Aruba Travel Tips

Aruba Bound!  Aruba Travel Tips  Do Not Get Bumped

Do Not Get Bumped

  • Essentially the easiest way to avoid being bumped is to arrive at the airport early.
  • When a flight is oversold, though you may have checked in, if you were one of the last persons to do so, you are more likely to be bumped.
  • Allow extra time; assume that the airport access road is backed up, the parking lot is full, and there is a long line at TSA security screening. Better safe than sorry.
  • Airlines may offer vouchers on future flights in place of a check for denied boarding compensation. If you do not want the voucher, you have the right to insist on a check.
  • You are always free to decline the check and take the airline to court to try to obtain more compensation. The government's denied boarding regulation spells out the airlines' minimum obligation to people they bump involuntarily.
  • Finally, don't be a "no-show." If you are holding confirmed reservations you don't plan to use, notify the airline. If you don't, they will cancel all onward or return reservations on your trip.
  • Have pre-assigned seats before you go. Airline policies vary, but having a reserved seat generally gives you priority. When you go to check-in you will already have an assigned seat rather than the airline trying to find one for you.
  • Fly at off peak times. Vacation travelers try to travel Saturday and Sunday. Business travel is heaviest on Monday and Friday. Early morning and late afternoon rush hour are also good times to avoid.
  • Arrive early for your flight. International flights usually require that you be at the airport 2 hours prior to departure, but can be up to three houses before scheduled departure. Departing Aruba, you are asked to arrive at the airport 3 hours prior to departure. There are many variations on the rules depending upon the airline and airport. PLEASE familiarize yourself with conditions and exceptions.
  • Check in before you get to the gate. To be counted as "arrived" check-in at the closest ticket counter. If the lines are long, get the attention of airline personnel and notify them of your impending flight time.
  • If you do get bumped hold out for a check. You must be compensated on the spot. Airlines usually offer a voucher good towards future travel. Department of Transportation rules state that if you are re-routed and arrive at your destination one to four hours later than your original flight your compensation has a ceiling of $800 maximum. If you feel you are being offered less than allotted amount or prefer the cash, ask for a check.
  • Bargain for perks. Request a ticket to a destination of your choice or frequent flier miles credited to your account. Also try asking for additional benefits while you are awaiting your next flight. Free drinks, a free food, free admission to the airline's VIP club or even taxi fare, all sweeten the pot.

Overbooking

Fly-Rights A Consumer Guide to Air Travel: Aviation Consumer Protection Division:
U.S. Department of Transportation

Involuntary Bumping

Updated 1/1/11
The US DOT requires each airline to give all passengers who are bumped involuntarily a written statement describing their rights and explaining how the carrier decides who gets on an oversold flight and who doesn't. Those travelers who don't get to fly are frequently entitled to denied boarding compensation in the form of a check or cash. The amount depends on the price of their ticket and the length of the delay:
  • Bumped involuntarily passengers do not receive compensation when the airline arranges substitute transportation which gets you to your final destination (including later connections) within one hour of your original scheduled arrival time
  • Substitute transportation which gets you to your final destination (including later connections) between one and two hours after your original arrival time (between one and four hours on international flights) the airline is required to pay you an amount equal to what your one way fare to your destination would have been (that day) to a $400 maximum
  • Substitute transportation which gets you to your final destination (four hours internationally), more than two hours later or if the airline does not make substitute travel arrangements you are entitlted to double the amount (200% of your one-way fare, $800 maximum).
  • You are permitted to make your own arrangements, requesting an "involuntary refund" for the ticket for the flight you were bumped from. The original ticket may be kept for use on another flight.

Voluntary Bumping aka Volunteering Your Seat

Compensation

  • There is no law or regulation at this time regarding this. You the passenger can negotiate with the airline on a mutually acceptable compensation.
  • Examples may include:
    • Vouchers good towards future travel
    • Frequent flier miles deposited to your account
    • Upgrade to first class on the next available flight
  • If the airline offers you a voucher, make sure you are aware of time limitations or other restrictions, such as black out periods, valid for international travel before you say yes.
  • Before agreeing to volunteer your seat, ask the important questions:
    • What is the time of your next flight?
    • Is this a confirmed seat or standby
    • If standby is that next flight fully booked?
    • Will meal(s), telephone calls, ground transportation or a hotel room (for a flight out the next day) be provided?

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