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FAQ: Air Traveler's Handbook 4/4 [Monthly posting]

( Part1 - Part2 - Part3 - Part4 - MultiPage )
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Archive-name: travel/air/handbook/part4
Last-Modified: Wed Apr 30 12:56:55 1997 by Mark Kantrowitz
Version: 1.26
Size: 84031 bytes, 1604 lines
URL: http://www.cs.cmu.edu/afs/cs/user/mkant/Public/Travel/airfare.html

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
;;; ****************************************************************
;;; Airfare FAQ, Part 4 ********************************************
;;; ****************************************************************
;;; Written by Mark Kantrowitz

This post is a summary of useful information for air travelers. The
focus is on obtaining inexpensive air fares, although other topics are
also covered. It was previously posted under the title "FAQ: How to
Get Cheap Airtickets".

Please mail comments, corrections, additions, suggestions, criticisms
and other information to mkant@cs.cmu.edu.

*** Copyright:

Copyright (c) 1989-94 by Mark Kantrowitz. All rights reserved.

This FAQ may be freely redistributed in its entirety without
modification provided that this copyright notice is not removed.  It
may not be sold for profit or incorporated in commercial documents
(e.g., published for sale on CD-ROM, floppy disks, books, magazines,
or other print form) without the prior written permission of the
copyright holder.  Permission is expressly granted for this document
to be made available for file transfer from installations offering
unrestricted anonymous file transfer on the Internet.

This article is provided AS IS without any express or implied warranty.

*** Topics Covered:

Part 4 (Appendices, Miscellaneous):

   Appendices:
   [4-1]  Airline Reservation Phone Numbers
   [4-2]  Flight Information
   [4-3]  On-line reservation services
   [4-4]  Complaints and Compliments
   [4-5]  Glossary
   [4-6]  Other Sources of Information
   [4-7]  Further Reading
   [4-8]  Phone Numbers Included in this FAQ
   
   Miscellaneous:
   [4-9]  IRS Rules Change
   [4-10] Airline Antitrust Litigation
   [4-11] Miscellaneous Notes
   [4-12] World-Wide Web (WWW) Resources

Search for [#] to get to question number # quickly.


