Monday, October 31, 2011

Thefts at Airport Screening Stations - Things to Look For

If You Travel Via Commercial Airlines and Carry a Laptop Computer Or Briefcase Containing Valuable Material... This is Vital Information to Know!

This scam involves two persons who look for a victim carrying a laptop computer or other valuable carry-on baggage and approaching a metal detector. They position themselves in front of the unsuspecting passenger and stall until their mark puts the laptop on the conveyor belt.

The first hustler moves through the metal detector easily. The second deliberately sets off the detector and begins a very slow process of emptying pockets, removing jewelry, etc. While this is happening, the first hustler picks up the laptop as soon as it appears on the conveyor belt, walks away quickly, heads into the gate area, and disappears among the crowd.

When the passenger finally gets through the metal detector, the laptop is gone and there's no way of proving the person who set off the detector with the delaying tactic had anything to do with the theft. In fact, a third hustler may sometimes be involved, as he takes a hand-off from the first. This third crook takes the computer out of the restricted area before anything can be done to stop the theft (even if the passenger becomes aware of it while still waiting on the other side of the metal detector).

What can you do to prevent it from happening to you?

Of course the obvious is when traveling with a laptop computer (or any 'hand carried' valuables which must be placed on the airport's security conveyor belt for examination by x-ray) is to try and avoid lines at the entrance of the metal detector.
Better yet... try to fly with a friend and make sure one of you has cleared the detector before either puts anything on the conveyor belt!

When you don't have a traveling companion and there are unavoidable lines, you must delay putting your luggage and laptop on the conveyor belt until you're sure you'll be the next person through the metal detector. And, as you move through the detector, keep your eyes on the conveyor belt and watch for your luggage and laptop to come through at the other end, while keeping a 'sharp eye' on what those in front of you are picking up).

Friday, October 28, 2011

Useful 800 Travel Industry Telephone Numbers

Useful 800 Travel Industry Telephone Numbers

(within the U.S.)
Best Western
Air Canada
Crown Sterling
Air France
Days Inn
Alaska Airlines
Embassy Suites
Aloha Airlines
Four Seasons
American Airlines
Hampton Inns
America West
British Airways
Holiday Inn
Canadian Airlines
Howard Johnson
Cathay Pacific
China Airlines
Continental Airlines
Delta Airlines
Marriott Courtyard
El Al Israel Airlines
Hawaiian Airlines
Quality Inn
Japan Airlines
Red Lion
Korean Air
Ritz Carlton
Lan Chile S.A.
Midwest Express
Northwest Airlines
Philippine Airlines
Qantas Airways
Reno Air
Scandinavian Airlines
Singapore Airlines
Southwest Airlines
United Airlines
Virgin Atlantic

Monday, October 24, 2011

Tips for In-Flight Comfort

Sit in bulkhead or exit row aisles. Bulkheads offer extra legroom and no one can recline his seat back into your face. Remember that you have to store your carry-on luggage in the overheads. Exit rows have the luxury of extra foot room, but you must be able to open the emergency door, if needed.

Dress for duress. Wear flat-soled, lace-up shoes so you can loosen them if your feet swell. Rubber soles my catch on the exit slide during an emergency, and dress shoes don't adjust for swelling.

Protect your bags. Checked bags can get lost. If you have to check, use curbside skycaps to avoid lugging heavy bags through the terminal. Always use luggage locks; some baggage handlers get over curious about what's in your bag.

Entertain yourself. Bring plenty of magazines; they're lighter than books and disposable. Don't forget your Walkman, either; it's the perfect way to catch up on those motivational tapes you've been meaning to listen to or to avoid unwelcome chatter from the person sitting next to you.

Do "air-aerobics". A number of airlines offer in-seat exercise routines to help reduce swelling and pain from cramped muscles and reduced circulation. A number of airlines offer in-flight tips.

Fix your posture. Airline seats don't adjust for relaxed spinal posture. Support your lumbar spine with a rolled-up blanket and your head and neck with a pillow. Another pillow or blanket to prop up your feet will relieve pressure on the backs of your thighs.

Sit up front. A recently released Harvard study found air quality in aircraft cabins didn't meet minimum standards for office buildings. You'll find less carbon dioxide in forward seats. During layovers, get off and take a walk; breathe deeply.

Drink eight ounces of water every hour. Airplane air has only 1% to 10% humidity, even less than most deserts. You'll need more than the two small cart drinks offered on most flights. Bring your own bottled water, and avoid coffee, alcohol and carbonated drinks, which are dehydrating diuretics.

Eat light. Even if you order vegetarian meals, everything but fruit plates contains too much salt and fat. Bring your own healthy snacks, like dehydrated soups or nutrition bars. Don't overeat, since your internal organs naturally swell due to cabin pressure changes.

