Tricks & Trends
Stay up-to-date with travel tips by Betty Austin-Ware
LEFT: © ISTOCKPHOTO.COM/LIANG ZHANG; RIGHT: © RANCHO BERNARDO INN
Since the airlines began discounting fares for roundtrips,
passengers have looked for ways to circumvent the rules, and the
practice of buying a roundtrip ticket and only using it one way
became popular. This practice has high risks, as the airlines consider
such a practice fraudulent, impose heavy penalties and may deny
boarding unless the appropriate fare is paid.
The airline sets the prices. The client accepts the rules when the
purchase is made. The fares are supposed to make money for the
airlines, not save consumers’ money. They get more money from
penalties such as fees for changes, booking by phone, etc. The
roundtrip discount fares are loss leaders, a bargain if used exactly
as offered, nothing different—and a roundtrip ticket is a different
product from a one-way ticket.
Note that the date of purchase, not the date of change, dictates
what fees can be charged. Never buy an airline ticket without buying
insurance on it.
When a flight is missed the computer cancels all connected tickets.
The airlines can’t charge you for not taking a scheduled return
flight, but they can take away your frequent flyer miles. They can,
and do, charge a travel agency who sells a ticket that is used in a
manner that they label fraudulent, i.e. bought as roundtrip but
planned to be used as one way. The agency can lose its ticketing
privileges if it doesn’t pay the highest fare for the flight flown,
although the agency has no control over how the ticket is used.
Planning to Fly
Buy your ticket under the exact name that appears on your ID,
or you won’t get through security AND if you have to have the ticket
reissued in the correct name, the airline can charge you the price
at that time.
Get to your gateway city as early as you can. Since delays stack up
as the day progresses, it’s smart to book the first flight you can into
a hub if you have a connecting flight.
Double-check foreign document requirements. Some countries like
Australia, Kenya and India require a visa for entry; others, like South
Africa, require a traveler’s passport to have at least two blank, consecutive unstamped pages. Know the requirements before you make
your flight reservations or you could get stuck stateside, according to
a source at the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs.
For a complete list of entrance regulations, visit travel.state.gov/travel.
Here’s a new trend, at least at one hotel. Rancho Bernardo Inn in
northern San Diego recently offered a Survivor package, with savings
based on amenities. The fewer you need, the less you pay. The basic
rate, including accommodations for two with breakfast, is $219 a
night. No breakfast, pay $199. Opt out of the honor bar, rate drops
to $179. Give up air-conditioning and heat, and the rate is $159.
Do without pillows, pay $139. Without sheets, it’s $109. Go without
lights, and rate is $89.
Get rid of the towels, price is $59. No toiletries, rate drops to
$39. And finally, take out the bed, and pay $19. Resort fee is an extra
$15 to $20 per person per night, in addition to taxes of 13 percent.
Betty Austin-Ware, owner of Waltzing Matilda Travel, has been a travel consultant for 20 years and
worked with Outward Bound schools in Australia, New Zealand and Colorado. She can be reached at
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