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The most popular questions abour airline transportation.

Updated on February 18, 2013
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1. I bought a ticket but now I can not go. May an other person use it?

It depends on several things. If it is a charter flight, most likely you can pay some penalty and change the name in your ticket. Some budget airlines can offer you change of name against payment of penalty. But if you travel by a regular flight, the answer is most likely – no, it is not possible.

2. I bought a ticket NYC-Minneapolis – NYC. Alas I did not use the first coupon of a ticket and want to use it just for a return flight. Is it possible?

No, in most cases it is not possible. Many airlines have a strict rule that the coupons should be used sequentially; otherwise the ticket has no value. Alas, it is true. Moreover, if you fail to warn the airline about your no-show on the outbound trip, airline most likely will cancel the whole itinerary with remark that there was a no-show on the 1st segment.

With budget airlines or discounted airlines situation is often different. They do not sell you a round trip ticket. Their round trip ticket formally consists of two one way fares and your no-show on the first segment will not cause cancellation of the whole itinerary.

3. My name is written not correctly. What should I do?

Do not panic. It is not a big problem if it is just 1-2 letters. Usually you will have to wait till all passengers will pass check in, airline personnel checks if a passenger with a wrong spelling did not show up and only after that they will check you in. But watch the fist letter of a family name! Numerous airlines will not let you onboard with a wrong first letter, unless you pay penalty and exchange the ticket.

Even 1 wrong letter can be a problem if you fly to the USA. All information about passengers is checked by US immigration prior to their landing in the country and even a single wrong letter may cause penalty for ticket reissue. So the name MUST be written correctly in this case.

Anyway, if you have a ticket and noticed wrong spelling of the name, call airline first and consult what to do. Do not leave it till arrival to the airport.

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4. May I take an animal onboard?

In most cases, for most regular airlines – yes, you can. But you should consult airline beforehand and warn them that you want to take a dog/cat. Some airlines do not allow it; others have a limit of pets taken into a cabin. If you do not arrange it in advance with the airline, you may be denied to board the aircraft with that pet. Be aware, that you have to pay extra charge, often pretty much, for carrying pet on board.

If you are not limited financially, there is an other option – to make a direct agreement with an airline to carry pet onboard. I know a passenger who loves his dog so much that made an agreement with KLM and buys that dog an extra seat. Of course no questions asked in this case.

5. I am late, what should I do?

If you see that you are late and will not come to the airport in time, call the airline, or ticket sales agent. You loose less if you cancel your reservation before check-in starts. Of course it varies from one airline to an other, but it is better to cancel reservation than to have a no-show. No-show tickets in most cases are not refunded, and not reissued.

I fly with connection in ABC city. What is the minimum connection time?

Actually it should not bother you :) Each airline set their own connection time depending on the destination and the airport. This information is set in a system. So when you choose a flight you will be offered only the flights with a necessary connection time. But if you have a possibility to choose, I would advice to choose flight with a bigger connection time. Even if you land in time and manage to get the next flight, your baggage may be lost. Or, better to say, personnel will not be able to transfer it to an other aircraft in a limited time.

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7. My connection flight was late and I missed the next flight. Who has to pay for ticket reissue?

It depends.

Situation A: You bought a trip Des Moines – Chicago – NYC and have 2 separate tickets Des Moines – Chicago and Chicago – New York. It means that an airline on the second part of your trip is NOT responsible for delays from DSM to CHI. You get in trouble in this case and have to pay all fees connected with ticket CHI – NYC reissue yourself.

Situation B: Your trip DSM-CHI- NYC is issued in one ticket. In this case all delays will be handled by the airline and it will arrange you meals and accommodation if necessary in case of flight delay or cancellation. They will also reissue your tickets and offer you an other route if necessary.

8. May I order a special meal?

Most airlines offer this service. Special meals mean: baby meal, vegetarian meal, sea food meal etc., but you should ask the airline about it at least 24 hours before departure. Otherwise the airline will not have time enough to provide it.

9. I lost my luggage. What to do?

Come to the office of airline in the airport to report it. They will advice you a special service in the airport which deals with a lost airline baggage. In most cases it happens with connection flights. Do not worry too much. As a rule the luggage is not lost. It is delayed and will be delivered to your address in a couple of days. That is why it is important to buy some luggage tags, fill them up noting your address and phone number and to attach them to your bags.

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10. Shall I be compensated for a lost luggage?

If you choose a well-known airline, most likely they will pay you out some amount of money for a lost baggage. But do not hope to become rich on that money. Usually the amount may vary around 200 USD, not more. Besides you spend pretty much time and efforts. If you have valuable things in your bags, it will be better to ensure it.

11. My flight was cancelled. What to do?

In the event of cancellation all airlines offer several options. You can get all the money back or the airline can offer you to change your ticket to an other flight, at other date, or time.

