Airline Passenger Rights
When something goes wrong on a trip, the first question many flyers ask is, "What are my rights?" The short answer is fairly simple: The U.S. and the European Economic Community (EEC) have established some very specific rights for air travelers. In addition, contracts of carriage between passengers and carriers establish some promised rights, but those heavily one-sided contracts seldom call for any specific compensation or enforcement teeth in the event the carrier fails to meet its "promises." Either way, it's important for passengers to know their rights when faced with air-travel snafus, from delayed flights to overbooked planes. Here's a primer on basic air-passenger rights in the U.S. and Europe.
AirportsThe links to local-area airports should be helpful for finding the details on parking.
Off-Airport ParkingMore affordable parking is often available using the Park and Fly programs at area hotels (typically $30-40 a week, including RT shuttle to the airport).
- The Crystal City DoubleTree Hotel at 300 Army Navy Drive in Arlington offers parking for about $5.00 a day plus tax, including a free shuttle to and from Washington Reagan National Airport with their Snag A Space program. You need to make reservations in advance.
AirlinesThe airlines' baggage policies for ski equipment continue to evolve. The links below should provide definitive guidance for the airlines we're using this winter. A quick read of the various policies seems to indicate that the airlines are getting more restrictive as to what they allow for ski equipment.
- The Transportation Security Administration website offers a number of useful tools for traveling during turbulent times. The Prohibited Items link provides a current summary of the items you will not be able to carry onto the plane. You should check back often, as restrictions are expected to evolve over time. The Frequently Asked Questions section provides several useful categories that should help clear up the misinformation that tends to circulate, both online and offline. Another section provides the expected security checkpoint wait times based on the airport, day of week, and time of travel.
- The TSA's Secure Flight Program requires that travelers' dates of birth, gender and full names (i.e., including full middle names, or middle initials - exactly as shown on the photo ID that the traveler will be using at the airport) be provided to the airlines when travel is booked. The Q&A on the TSA website suggest some flexibility exists at the airport security checkpoints. Your Member Profile includes all the information needed to satisfy these requirements.
Secure Flight is a behind-the-scenes process that TSA and airlines collaborate on to compare the information you provide against government watch lists. The additional data elements that you may be asked to provide, such as date of birth and gender, serve to better differentiate you from individuals on the government watch list. Secure Flight will not impact the security checkpoint experience. While Secure Flight and travel document checking are both critical security functions, they serve different purposes at different points in the security process.
- Travel to Canada - A passport has been required for all air travel between the US and Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean region since 2007. You can no longer use a birth certificate and photo ID.
Other Travel Resources
- XE Currency Converter
- Cheap Flights - Canada - "A leading Canadian travel search engine, Cheapflights publishes one of the largest selections of airfare and hotel deals available online from a huge range of flight and hotel providers." Might be a good resource for our Canadian members.