Subject: [4-1] Airline Reservation Phone Numbers If the toll free number is incorrect, do me a favor and call 1-800-555-1212 to get the correct 800 number, and send me email with the correction. Three or four of these numbers change every year. Note that toll free numbers are valid only within the USA (sometimes in Canada). Alaska Airlines 1-800-426-0333, 1-800-654-5669 Alaska Airlines 1-602-921-3100 American 1-800-223-5436 (Main) American 1-800-433-7300 (Dom) American 1-800-624-6262 (Itl) American 1-817-267-1151 America West 1-800-235-9292 America West 1-602-693-0737 Continental 1-800-525-0280 (Dom) Continental 1-800-231-0856 (Itl) Continental 1-404-436-3300 Continental 1-800-343-9195, 1-800-421-2456 Continental 1-800-784-4444, 1-800-634-5555 Continental Express 1-207-941-6565 Delta 1-800-221-1212 (Dom) Delta 1-800-241-4141 (Itl) Delta 1-404-765-5000 Northwest 1-800-225-2525 (Dom) Northwest 1-800-447-4747 (Itl) Northwest 1-800-692-2345 (Asian Language) Northwest 1-800-345-7458 (French Language) Northwest 1-800-345-7414 (German Language) Northwest 1-800-345-7411 (Spanish Language) Northwest 1-800-328-2298 (TDD/TT Number) Northwest 1-800-692-2746 (Cargo) Northwest 1-800-638-7337 (VIP Same-Day Package Service) Northwest 1-612-726-1234 Northwest 1-800-692-8687 Southwest 1-800-IFLY-SWA, (1-800-435-9792) Southwest 1-800-531-5601, 214-263-1717 Southwest 1-800-533-1305 (TDD) TWA 1-800-221-2000 (Dom) TWA 1-800-892-4141 (Itl) TWA 1-404-522-5738 United 1-800-241-6522 (Dom) United 1-800-538-2929 (Itl) United 1-312-825-2525 USAir 1-800-428-4322 (Dom) USAir 1-800-622-1015 (Itl) USAir 1-800-943-5436 USAir 1-412-922-7500 Hawaiian Airlines 1-800-367-5320, 1-800-367-7637 Air Midwest 1-913-537-1305 Air Nevada 1-702-736-8900, 1-800-634-6377 Air Wisconsin 1-414-739-5123 Alaska Island Air 1-907-772-4222 Aloha Airlines 1-800-367-5250, 1-800-227-4900, 1-800-803-9454 Aloha Airlines (TDD) 1-800-554-4833 Aloha Island Air 1-800-828-0806 American Trans Air 1-800-225-2995 American Trans Air 1-800-382-5892 Carnival Airlines 1-800-8-AIR-FUN Carnival Airlines 1-800-437-2110 Chicago Express 1-800-264-3929 Kiwi International 1-800-538-5494 Kiwi International 1-908-353-3232 Midway Airlines 1-800-446-4392 Midway Airlines 1-800-621-5700 Reno Air 1-800-736-6247 Tower Air 1-800-221-2500 Tower Air 1-800-452-5531 Tower Air 1-800-34-TOWER (1-800-348-6937) ValuJet 1-404-994-8258 ValuJet 1-800-825-8538 ALM Antillean Airline 1-800-327-7230, 1-800-327-7197, 1-800-531-4854 Aer Lingus 1-800-223-6537 Aero California 1-800-237-6225 Reservations Aero California 1-800-524-9191 Packages Aero Cancun 1-305-526-5341 Aero Costa Rica 1-800-237-6274 AeroMexico 1-800-237-6639 Aeroflot 1-800-995-5555 Aerolineas Argentinas 1-800-333-0276 Aeromar 1-800-950-0747 Aeroperu 1-800-327-7080/255-7378 Air Afrique (New York) 1-800-456-9192 Air Aliance 1-800-869-9000 Air Alma 1-800-463-9660 Air Antillean 1-800-327-7230 Air Aruba (Miami) 1-800-882-7822 Air Aruba (Miami) 1-800-858-8028 Air Aruba (Miami) 1-800-858-8038 Air Canada 1-800-776-3000 Air China 1-212-371-9898 Air Europa 1-212-888-7010 Air France 1-800-237-2747 Air France 1-800-237-2746 Air France 1-800-321-4538 Air Gaudeloupe 1-800-522-3394 Air India 1-800-223-2250 Air India 1-800-223-7776 Air India 1-800-255-3191 (Economy) Air India 1-800-221-6000 (Cargo) Air Italia 88-228-5730 Air Jamaica 1-800-523-5585 Air Lanka 1-800-421-9898 Air Margarita 1-800-326-0339 Air Mauritius 1-800-537-1182 Air Metro 1-800-871-1000 Air New Zealand 1-800-262-1234 Air New Zealand 1-800-262-2468 Air Niugini 1-714-752-5440 Air North America 1-838-792-4982 Air Pacific 1-800-417-2236, 1-800-227-4446 Air Panama 1-800-272-6262 Air Paraquay 1-800-677-7771 Air Peru 1-800-777-7717 Air Posta 1-305-871-3360 Air Trails 1-408-757-5144 Air UK 1-201-890-1796 Air Vantage 1-800-279-9383 Airianka 1-800-421-9898 Airways International 1-305-876-0170 Alitalia 1-800-223-5730 All Nippon Airways 1-800-235-9262, 1-800-262-9266 Aspen Airways 1-303-320-4747 Austral Airlines 1-305-823-4368 Austrian Air 1-800-843-0002 Avensa-Venezuelan 1-800-283-6727 Avianca 1-800-284-2622 Aviateca Guatemala 1-800-327-9832, 1-800-453-4703, 1-800-535-4148 B A S Airlines 1-800-245-3248 BWIA International 1-800-327-7401, 1-800-327-0204 Bahamas Air 1-800-222-4262 Balair 1-800-322-5247 Bangladesh Biman 1-212-967-7930 Bankair Commuter 1-800-922-7814 Bar Harbor 1-207-941-6565 Bemidji Airlines 1-281-751-1880, 1-800-332-7133 Big Sky Northwest 1-406-245-9449 Branson Airlines 1-800-422-4AIR British Airways 1-800-247-9297, [1-800-AIR-WAYS] British Midland 1-800-247-9297 Buffalo Airways 1-817-752-6855 Bush Air 1-907-543-2424 Business Express 1-203-623-5168 Canadian Air 1-800-426-7000 Casino Express 1-702-738-6040 Cathay Pacific 1-415-982-3242, 1-800-233-2742 Cathay Pacific Airways 1-800-233-2742 Cayman Airways 1-800-422-9626, 1-800-441-3003 Cayman Airways 1-800-343-6565 (Group Desk) China Airlines 1-800-227-5118 China Airlines 1-800-624-2245 (Cargo JFK) China Estrn Airlines 1-213-384-2703 Copa 1-800-FLY-COPA (1-800-359-2672) Dominicana 1-800-635-3560 Dominicana Airlines 1-800-327-7240 Eastern Express 1-207-941-6565 Ecuatoriana 1-800-328-2367 Egyptair 1-800-334-6787 El Al Israel Airlines 1-800-223-6700 Emirates 1-800-777-3999 Ethiopian 1-212-867-0095 Faucett Peru 1-800-334-3356 Finn Air 1-800-950-5000 Finnair 1-800-950-5000 Garuda Indonesia 1-800-342-7832 Gulf Air 1-800-438-4853 Iberia 1-800-772-4642 Icelandair 1-800-223-5500 Japan Air Lines 1-800-525-3663 Jet South 1-800-JET-SOUTH KLM 1-800-374-7747 KLM 1-800-777-5553 KLM 1-800-556-9000 (Cargo) Kenya Airways 1-212-832-8810, 1-800-343-2506 Korean Air 1-800-421-8200 Korean Air 1-800-438-5000 Kuwait 1-800-4-KUWAIT (1-800-458-9248) LACSA 1-800-225-2272 LOT Polish 1-800-223-0593 LTU Int Airways 1-800-888-0200 Ladeco 1-800-825-2332, 1-800-432-2799 Lan Chili 1-800-735-5526 Lloyd Aero Bollviano 1-305-374-4600 Lloyd Aero Bollviano 1-800-327-1502 (Cargo) Lufthansa 1-800-645-3880, 1-800-581-6400 MGM Grand Air 1-800-933-2646 Malaysia Airlines 1-800-421-8641 (Reservations) Malaysia Airlines 1-800-648-3273 (Rate Desk) Malev Hungarian 1-212-757-6480 Malev Hungarian 1-800-223-6884, 1-800-262-5380 Martinair Holland 1-800-366-4655 Mexicana 1-800-531-7921 Middle East 1-800-664-7310 Midwest Express 1-414-747-4769 Midwest Express Airlines 1-800-452-2022, 1-800-334-1149 Morris Air 1-801-483-6464 Nigeria 1-212-935-2700 Olympic Airways 1-800-223-1226 Pacific Coast Air 1-800-426-5400 Philippine Airlines 1-800-435-9725, (1-800-IFLY-PAL) Polish Air-Lot 1-800-223-0593 Polynesian 1-800-592-7100 Private Jet 1-800-546-7571 Qantas Airways 1-800-227-4500 Royal Air Maroc 1-212-750-6071, 1-800-344-6726 Royal Jordanian 1-800-223-0470 Royal Tonga 1-800-486-6426 SAS Scandinavian Air 1-800-221-2350, 1-800-225-5727, 1-800-742-0727 SKY BUS 1-800-755-9287 Sabena 1-800-955-2000 Sabena World 1-800-950-1000 Saudia Arabian Airlines 1-800-472-8342, 1-800-457-8329 Silk Air 1-800-745-5247 Singapore Airlines 1-800-742-3333 South African 1-800-722-9675 Swissair 1-800-221-4750, 1-800-221-6644 TAP Air Portugal 1-800-221-7370 Taca 1-800-535-8780 Taca 1-800-672-8321 (Cargo) Tan Sasha Honduras 1-800-327-1225 Thai Airways 1-800-426-5204 Varig Brazilian Airlines 1-800-468-2744, 1-800-262-1706, 1-800-252-0403 Varig Brazilian Airlines 1-800-327-2392, 1-800-327-2604 (Cargo) Viasa Venezuelan Itl Airways 1-800-468-4272, 1-800-221-6112 Viasa Venezuelan Itl Airways 1-800-327-4470, 1-800-445-5598 Virgin Atlantic 1-800-862-8621 YTA Freniva 1-800-382-4484 Yugoslav 1-800-752-6528 Zambia Airways 1-800-223-1136
Subject: [4-2] Flight Information OAG FlightCall 900-786-8686 ($.95/min) Flight arrival/departure/gate information for 17 US airports USAir Flight Info 800-943-5436 Arrival/departure/gate information for all USAir flights American Airlines 800-223-5436 Arrival/departure/gate/schedules/fare information for all American Airlines flights. Good explanation of why flight is delay. Even tells you what the lowest possible price is. Northwest Airlines 800-441-1818/800-225-2525 Arrival/departure information for all NW flights. Delta Airlines 800-DAL-1999 Arrival/departure information for all Delta flights. United 800-824-6200
Subject: [4-3] On-line reservation services Note: NONE of the on-line airline reservation systems provide free access, and it is unlikely that they ever will. However PCTravel provides online access to the Apollo CRS (see [4-12] below for details). On-line airline reservation systems typically allow you to check fares and schedules and make reservations on most airlines. You can also pay for the tickets, which can then be sent by mail, or issued at the airline's airport ticket counter or city ticket office, or by most travel agents. Some allow you to maintain an online profile of information to be inserted into your reservations, such as frequent flyer number and special meal requests. These systems provide the same basic scheduling and pricing data as the ones used by travel agents, but with a different user interface, and restricted access to some information. The major airline reservation systems with online interfaces are Eaasy Sabre (owned by the parent company of American Airlines), Travelshopper (owned by Worldspan, formerly known as PARS), and Official Airline Guide. Don't assume that on-line reservation systems are necessarily complete. In today's electronic age, all too often folks assume that if information isn't available in electronic form, it doesn't exist at all. A good travel agent will often be able to find you a cheaper fare than you can find for yourself, especially for complicated itineraries (e.g., unpublished consolidator fares). If you like using an on-line reservation system, use it to identify possible flights and times, and to get a feeling for