BBB Travel Tips to Ensure a Safe and Timely Flight

May 16, 2011

With summer just around the corner, many consumers are beginning to plan their vacation getaway. While dreaming of island sun, many travelers fail to factor in the uncertainties that come with flying, such as unpredictable weather patterns, aviation system issues, maintenance or crew problems into their travel plans. BBB, along with the U.S. Department of Transportation, is advising vacationers to plan ahead when traveling this summer to ensure safety and timeliness.

To avoid troubles in the sky, it’s important for travelers to be aware of their flight options. With the burden and chaos that can come from a delayed or cancelled flight, it’s important for travelers to plan ahead and know their options.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) advises consumers to be proactive when it comes to planning a getaway trip. According to Bureau of Transportation’s 2011 Statistics, 25.5 percent of all flights were reported to be not on time.

BBB and the U.S. Department of Transportation advise travelers to do the following when booking and securing their flights this summer:

The early bird gets the flight. When booking your flight, remember that a departure early in the day is less likely to be delayed than a later flight, due in part to the “ripple” effects of delays throughout the day. Also, if an early flight does get delayed or canceled, you may have more rerouting options. If you book the last flight of the day and it is canceled, you could get stuck overnight.

Know your rights with a canceled flight. If your flight is canceled, most airlines will rebook you on their next flight to your destination on which space is available, at no additional charge. If this involves a significant delay, find out if another carrier has seats and ask the first airline to endorse your ticket to that carrier. Unfortunately, compensation is required by law only when you are “bumped” from a flight that is oversold. Airlines almost always refuse to pay passengers for financial losses resulting from a delayed flight.

Secure your payment. Consider paying by credit card, which provides certain protections under Federal credit regulations. For example, in all recent airline bankruptcies passengers who had charged their fare and were not provided service were able to have their credit card company credit their account for the amount of the fare.

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Kelvin Collins is president/CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central Georgia & the CSRA, Inc. serving 41 counties in Central Georgia and the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA). This tips column is provided through the local BBB and the Council of Better Business Bureaus. Questions or complaints about a specific company or charity should be referred directly to the BBB at Phone: 1-800-763-4222, Web site: or E-mail: or