suites, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express and Candlewood Suites. Reservations must be completed by May 13th. Also, give IHG’s new iPhone app a whirl. IGH is offering users 1,000 Priority Club Rewards bonus points for all bookings and stays for the rest of April through June 15th made using the iPhone app.