the lowest fare, and then talk to your travel agent. Be as flexible with your travel agent and you were with the on-line system -- tell them how much you're willing to modify your travel plans. But don't just give them the flights you found in your on-line searches; take advantage of their expertise, and ask them if they can find anything cheaper. Eaasy Sabre can be accessed as a basic service (no additional fee) from the following online services: America Online ($9.95/month; two hours "free" access included.) Compu$erve (1-800-848-8199; part of basic service, $8.95/month); use the terminal interface version rather than the Compuserve Information Manager (CIM). Delphi ($10/month for four hours, or $20 for twenty hours) National Videotex ($5.95/month) Prodigy (1-800-822-6922) Prodigy replaces the Eaasy Sabre interface with their own user interface. GENIE provides Eaasy Sabre for free (other than the $4.95/month basic service fee), assuming you use it during their off-peak hours, which are 6pm-8am weekdays, all day holidays and weekends. Delphi has an internet gateway (delphi.com), but one must still pay for the service. PARS TravelShopper is available on Compu$erve and Delphi. Official Airline Guide (OAG) Electronic Edition is available on Compu$erve, Delphi, direct TYMNET (with credit card billing), GEnie (for a surcharge), Dow Jones News Retrieval, and National VideoTex (Premium Plus Service; $12/hour charge plus Premium surcharge of $6/hr non-business, $9/hour business hours). It is also available on the Internet (telnet to oag.com), but you have to subscribe first to get a login userid. (For subscription information, press return when asked for the member number.) The charges for the Internet service are $25 base, plus $0.47/minute peak, $0.17/minute offpeak for access, with the first 15 days free. Call 1-800-323-4000 for a starter kit. OAG is also accessible via Sprintnet from the hermes.merit.edu gateway, but charges by the minute (17 cents/minute offpeak). It can be fairly expensive, but since it has no monthly minimum, it can be the cheapest for infrequent users. Also, if the last thing you do before logging off is make or cancel a reservation, the session is free. None of these save you the commission charges, so it doesn't save you much over calling the airline's 800 number or using a travel agent and asking lots of "what-if" questions. All providers of computer reservation systems are required to be non-biased (e.g., even though Eaasy Sabre is owned by American Airline's parent company, they don't preferentially list American first). Some accomplish this by listing the flights in a particular order, like shortest non-stop flights shortest flights with transit point(s) shortest aggregate times for one-city connections shortest aggregate times for multi-city connections. but in random order within each category. Travel agents can, of course, restrict the display to the flights of specific carrier(s). The major computer reservation systems (CRS) are: Apollo (United, USAir), EAASY SABRE (American), System One (Continental), Worldspan-PARS (Northwest, TWA), and Worldspan-DATAS II (Delta). Each carrier also has its own internal reservation system. All of the major CRS's are interconnected, so you can make a reservation for one airline on a system owned by a different carrier. However, in some cases the connections are by TTS (yikes!), so it can take up to 24 hours to actually confirm the reservation. Some of the systems have faster links (e.g., EAASY SABRE has fast links with United, Delta, and Continental). When the reservation is complete, you'll get a record locator number (6 alphanumeric characters). This number can allow a travel agent to locate the reservation. (In general, even when placing a reservation with a travel agent, it's a good idea to ask for and record the record locator number.) OAG sells subscriptions to "OAG Flightdisk", a flight schedule information program that is updated monthly. It contains the same flight information as the airline reservation systems. (Of course, you can't make reservations with it, but this might be a cheaper alternative than the online services for some people.) The cost is $216 for the North American Edition (US, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean), $216 for the European Edition (Europe, Africa, and the Middle East), or $269 for the Worldwide Edition. It comes in DOS, Windows, and Macintosh versions. For more information, write to Official Airline Guides, 2000 Clearwater Drive, Oak Brook, IL 60521, call 1-800-323-3537, or fax 708-574-6565. (Prices valid until 4/15/94.) OAG also sells (printed) subscriptions to OAG Pocket Flight Guide for $70 a year (normally $87); it comes with a free subscription to Frequent Flyer Magazine and a copy of the OAG Top Restaurant Guide. Call 1-800-DIAL-OAG (1-800-342-5624) and mention special offer 2AZV6 to subscribe or for more information. (Offer valid through 3/31/94.) For US domestic flight information and pricing, such services are supposed to be as accurate as the information available to travel agents and the airlines themselves. The same may not necessarily be true for flights originating outside the US. Note, also, that consolidator fares are NOT listed in online services, nor in the databases used by airlines and travel agents. Consolidator fares are obtained by calling up the consolidators themselves. When making a reservation through an online CRS, it is best to also do the ticketing through that CRS. Some CRS, like SABRE, will automatically cancel the reservations if they aren't ticketed through SABRE by some time limit. If the cancelation message isn't ignored by the airline's computer, your reservations could wind up being canceled, even if you've already purchase the tickets, leaving you with a mess to straighten out. More information on online CRS's can be found in John Levine's FAQ on the topic, a copy of which may be found in ftp://ftp.cs.cmu.edu/user/mkant/Travel/ as the file online.faq.
Subject: [4-4] Complaints and Compliments If you have a legitimate complaint about service, write a well-written letter to the appropriate people at the airline. This can often result in real results. But don't become a habitual complainer. Many airline customer service departments keep records of all complaints and compliments. If you complain too often, you'll get tagged as a flamer, and they'll ignore future complaints. If you are a frequent flyer and don't complain often, complaints can end up in travel discount compensation. Airlines do keep track of who complains and how frequently, so if you complain too often about trivial matters, your complaints won't have the same effect as they would if you complained about only important problems. Keep track of the names of all airline personnel you deal with, and be as specific as possible about dates, times, places, and flight numbers in your letter. Enclose copies of any receipts for expenses incurred because of missed/delayed flights. When writing a complaint letter, tell the airline what it can do to make you happy. If you're realistic and reasonable, giving them some leeway, your complaints will be addressed much more quickly. Venting anger in a complaint letter won't get you results. Remember, the people reading your letter aren't the cause of the problem, and they have to read thousands of angry letters. They're human beings, with feelings. So if they get a nice, calm letter, that describes the problem, suggests a solution, and says what you want to make you happy, they are much more likely to respond positively. If you're complaining on the spot (e.g., they lost your reservation) and feel you're not making headway with the agent/clerk you're talking to, try asking to speak to a supervisor or manager. Sometimes clerks don't have the authority to address the problem. The more flexible you are, the more likely they are to come up with a solution that satisfies you. Losing your temper and getting loud and obnoxious won't help. Remember, the person you're talking to probably wasn't responsible for the problem, so yelling at them hurts them without being productive. Keep the conversation at a calm and professional level. (Breaking down into tears will get you a lot further than any quantity of angry words. Why in doubt, start crying.) If you're making no progress, try calling your travel agent collect and telling them about the problem. If the person you're talking to doesn't seem willing or able to help, try talking to someone else. Different employees tend to give different answers to the same questions. The person you're talking to may not know the answer to your question, or may not have the knowledge and/or authority to deal with the problem properly. Try asking for that person's supervisor. Whatever you do, please don't complain about something minor or make meaningless threats. Saying "I'm going to tell all my friends to stop using your airline" or "I'll make a post on netnews, nyeah, nyeah, nyeah, nyeah" really won't accomplish anything, unless you happen to be the CEO of a large multinational firm. The Department of Transportation accepts consumer complaints about airlines and records, compiles, and publishes statistics on airline performance. The statistics are available in a monthly Air Travel Consumer Report. For a free copy, write to the Office of Consumer Affairs, US Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, NW, Room 10405, Washington, DC 20590. 