Use daylight to adjust to a new time zone. The Association of Flight Attendants said the secret is to follow the same wake-up, bedtime, work and meal hours in your new location as in your old time zone. Don't try to catch up on sleep by going to bed right after you land or trying to stay up just because you gained a few hours. You'll adjust more quickly if your follow the clock.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Tips for first-time and infrequent traveler.

Preparation can help cut down on travel delays inexperienced and experienced travelers alike can help ease airport security delays by following these simple guidelines:

Before you leave home

  1. Reconfirm your flight
  2. Reconfirm your flight directly with the airline 24 to 48 hours prior to departure.
  3. Pack Smart.
  4. Protect yourself and your valuables by placing medicine and expensive items in your carry-on luggage. Keep a pencil or pen handy throughout your trip to note gate, departure time and connecting flight information.
  5. Identify your baggage inside and out.
  6. Place a baggage tag with name, home address and telephone number on the outside of your bag; inside your baggage, put your home information plus your destination address and telephone number.
  7. Bring fewer carry-ons to speed boarding.
  8. Up to two items may be carried on, and each must fit under your seat or in an overhead compartment. Check your ticket envelope or call your travel agent or the airline's reservation office for size and weight requirements.
  9. Read your ticket and ticket envelope in advance. They provide helpful information about policies set by the government and the airline.

Leaving and Arriving at the Airport1

  1. Leave early for the airport.
  2. Arrive at the airport up to two hours before departure for domestic flights and up to three hours before departure for international flights. Anticipate slowdowns during the holidays - traffic may be heavier, airport parking lots may be fuller and lines my be longer at the airport.
  3. Check baggage routing.
  4. Ensure that the agent or skycap attaches the correct tags for your destination city. If you don't recognize the city code - for example, ORD is Chicago O'Hare airport - ask, particularly if you have connecting flights.

Check in early:

  1. Check in at the airline ticket counter if you don't have a seat assignment; go directly to the gate for check-in if you have a boarding pass. Check in one hour before departure on domestic flights and two hours before international departures.
  2. Identification:
  3. Carry at least one form of photo ID at all times. A second photo ID might be required at some airports.
  4. Know your departure gate.
  5. Ask the agent or skycap to write your departure gate number on your ticket envelope or boarding card. Be sure to be at your departure gate at least 30 minutes before scheduled departure time.

Security Check Points:

  1. Once at the airport, be prepared to have your belongings searched by security personnel.
  2. Remove heavy metal at security checkpoints.
  3. Don't wear large metal buckles, belts or jewelry that will activate the metal detector's alarm.
  4. Laptop computers and other electric devices might require additional time to clear security.

Gate Area:

  1. Never leave luggage unattended or under the watch of a stranger.
  2. Do not accept any item from strangers or carry any package with unknown contents.


  1. Stay close to the departure gate.
  2. There you will receive boarding instructions and any last-minute information you need for the flight.
  3. Board when asked:
  4. Be sure to board when your row number is called. Empty seats will be counted and given to standby passengers.

When plane lands:

  1. Upon arrival at your destination, go immediately to the baggage claim area to pick up your luggage. Have the claim stubs available.

When in doubt

Ask questions. Airline employees are generally friendly and helpful. No question is too simple. Just ask.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Will I be allowed to check in for my flight without a photo ID?

It's possible. However, there are no guarantees. As most travelers are aware, airports across the globe have heightened security measures in recent years. Airports now mandate that all passengers over the age of 18 present a government-issued form of photo identification such as a military ID, driver's license, or passport at time of check-in. It's best to call your airline and speak to a customer-service representative about its specific policies. Keep in mind that some carriers may be more lenient than others. (And please be aware that international travel may necessitate additional forms of identification and immigration documents, such as a passport.)

Some airlines we contacted, including Southwest Airlines and United, insisted that all passengers must present a government- or state-issued photo ID at check-in--no ifs, ands, or buts. But other carriers are a bit more flexible. For example, Continental Airlines said two alternative forms of identification would most likely suffice, and suggested bringing along any or all of the following to improve your chances of getting on board: a voter registration card, employee identification card, insurance identification card, credit cards issued in your name (cards with your photo are best), birth certificate, or a social-security card.

Another option is acquiring a state-issued ID. Unfortunately, it may take up to 60 days for one to arrive in your mailbox. But if you have more time on your hands you should contact your state's department of motor vehicles to inquire about obtaining a photo ID card for use in case your license ever goes missing. While this card will not allow you to legally drive in your state, it is a legal form of identification accepted by the airlines. To obtain this type of ID, you'll usually need to furnish a birth certificate, social-security number, and a small fee to your local motor-vehicle department.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Aircraft Emergency Tips For Travelers

There are certain rows of the aircraft designated as exit rows. You can tell if you are in an exit row if there is an emergency exit around the window. People seating in exit rows should be prepared to assist the flight attendants and other passengers should the aircraft need to be evacuated in an emergency. An exit row passenger should be physically capable of opening the heavy, bulky exit row door, should be able to assist passengers, should be able to see and hear instructions shouted by the flight attendants. The passenger must be over the age of 15.

