Airline Secrets – Being Bumped on a Flight and Your Rights

Many of you have probably experienced the situation where you (and many fellow passengers) are waiting for your flight only to hear that the flight is oversold and the airline is looking for volunteers with flexible schedules to give up their seats in return for a later flight and a voucher for ‘free’ travel within the next year…

There are several things that you need to be aware of in this situation – per the US Department of Transportation:

  1. The airlines are allowed to overbook / oversell the capacity of their flights.
  2. If the airline gets you to your final destination within 1 hour of the original arrival time, there is no compensation required
  3. If the airline arranges for you to get to your final destination between 1 and 2 hours after the original arrival time (for domestic flights) and within 4 hours for international flights, the airline must compensate you with amount equal to 200% of the one way fare to that destination on that day up to $650 maximum
  4. If the amount of time exceeds the hours listed in 3 above or the airlines does not arrange for alternate flights – then your compensation jumps to 400% of the fare or $1300 maximum

Now comes the key secret many of us (me included until recently) are not aware of – the primary form of compensation is expected to be a check!  Not a voucher for a future flight – as it is usually advertised and offered by the airline…!

In other words – we are entitled to cash rather than a voucher which you will find very difficult to use in many cases…

The airline is allowed to offer you a voucher / free tickets – but You have the right to demand a check if that is your preference.

airport runway

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Chinese New Year: Interesting Statistics to Help You Learn More About China

Well folks, the Chinese New Year celebrations are (almost) behind us.  In previous posting here I provided a brief view of the Year of the Goat, and some statistics associated with this huge holiday.  In today’s posting, I would like to add some interesting statistics I have come across in searches on the Web – and leverage those as a way for all of us to build up more understanding of the customs and habits associated with the Chinese New Year.

The first stop along the road of fact discovery is one that compares the US Thanksgiving and Chinese New Year.   Can you tell “Huge Order of Magnitude” difference…

Infographic: How Chinese New Year Compares With Thanksgiving | Statista

Then we need to look at how people spend their money in order to get a feel for what drives nowadays customs.  Sure, you can talk about ancient practices but money speaks loud…So here is the next infographic

Infographic: Chinese new year: how people spend their money | Statista

Amazing, right… Huge RMB-amount spent on the event itself and associated gifts.  Now you can understand how important this holiday is and why China essentially comes to a stop during its duration.

Here are a few stats more – courtesy of The Independent


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Chinese New Year Approaching Fast

Chinese New Year in 2015 falls on February 19th — and on that date we will go into the Year of the Goat.  I get the question very often – what year will be this year? The year of __?

So to that effect here are the two things:  2015=Year of the Goat,

Year of the Goat

and a pictogram I found on the web that shows the alignment of the Chinese Zodiac

Chinese Zodiac Years

The Chinese New Year is certainly the biggest holiday on Earth – why?  Because of the sheer number of people who celebrate it, take action due to it and take a huge number of trips as a result of it.  In China and other parts of the world, people celebrate the event by having family gatherings.  It is THE norm to have the extended families travel thousands of miles to get to their ancestral homes and bring everyone together.  To that effect the holiday creates the biggest migration of people on Earth (I think).

Talking with friends and reading in the media, the holiday travel is characterized with the following statistics:

  • In preparation for the travel needed, train ticket sales reach over 1000 tickets sold per SECOND!
  • Chinese authorities expect approximately 2.8 BILLION trips to be taken around the festival
  • Expected close to 1B people on the move
  • The amazing view was the image from Baidu Maps – which showed the location based requests from mobile phone registered users in China – the image shows the intensity of travel associated with the holiday last year….Expect the same and MORE this year…

Chinese New year 2014


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Carlsbad Caverns – Spectacular and Worth the Visit

Continuing with my previous article, in going to the Carlsbad Caverns we accomplished two goals – visit and see a spectacular set of natural wonders in the Caverns, as well as experience the open West Texas – my previous photo blog posting.

So, now, let’s talk about Carlsbad Caverns.  You could probably find plenty of documents describing in all sort of details the Caverns, so in this my posting, I will rely on the full effect of the photographs I am posting in this article

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West Texas – Open Skies, Open Road, …

Well, I have been thinking for a while to publish some of the photographs from a special set of events – our family trip to the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico.  I will post selected photos across two entries today and later on the weekend.  We will start with the road and views from West Texas.

As you can tell from the “big crowds” on the highways in West Texas are amazing… So, without further delay, here is

Next posting will actually be from the Carlsbad Caverns – and the weird formations in those (among many) caves.

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Florida Keys – A Photo Summary

Let me see if I can make a post just by setting up a long photo gallery of….yes, you guessed it as the title states, the Florida Keys – although this is more of the various spots along the way between the various keys….No other description :-)

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Big Bend National Park – More Views

Well, folks I had published before about the Big Bend National Park - and then I realized I have quite a few photos more.    So here they are now in this new update — and what a better way to describe the beauty of the park but a photo blog  / album


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Bangalore Palace

Here is a quick summary overview of a unique site in the city of Bangalore – the Bangalore Palace.  Now that you have figured out how to get the most cost effective and comfy seat on the plane for your next long haul trip, it is time to leverage that for a trip to distant India and one of its most dynamic cities – Bangalore.

Turns out, while the city has an incredible concentration of high tech companies and a huge brain trust powering the activities of a large number of multinational and Indian companies, one can also experience a step back in time to the days of the Maharajas – the royals of the Bangalore / Mysore.

The palace is large and very ornate and as I usually like to highlight — best described in photos – so enjoy below the set provided from my recent trip to Bangalore.  One word of caution – to set expectations – the palace is large but not massive.  At the end of the day, it offers a unique glimpse into the lives of many generations who have ruled the province.

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Premium Economy Class – a New Way to Travel Comfortably

Air travel is an interesting segment of the economy for sure.  Over the years, we travelers have observed the airlines cancel and consolidate flights and essentially reach a point where on the average (in my experience and that of colleagues and friends of mine) flights are close to 100% full.

It appears that each time I am at the airport (which is very frequently) the gate personnel for a given flight are announcing that “the flight you are about to board is full and so please mind what luggage you are bringing on-board…”.  The more important aspect of this though is that the airlines have conditioned many travelers to seek upgrade alternatives and overall better flying conditions.

Ta-taa….Enters the PREMIUM ECONOMY seat.  Multiple airlines have been introducing it over the last couple of years.  So in this post I wanted to give you a view of which airlines have that class and what are their specifics.

Seat description

Economy Premium Description

I will be adding more information from the various airlines so stay tuned for that.

Overall, I think premium economy is definitely worth it especially on the long-haul flights so consider booking it.

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Arbanasi Bulgaria – Picturesque Village Near Veliko Tqrnovo in Bulgaria – Part-II

Continuing the photo blog view of Arbanasi – here is the next installment and next set of photos.

If you ask me for more specifics on what exactly you should do in the area, my response will be simple – Arbanasi is a great place to just go to and wander around – whether on foot or on a bike.  You will enjoy the architecture, interesting surroundings…and nature most of all…

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