202-366-2220. The statistics vary a lot from month to month. They receive 400-500 complaints a month from consumers. Here are statistics for 1993: On-time (within 15 minutes of schedule): Best -- Southwest 88.0% Northwest 85.7% America West 79.9% American 79.3% TWA 77.9% Delta 77.2% USAir 76.7% Continental 74.6% United 73.7% Worst -- Alaska 68.5% Avg -- 83% Overbooking: Best -- American 89 involuntary bumps/19 million passengers Worst -- America West 1,805/3.7 million Mishandled baggage: Best -- Southwest Worst -- America West Complaints per 100,000 fliers: Best -- Southwest 0.10 America West 0.48 Delta 0.50 Northwest 0.55 USAir 0.58 United 0.67 American 0.88 Continental 1.28 Worst -- TWA 1.45 On average, airlines mishandle 4.75 bags per 1,000 passengers. An on-time flight is one that arrives within 15 minutes of the scheduled arrival time. Some airlines list longer flight times or connection times to improve their standings in the DOT statistics, so take these numbers with a grain of salt. Current DOT rules exempt flights delayed by mechanical problems from being counted as late. As of January 1, 1995, the exemption will be eliminated. According to a recent survey by JD Powers & Associates, for long trips, customer satisfaction was highest on Delta, Continental, and Northwest, and for short trips, customer satisfaction was highest on Delta, Southwest, and Alaska. Customer Relations Departments of various airlines: Aloha Airlines Inc., Customer Relations, PO Box 30028, Honolulu, HI 96820. Alaska Airlines, Consumer Affairs, PO Box 68900, Seattle, WA 98168. American Airlines, 1-800-967-2000 America West Airlines, Consumer Affairs, 222 South Mill Ave., Tempe, AZ 85281, 1-800-247-5692. Continental Airlines, Customer Relations, PO Box 4607, Houston, TX 77210-4607, 712-987-6500. Delta Air Lines Inc., Consumer Affairs, Hartsfield Atlanta Int Airport, Atlanta, GA 30320, 404-765-2600. Hawaiian Airlines, Consumer Affairs, Honolulu Intl Airport, PO Box 30008, Honolulu, HI 96820-0008. Northwest Airlines, Consumer Affairs, Minneapolis/St. Paul Intl Airport, St. Paul, MN 55111, 612-726-2046. Southwest Airlines Co., Customer Relations, PO Box 37611, Love Field, Dallas, TX 75235-1625, 214-904-4000. Trans World Airlines Inc., Customer Relations, 605 Third Ave., New York, 10158, 914-242-3172. United Airlines, Customer Relations, PO Box 66100, Chicago, IL 60666, 312-952-7843. USAir, Consumer Relations, Washington National Airport, Washington, DC 20001, 703-892-7020. Federal Aviation Administration/US DOT, 202-366-2220. American Society of Travel Agents, Consumer Affairs Dept., 703-739-2782. If you encounter problems as a result of buying tickets from a fly-by-night organization (pun intended), contact the Better Business Bureau, the state office of consumer protection, and/or the state attorney general's office. You can protect yourself by using a credit card to purchase the tickets and by confirming your reservation directly with the airline. If you ask the flight attendant for a comment card, they'll provide one. (Most of the comment cards use business reply mail, so you don't even have to pay for the stamp. But there isn't much space on the cards, so you may be better off writing a letter and paying the postage yourself.) If you have a legitimate complaint that isn't being addressed (not just a consumer out to see how much you can get out of the airline) and you have tried all of the avenues discussed above, send a letter to the airline by certified mail, return receipt requested. In this letter begin with a summary of the problem you encountered, the steps you took to try to seek compensation, the kind of compensation your were seeking, and the airline's response so far. Do not get into a long-winded story, and stick to the facts -- if your letter is longer than a page or so, it's too long. Be as businesslike as possible in this letter. (You should enclose with the letter photocopies of all your correspondence with the airline, and a copy of your long-winded detailed description of the events that transpired.) State that this is your final attempt to resolve the matter directly with the airline. Ask for a response by a given date, not earlier than one month in the future. This will make it clear that you are serious in pursuing your complaint. If you don't get a response, take the whole kit and kaboodle to your lawyer, and feed the vultures.
Subject: [4-5] Glossary Fly-by-wire aircraft Fly-by-wire aircraft use a computerized control system that decides how to best control surface movements, engine fuel-flow rates, and so on. There is no direct connection between the pilot and the flight control surfaces in this kind of setup. Instead, the pilot gives instructions to the computer which interprets them, hopefully correctly. The computer is able to update the settings hundreds of times per second, something human pilots can't do, and in theory results in a more efficient, smoother, and safer flight. Some more recent planes are even able to land themselves. The controversy with such planes concerns their failure modes. If the computer conks out for some reason, it may not be possible for the pilot to dead-stick the plane in for a landing, since some of the more efficient control surfaces must have their parameters updated very frequently to remain airborn. Also, some early fly-by-wire planes may have had programming bugs that caused unexpected behavior. Finally, the Airbus A320, a fly-by-wire aircraft, has been perceived as accident-prone, allegedly because of the fly-by-wire system, though this has never been proven. Currently the only fly-by-wire commercial airplanes are the Airbus A320 and A340, with the A319, A321, A330, the Boeing 777 and the Tupolev TU204 entering production shortly. Many military aircraft have been fly-by-wire for years. (For further discussion of fly-by-wire aircraft, see the extensive RISK archives on this topic.) "Glass-cockpit" aircraft Such aircraft are not fly-by-wire. They display several flight instruments on a CRT screen in the cockpit, and have an integrated flight management system (sophisticated autopilots) but still have a direct connection between the cockpit control column and the control surfaces. The MD-11 and some MD-80s are examples of glass-cockpit planes that aren't fly-by-wire. Overbooking The airline practice of selling more tickets than there are seats on the aircraft. Airlines like to fly full flights, the fuller the better. Since on any given flight there are likely to be one or two no-shows, the airlines tend to oversell the flight to compensate. If more people show up than there are seats, the airline will first ask for passengers to voluntarily give up their seats in exchange for an incentive of the airline's choosing (e.g., typically a free round trip ticket), and then if there aren't enough volunteers, the airline will involuntarily bump some of the passengers. DOT rules specify how the airlines must compensate involuntarily bumped passengers. Blackout Days during which a special fare does not apply. Usually days with heavy traffic, such as the day right before a holiday. DOT US Department of Transportation Codes Every scheduled airline has a two character code, and most also have a three-character code. For example, United Airlines is UA, USAir is US, and Southwest is WN. Most charter airlines have two- character codes, and some have three-character codes. Some airlines share their two-character codes, and some airlines have more than one code. Airports have three-character designations, with BOS for Boston, PIT for Pittsburgh, and EWR for Newark, among others. Code-sharing Some airlines have "code-sharing" agreements with other airlines, in which each airline may list flights on the other airline under their own "code". Thus, when consumers purchase tickets from an airline, the actual flight (or some segments of the flight) may be on an entirely different carrier. These agreements typically arise as special arrangements linking the routes of a US airline with a foreign carrier. For example, United Airlines and Lufthansa, USAir and British Airways, American Airlines and South Africa Airways, etc. Travel on code-share flights is eligible for frequent flyer miles on either airline. ARC Airline Reporting Company. A travel agency must be ARC approved before it can issue tickets. When a customer pays a travel agent for tickets, the travel agent sends the money to the ARC, which acts as a clearinghouse for the airlines.
Subject: [4-6] Other Sources of Information The best source of information is the US Department of Transportation. All carriers must file their fares with them for tariff purposes. A variety of companies publish rate guides based on the US Department of Transportation files. The subscription prices are a bit steep, but your library may have some. The Travelers' Tales Travel Resource Center provides travelers with current information on international news, weather, discounted air tickets, access to Internet travel newsgroups, currency rates and where and how to use credit cards, and much more. The Travel Resource Center was created by O'Reilly & Associates as an informational companion to their Travelers' Tales books. The Travel Resource Center is a free service, and can be accessed through the Global Network Navigators' Marketplace section. (To view GNN or the Travel Resource Center you must be able to support the WWW [World Wide Web] browser. The URL for the TRC is http://gnn.com/gnn/meta/travel/index.html) To obtain a free subscription to GNN, send an email message to: info@gnn.com. Additional information about this free service can be obtained by writing to Allen Noren <allen@ora.com>. The rec.travel Library is available by anonymous ftp from ftp.cc.umanitoba.ca:/rec-travel. A WWW server for the library is ftp://ftp.cc.umanitoba.ca/rec-travel/