If you feel qualified to help in the case of an emergency, and you find yourself seated in an exit row, then just stay put. However, if you are disabled, easily flustered, elderly or for any reason at all unwilling to sit in the exit row, just let the flight attendants know and they will change your seat with someone else. You don't have to give any reason. Just say you don't want to do it and would like a change. After all, switching seats and letting a more experienced traveler sit in the exit row might end up being beneficial to all passengers should an emergency arise. 

As the airplane is moving out to the runway, the flight attendants will give you a brief safety demonstration. The high point is the operation of the oxygen mask.  

I have been on hundreds of flights. ***NEVER, EVER***, repeat, never, ever have I seen the oxygen masks in use. There are people on this board who could tell you the same thing. However, there is always the first time.

If the plane loses oxygen pressure for any reason, the oxygen masks will drop down out of the small overhead compartment. (Look up in your seat and you will see a small panel, which covers the compartment.) If that happens, put the mask over your nose and mouth. You might have to tug slightly on the gas line to start the flow of gas. (This way, gas does not flow to empty seats.) There is an elastic band on the mask, which should go behind your head. Relax, and breathe normally.

If you are seated next to someone who might need some assistance, such as a child, an individual with limited physical or mental capabilities or just a sleepy, groggy spouse, you should put your own mask on first, then breathe normally as you assist the other person. That way, if the other struggles, you will have a steady flow of oxygen as you fight the person to get their mask on.

Remember, this is an extremely infrequent occurrence. Many, many frequent flyers can say they have never seen the oxygen masks drop. Our airplane seat is equipped with a seat belt. You should buckle the seat belt when you sit down, and it should remain buckled during take off, landing, or when there is turbulence. If you are unsure, there are lighted "seat belt" signs through the aircraft. If the sign is lit up, then buckle up. If it is not lit up, you can unbuckle it. However, many experienced fliers leave it buckled whenever they are in their seat. I do, too. Why not? One tip about seat belts:

If you decided to sleep, put your blanket over your body, then buckle the seat belt over the blanket. If, later during the flight, the seat belt light comes on, the flight attendants will be able to see you are buckled up without having to remove the blanket and wake you up.

When you sit in your seat, do a quick check to see where your nearest emergency exit is. Figure that the aircraft might be full of smoke, or it might be dark with no interior lights. Therefore, mentally count the seats so you could find your way in smoke or the dark. (", two, three, four rows then turn right.") Then relax, and pull out your book or magazine. 

There is one final, very important point to make. On most US domestic flights, smoking is prohibited. On some international flights, smoking is allowed only in certain designated smoking rows. On those flights you may smoke only while seated in your seat, but not in the aisles. If you are standing with a lit cigarette, and there is a bump of unexpected turbulence, you might lose your balance and the cigarette might burn someone. You may only smoke cigarettes, but not pipes or cigars.

In addition to smoking being prohibited from the aircraft, many air terminals are now banning smoking from all but a few places. The end result is that a passenger must go many hours without a puff. This drives people crazy. Some try to sneak a smoke in the airplane bathroom. Folks, this is one of the MOST DANGEROUS things you can do. The airplane bathroom is full of paper. The waste bin is full of used paper towels. The airplane is pressurized with oxygen. Throwing a smoldering cigarette into the waste paper bin turns the airplane into a flying bomb. The airlines have installed smoke detectors in the airplane bathrooms, and the flight attendants are authorized to break down the door with a fire extinguisher in their hands if the lavatory smoke detector goes off.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Passengers Rights

Passenger Rights
Aircraft accidents kill and injure passengers and pilot each year. If you are curious about your flight, you may ask a pilot certain information. 
The FAA requires that a pilot will:
Have a seat and seat belt for you
A preflight safety briefing
Show you how to use the seat belt and operate the doors
How to exit the airplane during an emergency
Explain the location and use of survival equipment
File a flight plan
Tie down all cargo
Weight and balance of the aircraft
A passenger may ask a pilot:
Are you licensed, rated and current for this flight?
Have you checked the weight and balance of the aircraft?
Have you obtained a weather forecast?
Have you filed a flight plan?
Should I make alternative arrangements or reschedule due to bad weather?
A passenger may not ask a pilot:
To carry a payload beyond the weight and balance limitations of the aircraft
To takeoff or land at an airstrip which is less than the length required by the aircraft
To fly below 500? except for takeoff or landing
To fly into weather he or she considers unsafe or against regulation
To fly beyond allowable duty time limits
To take risks by continuing a flight for the sake of meeting one of your prior commitments
Pilots are entitled to expect passengers to:
Comply with their directions as to loading of the aircraft
Accept the nature of VFR flight and the possibility of delays or cancellation of the trip
Follow their instruction is the event of an emergency