In a case of flight cancellation consult airline first of all. Cancellation of a flight happens sometimes, but if the airline is serious they will always offer you an other connection or an other flight to minimize your problems.

12. Do I need visa to go to the necessary country?

It is such a painful question for most of the countries. Even if you are an American citizen you may get into trouble trying to enter Russia or Belorus without the visa. Mind, it is totally your responsibility to check if you need a visa for a trip or not. In some cases visa regulations are so complicated than only the embassy of a relevant country can give you a proper advice. For example if you buy tickets Los Angeles - Moscow - Kiev with a transfer from terminal D to F - it is OK and you have no problems with the US passport. But if you have a transit from terminal D to C - you are in trouble and will not be allowed to transit.

An other example – transfer via USA to any destination in Latin, Central America or Canada. No matter how short the transfer is – for citizens of most countries transit USA visa is necessary! By the way the same is with Australia.

13. I saw an ad offering fright from city ABC to XYZ for 9,99 USD. Why you do not sell me this ticket?

If any airline makes any special prices and you see advertizing: “Fly with “Miami North Pole United” airline just for 9.99 usd“ it does not mean that you come to an agency and buy ticket at this price. First you have to check what is written in small letters. Most likely it does not include airport taxes and other fees. These fees may be so big and make 30-40% of a normal price of a ticket. An other thing to remember – if such price exist it does not mean that all tickets will be sold at 9.99. Most likely the airline sells 5-10 seats at the aircraft at this special price while all other seats will be sold at a regular price. The trick with “Low prices” is done to attract your attention and you get this price only if you will be a little bit lucky and if terms of your trip are flexible enough to shift some days back or ahead of the planned date.

14. Where is my seat number in a ticket?

You will not know your seat number until you pass check-in. Nowadays you may have check in in advance via internet. It is convenient BUT once you made the check – in you WILL NOT BE ABLE TO CHANGE YOUR FLIGHT if necessary.

15. Can children travel without parents?

Yes, they can but exact rules and age depend on the airline. Most of companies accept children without adults from the age of 5 years till 16. Consult the airline first because most likely you will have to pay “unaccompanied minor fee”. It may vary depending on the destination and airline starting from 50 USD.

P.S.

Do you have questions connected with travelling by air? Shoot them! I will try to answer.

Nota Bene

Check the validity of your passport. Many countries demand that passport and/or passport replacing documents must be valid at least six months beyond the period of the intended stay.

If you go abroad check the necessity of vaccination.

It is better not to carry food with you, especially those made of meat. Some countries like Australia have very strict rules and prohibit any food to be broght to the country.

Get insured! Insurance can help a lot even if you have a simple flu. It is significantly cheaper to buy insurance than to pay local doctors if anything happens.

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    • Pavlo Badovskyy profile image
      Author

      Pavlo Badovskyi 4 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

      glad you liked it! You are always welcome to read my hubs:)

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 4 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      When I travelled for business, our team shared a list of phone numbers to call when searching for other flights. It was a life saver when faced with a cancellation.

      Great questions - excellent answers! So glad you found me - I will return again!

    • Pavlo Badovskyy profile image
      Author

      Pavlo Badovskyi 5 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

      Thank you for a comment!

    • tipstoretireearly profile image

      tipstoretireearly 5 years ago from New York

      Interesting tips from an airline insider. Thanks.

    • Pavlo Badovskyy profile image
      Author

      Pavlo Badovskyi 5 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

      WHY they do is not a question TO ME. :) my job is to deal with angry clients.

      Yes, children under 2 can travel on your laps both domestic and internationally unless you have 2 infants with one adult. In this case one on laps, and other on separate seat.

      Thank you for a comment!

    • aethelthryth profile image

      aethelthryth 5 years ago from American Southwest

      Very helpful article as far as WHAT happens, now how about another article on WHY airlines do these things? Not that it makes any real difference when stuck in one of these situations, but it is nice for peace of mind to know there is some sort of sense behind these rules. (It helped me to find out there is a good reason - at least a good business reason - why airlines overbook, and sell tickets at unpredictable prices.)

      Also, I would be interested to know whether you can still fly internationally with a child under 2 on your lap.

    • Pavlo Badovskyy profile image
      Author

      Pavlo Badovskyi 5 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

      Why, just buy first class ticket and enjoy every cent of you flight! LOL. Revalidation - free, refund without any loss. Iist a little bit expensive...

    • UnnamedHarald profile image

      David Hunt 5 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      You're very knowledgable on this subject-- you must travel a lot. I have come to detest flying. In May, we flew from Cedar Rapids, Iowa to Fairbanks, Alaska. It took four flights: CR to Chicago to Seattle to Anchorage to Fairbanks. Fourteen hours. Flying in America anymore is like what we imagined flying in the Soviet Union was like back in the day. Long ago, flying was fun and comfortable and clean. You bought your ticket and it was like money. If you changed your mind, you got all your money back or the cost went to a new ticket. If you didn't use it you got your money back.