Subject: [4-7] Further Reading Consumer Reports Travel Letter $39/yr, monthly Subcription Department Pox 51366 Boulder CO 80321-1366 800-234-1970 Backissues cost $5 and may be ordered from Consumers Reports, PO Box 53016, Boulder, CO 80322-3016. Best Fares Magazine: Covers air fares, hotels, car rentals, etc. Includes a TravelAmerica half-price hotel book and coupons for reduced airfares. Published monthly. Consumer Edition: $58/year Corporate Edition: $78/year (includes hidden cities in airfares) Best Fares, Inc. 1111 W. Arkansas Lane, Suite C, Arlington, TX 76013, or PO Box 171212, Arlington, TX 76003 800-635-3033 or 800-880-1234 or 817-261-6114 or 817-543-0538 Travel Unlimited: (World-wide courier flight information and travel tips.) $25/year, monthly Box 1058 Allston, MA 02134 Official Airline Guide, Pocket Edition: Includes a free subscription to their "Frequent Flyer" magazine. $82/year 1-800-323-3537 American Express Sky Guide: $45/year (12 issues) 1-800-678-6738 x111. Skyguide, PO Box 5146, Harlan, IA 51593-2646 Value-Season Traveler Newsletter of travel discounts and special promotions. Each issue also includes several helpful travel tips. $48/year (12 issues, 12-16 pages per issue). 40% off ($28) for readers of the FAQ. Sample issue available for $2 postage and handling. On the Go Publishing, PO Box 091033, Dept 1108B, Columbus, OH 43209 Email: hchodnof@freenet.columbus.oh.us Air Transport World: Magazine for the airline industry (not a frequent flyer guide). $50/year ATW Box 96732 Chicago, IL 96732 Citizens for Improved Air Travel PO Box 9200 Washington DC, 20077-7512 202-873-4209 [Lobbying group?, but newsletter has some articles of interest.] InsideFlyer $33/year ($55/2-years), 12 issues. Outside the US add $5/year. 800-333-5937 4715-C Town Center Drive Colorado Springs, CO 80916-4709 719-597-8880 (You can also subscribe by sending email to InsideFlyer@enews.com or calling 1-800-403-NEWS.) The Official Frequent Flyer Guidebook - 2nd Edition, 320 pages. Information about airline, credit card, hotel, and car rental programs. Published by AirPress (publisher of InsideFlyer) $14.99 plus $3 shipping in US ($5 in Canada/Mexico, $7.50 elsewhere) 1-800-487-8893 Some articles from InsideFlyer can be viewed at no charge on "The Electronic Newsstand, a service which collects articles, editorials, and table of contents from over 100 magazines and provides them to the Internet community. The Electronic Newsstand is accessible by Gopher at gopher://gopher.internet.com:2100/ The direct URL is gopher://gopher.enews.com:2100/11/travel/publications/flyer or by telnet to gopher.internet.com (userid "enews", no password). For more information, write to staff@enews.com. Michael Wm. McColl, "The Worldwide Guide to Cheap Airfares", 5th edition, Insider Publications, 1994. 256 pages, ISBN 0-9633512-1-4, $14.95. To order a copy, write to Insider Publications, 2124 Kittredge Street, 3rd Floor, Berkeley, CA 94704, call 510-276-1532, fax 510-276-1531, or send email to insider@sfnet.com. This book discusses courier travel, charter flights, and bucket shops, and includes extensive listings of courier travel agencies. "Going Places: The High School Student's Guide to Study, Travel, and Adventure Abroad", St. Martin's Press, $13.95. This book is compiled by the Council on International Educational Exchange, and gives information on more than 200 travel programs for students ages 12 to 18. The European Travel Commission's 1994 guide to planning a trip to Europe is available for free from European Planner/Dept. A, Box 1754, New York, NY 10185. For the "European Planning & Rail Guide", send $1 to BETS Planning Guide, Budget European Travel Service, 2557 Meade Court, Ann Arbor, MI 48105. For a free copy of "101 Tips for Adventure Travelers", call 1-800-873-5628, or write to 101 Tips, Overseas Adventure Travel, 349 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139. For a free copy of Northwest Airlines' Travel Tips booklet, call 1-800-358-3100. For a free copy of "Discover America: A Listing of State and Territorial Travel Offices of the United States", send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Discover America, c/o Travel Industry Association of America, Dept. A, 1133 21st Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036. It includes a comprehensive list of tourist offices and phone numbers. Many tourist offices will send you free maps and travel guides. Marcus L. Endicott, "The Electronic Traveler: Directory of Tourism Information Sources", 1994. 130 pages, spiral bound, $50 postpaid. Available from M. L. Endicott, P.O. Box 20837, Saint Simons Island, Georgia 31522-0437, USA. You can reach the author by email at mendicott@igc.apc.org. Forword by Steven K. Roberts (author of "Computing Across America"). Fairly comprehensive listing of online sources of travel information. Includes a list of numerous BBS systems in addition to the usual Internet sources of information. Also has descriptions of the offerings of the propietary online systems, computer reservation systems, and so on. If you like reading FAQs, it has the same feel as would a FAQ of online travel information sources.
Subject: [4-8] Phone Numbers Included in this FAQ If the toll free number is incorrect, do me a favor and call 1-800-555-1212 to get the correct 800 number, and send me email with the correction. 800 number information is also available from http://www.att.com Three or four of these numbers change every year. Note that toll free numbers are valid only within the USA (sometimes in Canada). 800 Information 800-555-1212 A-1 International Courier (Miami) 305-594-1184 AAdvantage (American) Frequent Flyer Miles 800-882-8880 ALM Antillean Airline Reservations 800-327-7230 AT&T Reward Program Frequent Flyer Miles (Phone) 800-7-REWARD AUSTRAVEL Consolidator 415-781-4329 AUSTRAVEL Consolidator 415-781-4358 fax AUSTRAVEL Consolidator 800-633-3404 Aer Lingus Reservations 800-223-6537 Aero California Reservations 800-258-3311 Aero Cancun Reservations 305-526-5341 Aero Costa Rica Reservations 800-237-6274 AeroMexico Reservations 800-237-6639 Aeroflot Reservations 800-995-5555 Aerolineas Argentinas Reservations 800-333-0276 Aeromar Reservations 800-950-0747 Aeroperu Reservations 800-255-7378 Aeroperu Reservations 800-327-7080 Air Afrique Reservations 800-456-9192 Air Aliance Reservations 800-869-9000 Air Alma Reservations 800-463-9660 Air Antillean Reservations 800-327-7230 Air Aruba Reservations 800-882-7822 Air Canada Frequent Flyer Miles 800-361-8253 Air Canada Reservations 800-776-3000 Air China Reservations 212-371-9898 Air Europa Reservations 212-888-7010 Air Facilities Courier (Miami) 305-477-8300 Air France Reservations 800-237-2747 Air Gaudeloupe Reservations 800-522-3394 Air India Reservations 800-223-2250 Air India Reservations 800-223-7776 Air Italia Reservations 88-228-5730 Air Jamaica Reservations 800-523-5585 Air Lanka Reservations 800-421-9898 Air Margarita Reservations 800-326-0339 Air Mauritius Reservations 800-537-1182 Air Metro Reservations 800-871-1000 Air Midwest Reservations 913-537-1305 Air Miles Program Frequent Flyer Miles 800-222-2AIR Air Nevada Reservations 702-736-8900 Air New Zealand Reservations 800-262-1234 Air New Zealand Reservations 800-262-2468 Air Niugini Reservations 714-752-5440 Air North America Reservations 838-792-4982 Air Pacific Reservations 800-417-2236 Air Panama Reservations 800-272-6262 Air Paraquay Reservations 800-677-7771 Air Peru Reservations 800-777-7717 Air Posta Reservations 305-871-3360 Air Trails Reservations 408-757-5144 Air UK Reservations 201-890-1796 Air Vantage Reservations 800-279-9383 Air Wisconsin Reservations 414-739-5123 AirHitch Consolidator 212-864-2000 AirPress InsideFlyer/FF Guidebook 800-487-8893 AirTech Consolidator 800-575-TECH Airbrokers Consolidator 415-397-4767 fax Airbrokers Consolidator 800-883-3273 Airfares for Less Bargain Travel Agency 800-AIR-FARE Airianka Reservations 800-421-9898 Airlines Antitrust 800-854-7264 Airways International Reservations 305-876-0170 Alaska Airlines Frequent Flyer Miles 800-654-5669 Alaska Airlines Reservations 602-921-3100 Alaska Airlines Reservations 800-426-0333 Alaska Island Air Reservations 907-772-4222 Alitalia Reservations 800-223-5730 All Nippon Airways Reservations 800-235-9262 Aloha Airlines Frequent Flyer Miles 800-486-7277 Aloha Airlines Reservations 800-367-5250 Am. Soc. of Travel Agts Complaints and Compliments 703-739-2782 AmEx Membership Miles Frequent Flyer Miles 800-AXP-MILE AmEx Sky Guide Newsletter 800-678-6738 x111 America West Frequent Flyer Miles 800-247-5691 America West Reservations 602-693-0737 America West Reservations 800-235-9292 America West Airlines Complaints and Compliments 800-247-5692 American Reservations 817-267-1151 American Reservations (Dom) 800-433-7300 American Reservations (Itl) 800-624-6262 American Reservations/Main 800-223-5436 American Airlines Complaints and Compliments 800-967-2000 American Airlines Flight Information 800-223-5436 American Express Student Travel Vouchers 800-582-4800 American Express Student Travel Vouchers 800-582-5823 American Trans Air Discount Airline 800-225-2995 American Trans Air Discount Airline 800-382-5892 American Trans Air Reservations 800-225-2995 Aspen Airways Reservations 303-320-4747 Austral Airlines Reservations 305-823-4368 Austrian Air Reservations 800-843-0002 Avensa-Venezuelan Reservations 800-283-6727 Avianca Reservations 800-284-2622 Aviateca Reservations 800-327-9832 Avis Car Rental (National Number) 800-331-1212 B A S Airlines Reservations 800-245-3248 BFI Mark Air Reservations 800-627-5247 BWIA International Reservations 800-327-7401 Bahamas Air Reservations 800-222-4262 Balair Reservations 800-322-5247 Bangladesh Biman Reservations 212-967-7930 Bank One Travel Card + Free Tickets 800-694-9596 Bank One Visa Customer Service 800-945-2023 Bankair Commuter Reservations 800-922-7814 Bar Harbor Reservations 207-941-6565 Bemidji Airlines Reservations 281-751-1880 Best Fares Magazine Newsletter 817-261-6114/543-0538 Best Travel Service Consolidator 713-777-4886 fax Best Travel Service Consolidator 713-777-4888 Best Travel Service Consolidator 800-800-4788 Big Sky Northwest Reservations 406-245-9449 Branson Airlines Reservations 800-422-4AIR British Airways Frequent Flyer Miles 800-955-2748 British Airways Reservations 800-AIR-WAYS (247-9297) British Midland Reservations 800-247-9297 Budget Car Rental (National Number) 800-527-0700 Buffalo Airways Reservations 817-752-6855 Bush Air Reservations 907-543-2424 Business Express Reservations 203-623-5168 CIEE International Student ID Card 800-438-2643 Canadian Frequent Flyer Miles 604-270-7587 Canadian Air Reservations 800-426-7000 Carnival Airlines Discount Airline 800-437-2110 Carnival Airlines Discount Airline 800-8-AIR-FUN Carnival Airlines Reservations 800-8-AIR-FUN Casino Express Reservations 702-738-6040 Cathay Pacific Reservations 415-982-3242 Cathay Pacific Airways Reservations 800-233-2742 Cayman Airways Reservations 800-422-9626 Center for Disease Ctrl It'l Health Info FaxBack Srvc 404-639-3311 Center for Disease Ctrl It'l Health Information 404-332-4559 Cheap Tickets Consolidator 800-377-1000 Chicago Express Reservations 800-264-3929 China Airlines Reservations 800-227-5118 China Estrn Airlines Reservations 213-384-2703 Citizens Consular Srvcs US State Department 202-647-3444 Citizens Emergency Ctr US State Department 202-647-5225 City Link Courier (LA) 213-410-9063 Compu$erve Online CRS 800-848-8199 Consumer Rpts Trvl Ltr Newsletter 800-234-1970 Continental Frequent Flyer Miles 713-952-1630 Continental Reservations 404-436-3300 Continental Reservations (Dom) 800-525-0280 Continental Reservations (Itl) 800-231-0856 Continental Airlines Complaints and Compliments 712-987-6500 Continental Express Reservations 207-941-6565 Copa Reservations 800-FLY-COPA Council Charter Consolidator 800-800-8222 Council Travel (CIEE) Student Travel Agency 800-800-8222 Courier Travel Service Courier (NY) 516-763-6898 Courier Travel Service Courier (NY) 718-244-0101 Courier Travel Service Courier (NY) 800-922-2359 Crossroads It'l Courier (LA) 213-643-8600 Delta Frequent Flyer Miles 800-323-2323 Delta Lost 'n Found 404-714-7101 Delta Reservations 404-765-5000 Delta Reservations 800-THE-WEST (843-9378) Delta Reservations (Dom) 800-221-1212 Delta Reservations (Itl) 800-241-4141 Delta Airlines Complaints and Compliments 404-765-2600 Delta Airlines Flight Information 800-DAL-1999 Discount Travel Itl Courier 212-362-8113 Dollar Car Rental (National Number) 800-421-6868 Dominicana Reservations 800-635-3560 Dominicana Airlines Reservations 800-327-7240 East-West Express Courier (NY) 516-561-2360 Eastern Express Reservations 207-941-6565 Ecuatoriana Reservations 800-328-2367 Egyptair Reservations 800-334-6787 El Al Israel Airlines Reservations 800-223-6700 Emirates Reservations 800-777-3999 Entertainment Books W/Discount Coupon (Continental) 800-445-4137 Entertainment Books W/Discount Coupon (Continental) 800-521-9640 Entertainment Books W/Discount Coupon (United) 800-513-6000 Ethiopian Reservations 212-867-0095 Euram Tours Consolidator 800-848-6789 FAA Complaints and Compliments 202-366-2220 Faucett Peru Reservations 800-334-3356 Federal Trade Comm. Telemarketing Travel Fraud 202-326-2222 Finn Air Reservations 800-950-5000 Finnair Reservations 800-950-5000 First Bank Visa Northwest Affinity Card 800-948-8300 Garuda Indonesia Reservations 800-342-7832 Gateway Express Courier (San Francisco) 415-344-7833 Global Access Consolidator 800-283-5333 Guide Books Guide to Courier Travel 800-344-9375 Gulf Air Reservations 800-438-4853 Halbart Courier (NY) 718-656-8189 Halbart Courier (NY) 718-656-8279 Halbart Courier (NY) 718-995-7019 Hawaiian Airlines Frequent Flyer Miles 800-367-7637 Hawaiian Airlines Reservations 800-367-5320 Hertz Car Rental (National Number) 800-654-3131 IBC Courier (NY) 718-262-8058 IBC Pacific Courier (LA) 310-607-0125 ISE $20 Rebate/Citibank 800-255-7000 Iberia Reservations 800-772-4642 Icelandair Reservations 800-223-5500 IntraTours Consolidator 713-952-0662 IntraTours Consolidator 713-952-2631 fax IntraTours Consolidator 800-334-8069 It'l Student Exchange Student Travel Agency 602-951-1177 It'l Student Exchange Student Travel Agency (Dom) 800-255-7000 It'l Student Exchange Student Travel Agency (Itl) 800-255-8000 Japan Air Lines Reservations 800-525-3663 Jet South Reservations 800-JET-SOUTH Jupiter Air Courier (LA) 310-670-5123 Jupiter Air Courier (NY) 718-341-2095 Jupiter Air Courier (NY) 718-656-6050 KLM Reservations 800-374-7747 KLM Reservations 800-777-5553 Kelly Monaghan Insider's Guide to Courier... 800-356-9315 Kenya Reservations 212-832-8810 Kiwi International Discount Airline 800-538-5494 Kiwi International Discount Airline 908-353-3232 Kiwi International Reservations 908-353-3232 Korean Air Reservations 800-421-8200 Korean Air Reservations 800-438-5000 Kuwait Reservations 800-4-KUWAIT LAB League of American Bicyclists 800-288-BIKE (= 2453) LACSA Reservations 800-225-2272 LOT Polish Reservations 800-223-0593 LTU Int Airways Reservations 800-888-0200 Ladeco Reservations 800-825-2332 Lan Chili Reservations 800-735-5526 Line Haul Services Courier (Miami) 305-477-0651 Lloyd Aero Bollviano Reservations 305-374-4600 Lufthansa Reservations 800-645-3880 MCI Long Distance FF Miles 800-755-2172 MGM Grand Air Reservations 800-933-2646 Malaysia Airlines Reservations 800-421-8641 Malev Hungarian Reservations 212-757-6480 Malev Hungarian Reservations 800-223-6884 Martinair Holland Reservations 800-366-4655 Mexicana Frequent Flyer 800-531-7901 Mexicana Reservations 800-531-7921 Middle East Reservations 800-664-7310 Midnight Express Courier (LA) 310-673-1100 Midway Airlines Discount Airline 800-446-4392 Midway Airlines Reservations 800-446-4392 Midway Airlines Reservations 800-621-5700 Midwest Express Frequent Flyer Miles 800-452-2022 Midwest Express Reservations 414-747-4769 Midwest Express Airlns Reservations 800-452-2022 Morris Air Reservations 801-483-6464 National Car Rental (National Number) 800-328-4567 National Airlines Discount Airline 800-949-9400 Nigeria Reservations 212-935-2700 Nippon Travel Consolidator 800-662-6236 Northwest Airlines Travel Tips Booklet 800-358-3100 Northwest Airlines Cargo Service 800-692-2746 Northwest Airlines Complaints and Compliments 612-726-2046 Northwest Airlines Flight Information 800-225-2525 Northwest Airlines Flight Information 800-441-1818 Northwest Airlines Frequent Flyer Miles 800-447-3757 Northwest Airlines Frequent Flyer Miles 800-327-2881 Northwest Airlines Frequent Flyer Miles 800-435-9696 (old) Northwest Airlines Packages 800-727-1400 Northwest Airlines Reservations 612-726-1234 Northwest Airlines Reservations (Asian Language) 800-692-2345 Northwest Airlines Reservations (Dom) 800-225-2525 Northwest Airlines Reservations (French Language) 800-345-7458 Northwest Airlines Reservations (German Language) 800-345-7414 Northwest Airlines Reservations (Itl) 800-447-4747 Northwest Airlines Reservations (Spanish Language) 800-345-7411 Northwest Airlines TDD/TT Number 800-328-2298 Northwest Airlines VIP Same-Day Package Service 800-638-7337 Now Voyager, Inc. Courier (NY) 212-431-1616 Ntnl Fraud Info Center Suspicious Travel Offers 800-876-7060 OAG FlightCall Flight Information 900-786-8686 OAG Flightdisk Flight Information 708-574-6565 fax OAG Flightdisk Flight Information 800-323-3537 OAG Internet Flight Information Starter Kit 800-323-4000 OAG Pocket Flight Guide Flight Information 800-DIAL-OAG (342-5624) Olympic Airways Reservations 800-223-1226 Overseas Tours Consolidator 800-878-8718 Overseas Travel Advntr Free Tips 800-873-5628 Pacific Coast Air Reservations 800-426-5400 Passenger's Choice Consolidator 800-666-1026 Passport Services US State Department 202-647-0518 Philippine Airlines Reservations 800-IFLY-PAL (435-9725) Polish Air-Lot Reservations 800-223-0593 Polynesian Reservations 800-592-7100 Price Club Travel Commission Rebater 800-800-8505 Private Jet Reservations 800-546-7571 Prodigy Online CRS 800-822-6922 Qantas Airways Reservations 800-227-4500 Reno Air Discount Airline 800-736-6247 Royal Air Maroc Reservations 212-750-6071 Royal Jordanian Reservations 800-223-0470 Royal Tonga Reservations 800-486-6426 SAS Scandinavian Air Reservations 800-221-2350 SKY BUS Reservations 800-755-9287 STA Travel Consolidator 800-777-0112 Sabena Reservations 800-955-2000 Sabena World Reservations 800-950-1000 Saudia Arabian Airlines Reservations 800-472-8342 Silk Air Reservations 800-745-5247 Singapore Airlines Reservations 800-742-3333 South African Reservations 800-722-9675 Southwest Reservations 800-531-5601 Southwest Reservations 800-IFLY-SWA (435-9792) Southwest Reservations (TDD) 800-533-1305 Southwest Airlines Complaints and Compliments 214-904-4000 Sunline Express Holidays Consolidator 800-786-5463 Swissair Reservations 800-221-4750 TAP Air Portugal Reservations 800-221-7370 TNT Chicago (?) Courier (Chicago) 312-453-7300 TNT San Fransisco Courier (San Francisco) 415-692-9600 TWA Complaints and Compliments 914-242-3172 TWA Frequent Flyer Miles 800-221-2000 TWA Frequent Flyer Miles 800-325-4815 TWA Reservations 404-522-5738 TWA Reservations (Dom) 800-221-2000 TWA Reservations (Itl) 800-892-4141 Taca Reservations 800-535-8780 Tan Sasha Honduras Reservations 800-327-1225 Thai Airways Reservations 800-426-5204 Tower Air Discount Airline 800-221-2500 Tower Air Discount Airline 800-34-TOWER (348-6937) Tower Air Reservations 800-348-6937 Travac Consolidator 407-896-0046 fax Travac Consolidator 800-872-8800 Travel Avenue Commission Rebater 800-333-3335 Travel Bargains Bargain Travel Agency 800-872-8385 Trvl Industry of Am. Anon Tips about Crimes 800-474-8477 US Dept of Trans. Airline Performance Statistics 202-366-2220 US Dept of Transprttn Travel Advisory Number 800-221-0673 US State Department General Information 202-647-4000/5225 USAir Complaints and Compliments 703-892-7020 USAir Frequent Flyer Miles (itl awrd) 800-442-2784 USAir Frequent Flyer Miles (srvc ctr) 800-872-4738 USAir Reservations 412-922-7500 USAir Reservations (Dom) 800-428-4322 USAir Reservations (Itl) 800-622-1015 USAir Flight Info Flight Information 800-943-5436 UniTravel, St. Louis Consolidator 314-569-2503 fax UniTravel, St. Louis Consolidator 800-325-2222 United Flight Information 800-824-6200 United Frequent Flyer Miles 800-421-4655 United Reservations 312-825-2525 United Reservations (Dom) 800-241-6522 United Reservations (Itl) 800-538-2929 United Airlines Complaints and Compliments 312-952-7843 ValuJet Discount Airline 404-994-8258 ValuJet Discount Airline 800-825-8538 Value Jet Reservations 800-825-8538 Varig Reservations 800-468-2744 Viasa Reservations 800-468-4272 Virgin Atlantic Reservations 800-862-8621 Visa Services US State Department 202-663-1225 World Courier Courier (NY) 718-978-9400 YTA Freniva Reservations 800-382-4484 Yugoslav Reservations 800-752-6528
Subject: [4-9] IRS Rules Change A recent IRS ruling allows companies to deduct the cost of lodging and meals as a business expense when an employee stays over a Saturday night in order to get a cheaper airfare, even if no business is conducted on that day. The company does not have to report the room and meals expenses as income to the employee. As of January 1, 1994, the deduction for business meals and entertainment goes down to 50% (from 80%). Business lodging continues to be 100% deductible. This is why many corporate travelers are now booking "Concierge Level" rooms, which include complimentary breakfast and hors d'oevers. Since these rooms are 100% deductible, the higher room rate is offset by the savings vis a vis the IRS 50% meal and entertainment deduction.
Subject: [4-10] Airline Antitrust Litigation The AirScrip certificates should have been mailed between December 15 and 31, 1994. The deadline for claims was June 1, 1993 (postmark). If you have not received your certificates, or have any other questions, write to Airline Antitrust Administration, PO Box 66, National Park, NJ 08063-0066. Please do not call the court. (If you didn't submit a claim by the deadline, it's too late. Over 4.3 million people filed claims successfully.) Class A claimants (1 trip) will get a booklet with $73 in coupons -- one $25, four $10, and one $8. Class B claimants (5+ trips) will get a booklet with $79 in coupons -- two $25, two $10, and one $9. Class C claimants (itemized trips) will get booklets of $25 coupons. The coupons have blackout dates around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. At first glance the booklet will appear to have twice as many certificates. Don't get confused -- the bottom certificate of each pair is to be used to get a replacement AirScrip certificate if you should get a refund of a ticket purchased using a certificate. [In a separate 18-OCT-94 settlement with state and local governments, the airlines have agreed to give government employees traveling on official business a 10% discount. This discount will provide up to a maximum of $40 million in discounts during the 18 month period after the settlement takes effect. Affected airlines include Alaska Air, American, Continental, Delta, Northwest, TWA, United, and USAir. The original antitrust settlement with consumers did not include state and local governments.] Vouchers are valid for three years and are effectively good for a 10% discount on the price of round-trip tickets. You can redeem them through your travel agent; you don't have to purchase the tickets directly from the airline. Tickets purchased using the vouchers are good for one year from the date of purchase. Vouchers may not be combined with any other special offer. Only you and your immediate family may use the vouchers unless you designate a different recipient when filing your claim. Vouchers may be used only for purchasing round trip tickets for travel within the continental US (Hawaii and Alaska are excluded, except for residents of those states). There are blackout dates around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years during which the vouchers may not be used. Tickets purchased using the vouchers will receive frequent flyer miles. [Note: The above is a very rough summary of the details of the voucher program. The rest of this section is from the original FAQ entry, and may not necessarily apply.] If you flew on American, Continental, Delta, Midway, Northwest, Pan Am, TWA, United, or USAir (US domestic flights only) between January 1, 1988, and June 30, 1992 from one of the following airports Atlanta Baltimore Boston Charlotte Chicago (O'Hare) Chicago (Midway) Cincinnati Cleveland Dallas/FW Dayton Denver Detroit Houston (IAH) Indianapolis Kansas City Los Angeles Memphis Miami Mpls/St Pl Nashville Newark New York (JFK) New York (LGA) Orlando FL Philadelphia Pittsburgh Raleigh/Durham St. Louis Salt Lake City San Francisco San Jose Syracuse Washington (National) Washington (Dulles) you are probably eligible for part of the $364 million antitrust settlement. This settlement is in response to a suit charging that they conspired to fix prices through a computerized reservation system. If you write to Airline Antitrust Litigation P.O. Box 209 Philadelphia, PA 19107-9711 they will send you a claim form and instructions. You can also call them at 1-800-854-7264. (An alternate address is PO Box 267, Pennsauken, NJ 08110.) If you've taken at least one eligible trip, you will get a $100 voucher good for travel on either Northwest Airlines only, or on the other airlines (the restrictions on the vouchers differ, see below). You choose which kind of vouchers you prefer, subject to availability. If you've taken at least 5 round trips or 10 one-way trips (or some combination), you will receive $250 in vouchers. If you've taken more flights, you can file additional documentation with your claim, and receive vouchers for 10% of the actual amount spent. This is a gross oversimplification of the terms of the settlement. If more than 2,689,840 claim forms are submitted, the base $100 amount will be reduced. If the total payout exceeds $364 million, the program ends. Certificates may be used only as partial payment toward a ticket; they may not exceed the price of the ticket.
Subject: [4-11] Miscellaneous Notes The largest travel agency in the US is American Express. They bought Thomas Cook Travel in September 1994, making them larger than Carlson Travel Network. Keep in mind that travel agents, ticket agents, and gate attendants are people, and if you're nice to them, they may be able to bend the rules. Be honest and tell them what you're trying to do, and they will often be nice to you in turn. The same thing goes with airport staff and flight attendants -- ask for help, don't demand it. For travel within the US, you might want to get the LDDS-Metromedia calling card provided by the American Travel Network and Hospitality Services Group. LDDS-Metromedia is the 4th largest long telephone distance company in the US. The LDDS-Metromedia card charges a flat rate of 17.5 cents per minute for interstate calls with no surcharge, regardless of the time of day. Most other calling cards add a surcharge to the first minute and charge higher rates at peak times during the day. The Metromedia card is free, has no monthly minimums, billing fees, or other hidden costs. In-state rates are higher, as are international calls, but those rates are still competitive. You do not need to change your home or business carrier to get the card. For more information, call 1-800-477-9692, fax 1-716-886-6569, or send email to hsg@ypn.com. Unpaid reservations are often cancelled by the airline 24 or 48 hours in advance of the flight, just after midnight. So if you want to book a flight that is already full (e.g., changing your return flight in the middle of the holiday season, getting a reservation for your frequent flyer ticket), try calling the airline reservation number at 12:30 am. Note that the time zone matters here -- you have to call after midnight in *their* time zone. This trick won't always work, since the flight in question might have no cancellations. If it works, you'll have to pay for the ticket by credit card, or, if trying to change your flight, have all the flight information in front of you (including your ticket) and pay for the change by credit card. After midnight is also the best time to get the seat assignments you prefer. When giving your name to your travel agent, be sure to spell it the same way as on you passport. Many airline reservation systems don't allow name changes on a reservation, so if you don't get it right the first time, the agent may be forced to cancel and reissue the reservation. If space on that flight is tight, they may not be able to reissue the reservation under a different name. (Airlines do this to prevent agents from using dummy names to lock in reservations for cheap fares and changing the names later when they have a real person to sell the ticket to.) For US domestic flights this isn't as much of a problem, but when traveling overseas, they like the name on the ticket to match the name on the passport. Non-refundable, non-changeable, non-transferable tickets are the default; you might have to pay more to have a transferable ticket. But then you might be able to sell half your ticket, and thereby recoup some of your costs. (This only works on US domestic flights, where you don't need to show a passport.) As a general rule, ALWAYS check your tickets upon receipt. If there's an error and you don't point this out promptly, you may be stuck with it. On the other hand, if the error isn't yours, and you paid for the tickets by credit card, you can usually contest the charge through your bank. Record a list of your credit card numbers and the toll-free bank telephone numbers, and keep it in a safe place at home. This will help you if your cards are lost or stolen during your trip. You should also carry a copy with you (to let you notify the banks as soon as you find the cards are missing), but don't keep it in the same wallet as your credit cards. Confirm your flights one or two days before departure. It is also wise to call the day of your flight to verify the departure time -- you don't want to arrive at the airport only to discover that the departure was moved up by an hour. Arrive at the airport at least an hour before departure for domestic flights, two hours for international and charter flights. Keep receipts for any items you purchase while abroad. If you bring foreign-made valuables with you on a trip abroad (e.g., jewelry, photographic equipment, etc.), bring photocopies of the receipts or other proof of ownership with you. You don't want to have to pay a duty on stuff you brought with you. If your flight is delayed, call your hotel to let them know you'll be late so that they'll hold the room for you. Bargain seats are almost always limited, so start looking early and be flexible with your times and dates. January, February, September and October are the slack travel months; ticket prices will be cheapest around then. Because of the way airlines price tickets, it is sometimes cheaper to buy a ticket from point A to point C making a mid-trip stop in point B (i.e., two tickets A-to-B and B-to-C) than it is to buy a ticket direct from point A to point B. Note, however, that if you do this your luggage should be carryons, since the airline usually checks the luggage direct to the ultimate destination. Also, some airlines will cancel your entire ticket if you skip one leg of the trip. (For instance, if you discard the B-to-C part of a round-trip ticket from A to C through B, you may find the tickets for your return flight cancelled by the airline.) Reconfirm your flights 2 days (48 hours) in advance for US domestic trips, 3 days in advance for international travel. Flight schedules are subject to change without notice, and you don't want to get caught 15 minutes for a flight that was moved up by half an hour. I've found USAir to be very good about calling me to let me know about schedule changes on tickets bought through their Ticket By Mail program. Some non-refundable tickets can be changed by paying a fee, typically $35. But you cannot change the departure, only the return flight. The change must also conform to the rules under which the ticket was purchased, or you'll have to pay the difference in fares. Changes are also limited to the same class of service as originally purchased. Many gold cards (Visa, Mastercard, Discover) automatically provide some form of insurance. Check if your homeowner's or renter's insurance covers your belongings even when they aren't at home. Make sure you're covered in case of loss or theft while traveling. When talking to customs and immigration officials, answer all questions directly and do not volunteer information. Have all your travel documents ready before they ask for them. Keep receipts for any purchases in an accessible location in case they ask for them. Be sure to be clean and neat; an untidy appearance will arouse suspicion. If VAT (Value Added Tax) was added to your bill, ask the vendor for a refund application. You may be able to avoid the VAT by having the items shipped home. Address the package yourself, and ask for a shipping receipt (bill of lading). In addition to attaching a luggage tag to the outside of your luggage, tape your name and address to the inside of the luggage. You may want to tie a brightly colored piece of string or tape to the handle, to make it easier to identify your bag. But remember, others may have the same idea, so always check your tags to make sure you have the correct bag. Most airlines have a rule requiring you to show up AT THE GATE 15 or 20 minutes before flight time, or they will release your seat. That's 20 minutes according to the watch of the gate agent -- give yourself 10 minutes to spare. If you have your ticket and you're late (e.g., 30 minutes or less to flight time, and there are long lines at the main ticket counter), go directly to the gate. Baggage can always be checked at the gate. But if your ticket needs changes or has to be picked up, you can't go directly to the gate. If your flight is leaving very soon and there's a long line, ask the people ahead of you if you can cut in front of them (explaining why). Most people will let you. Airports notorious for heavy traffic and air-traffic-control snafus: Hartsfield Airport in Atlanta, Logan Airport in Boston, O'Hare in Chicago, Stapleton in Denver, JFK in New York, and San Francisco International. All are also among the busiest airports in terms of passenger traffic. Other busiest airports include Dallas Fort Worth, London Heathrow, Los Angeles, Atlanta Hartsfield, Tokyo Haneda, Frankfurt Main, Miami, Paris CDG, Newark, Hong Kong, and Detroit Metro. Among the busiest routes in the US (and hence the most competitive) are: New York to Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Ft. Lauderdale, Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, San Francisco, San Juan, and Washington; Los Angeles to Honolulu, Las Vegas, Oakland, Phoenix, and San Francisco; Chicago to Detroit; Boston to Washington; and Dallas Fort Worth to Houston. The busiest international routes out of the US are: New York to London and Toronto, and Chicago to Toronto. If you don't like delays, fly earlier in the day. A flight that leaves early in the morning (before 8 am) often uses an airplane that was at the airport the previous night, and so is already prepped and ready to go. A flight that leaves in the afternoon uses an airplane that started its day in another city, and hence is more likely to suffer from delays (especially if it was delayed on one of its previous flight segments). Reward for Crime Tips: The Travel Industry Association of America and Crime Stoppers International will pay cash rewards of up to $1,000 for anonymous tips about crimes against travelers (including US and foreign citizens on business and pleasure trips). To make a report, call 1-800-474-8477. If there's a promotion on airline A, you prefer to fly on airline B (e.g., you're a frequent flyer on airline B), but airline B doesn't have a similar promotion, you might be able to negotiate with airline B. Try calling up airline B, state the terms of airline A's offer, and say that if they match it, you'll buy the tickets right then and there, otherwise you're going with airline A. This will sometimes work quite well. Car Rental Agencies, National Numbers: Avis 800-331-1212 Budget 800-527-0700 Dollar 800-421-6868 Hertz 800-654-3131 National 800-328-4567
Subject: [4-12] World-Wide Web (WWW) Resources The World Wide Web (WWW) is a hypermedia document that spans the Internet. It uses the http (HyperText Transfer Protocol) for the light-weight exchange of files over the Internet. NCSA Mosaic is a World Wide Web browser developed at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). Mosaic's popularity derives, in part, from its ability to communicate using more traditional Internet protocols like FTP, Gopher, WAIS, and NNTP, in addition to http. Mosaic can display text, hypertext links, and inlined graphics directly. When Mosaic encounters a file type it can't handle internally, such as Postscript documents, mpeg movies, sound files, and JPEG images, it uses an external viewer (or player) like Ghostscript to handle the file. Mosaic also includes facilities for exploring the Internet. In other words, Mosaic is an multimedia interface to the Internet. The hypertext documents viewed with Mosaic are written in HTML (HyperText Markup Language), which is a subset of SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language). All that is needed is just a few more improvements, such as the ability to format tables and mathematics, and a WYSIWYG editor, for HTML to greatly facilitate electronic journals and other publications. NCSA Mosaic for the X Window System is available by anonymous ftp from ftp.ncsa.uiuc.edu:/Mosaic/ as source code and binaries for Sun, SGI, IBM RS/6000, DEC Alpha OSF/1, DEC Ultrix, and HP-UX. Questions about NCSA Mosaic should be directed to mosaic-x@ncsa.uiuc.edu (X-Windows version), mosaic-mac@ncsa.uiuc.edu (Macintosh), and mosaic-win@ncsa.uiuc.edu (Microsoft Windows). If you do not have a WWW client like Mosaic, you can search the WWW by telnet to info.cern.ch. There is also an email interface; to use it, send mail to listproc@www-0.cern.ch, and use lines like www http://www.cs.cmu.edu:8001/Web/Groups/AI/html/faqs/top.html to retrieve the text of a particular URL (in this case, the AI FAQs page). Rather than list all the URLs below, we've set up an "Air Traveler's Handbook" Web page at the URL http://www.cs.cmu.edu/afs/cs/user/mkant/Public/Travel/airfare.html to contain annotated references to all these links. In the process, we've substantially increased the number of links. Please send suggestions for additional links to mkant@cs.cmu.edu. ---------------------------------------------------------------- ;;; *EOF*

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