Tour and Travel

Overbooked Flight – What You Should Know

The dreaded overbooked flight is never any fun. Having been on the end as an airline passenger and as a ticket agent working a gate believe me it’s an ugly scene for both. So lets start with the basics.

What does it mean when a flight is overbooked? This means that just like it sounds the airline has sold more tickets than they actually have seats on an aircraft. So let’s say there are 100 seats on a plane but a 110 seats sold what now? That’s when you hear that gate agent asking for volunteers. What they are doing is asking for people willing to travel at a later time for an additional incentive. This incentive is usually in the form of a credit or discount on your next ticket. Sometimes it will include meals and hotel stays also if they cannot get you out that same night.

 

pia

Why are airlines even allowed to over book flights? Well, truth is this practice is legal. And the corporate response I usually had to give passenger went something like this. “Airlines are allowed to oversale flights due to the historic statistical data that calculates the number of no shows they annually see on that particular routing.”

So what happens if no one volunteers? Well if no one volunteers its time to get nervous cause the gate now has to deny boarding the plane to some passengers. Always look to see if you have a seat assignment cause frequently no seat assignment means no seat. Pay attention to the gate agents instructions you may here him or her calling individuals up or making additional offers or asking you to step aside when you present your boarding pass to be scanned.

 

How much am I owed if I am involuntarily denied boarding? Well traveling within the U.S. you fall under the DOT mandated compensation guidelines. And they go as follows. If you are denied boarding you are due 200% of the sum of the values of the remaining flight coupons up to the passengers next stop over. With a $400 maximum unless the rebooked flight is within 2 hours and then its a maximum of $200.

Should I take cash or a voucher? It’s really up to you. Now many times the airlines only mention the vouchers which are usually in larger denominations than their strictly guided cousin cash.  What do I mean by this. Well many times you will hear an announcement offering $400 voucher/credit to volunteer for someone on a $150 ticket. That’s over doubling their value but that also means should this person choose the cash option they are looking at a far smaller amount of compensation. let’s look at the math.  200% of $75 is only $150 which for some may be great cause they essentially got a free ticket. For someone with a more highly priced ticket that $400 voucher may be nothing and the cash value for that segment may also not be worth it. At the end of the day you have to figure out what would work best for you.

The absolute last thing you should know about overbooked flight is if you are denied boarding read through the documentation before you leave the gate area. Make sure you have everything you need and are clear on what the next steps are in order to get or use your compensation. Most airlines give you the voucher or check at the gate so there are no additional steps to take. Hold onto everything so when it comes time to use your voucher there are no issues. Understand how long your voucher is good for cause majority if not all have some sort of expiration date.

In conclusion yes airlines are allowed to over book flights. You as the passenger have rights and compensation minimums under DOT regulations when traveling within the US. If you are denied boarding be sure to double-check that you received everything you need whether it be a check or credit voucher and of course your new itinerary. Overbooking is an ugly part of the travel industry and many may go thru life never experiencing it but for those that do hopefully this article has you more informed about what to expect.

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London’s first food-in-nude restaurant, 46000 people were in waiting list !

It’s like going to any other restaurant advertising “natural ingredients:” A menu that offers mostly raw foods such as vegetables, fruits, flowers, smoked meat, and fish, with an added pièce de resistance – patrons eating in the buff.

Naked restaurants, or “foodies for nudies” as many call them, are becoming a trend, and a number have been opening with great success in, among other cities, London, Milan, Tokyo, Melbourne and, soon, Paris.

The Bunyadi

Patrons enjoying their unusual experience at The Bunyadi

Dining “au naturel” reached a whole new level this summer when, for the opening in June of London’s first ‘food-in-the-nude’ restaurant, The Bunyadi, more than 46,000 aspiring patrons rushed their names on to the waiting list, according to its website.

The restaurant, installed temporarily in a former pub south of the city and conforming with another popular European trend of pop-up, unexpected eateries, will close soon after three months and has announced plans to open a new one in Paris in September or October.

The Bunyadi

A dish fit for a nude diner at The Bunyadi

“Enter a secret Pangea-like world, free from phones, electric lights and even clothing (optional) and revisit the beginning where everything was fresh, free and unadulterated from the trappings of modern life,” it offers. And if you’re going to believe the reviews on its Facebook site, the concept has been very well received.

Newspaper critics also seem to like it: “I checked out London’s naked restaurant and now I’m converted to eating in the nude,” wrote The Independent’s reviewer. “The excitement in the air matched the buzz” agreed Time Out.

In her tongue-in-cheek review for the Telegraph, “I had lunch at Britains’s first naked restaurant,” Hannah Betts describes her trepidation and doubts before making it into the restaurant with her boyfriend to conclude that “after 90 minutes chomping and sweating, we emerge into the blinding late afternoon light feeling faint and startled. Eyeing the Chicken Cottage across the street, my boyfriend sighs: “Can we just go and eat?”

Melbourne

In Melbourne, diners were invited to celebrate the freedom of their naked dining experience.

With capacity for 42 people who arrive fully clothed and are provided with lockers and white robes to change into as they sip cocktails, the restaurant charges £60 per person for a “naked menu” served by “minimally clothed” waiting staff at tables separated for privacy with bamboo partitions, by candlelight.

The Bunyadi, with its tens of thousands of hopeful patrons, has made its mark and is counting on its London success as a preamble to the upcoming Parisian venture.

“It’s going to be the same in Paris as it has been in London, back to the start, no mobile phones, all natural, candles, and raw, organic food,” the restaurant’s events planner told The Local. “We think the French would pretty much love this; there are a lot of naturists there.”

The Bunyadi is a project of the Lollipop company, a pop-up group that caters unusual events throughout London. Pop-up food and other pop-up stores and businesses have been around for years but now are taking on new meaning as young entrepreneurs drive them in unexpected directions. The quick-hit Bunyadi, with its optional clothing, banned cell phones and appeal to diners to come for a “natural,” “pure” and “liberating” experience is setting an example.

Milan

Candlelight, no cell phones and nude conversation at Milan’s L’Italo Americano

Milan also was in the news for its own “food in the nude” experience this summer at L’Italo Americano which, according to reports in local newspapers, started last month offering a weekly “meeting for naturists” on Fridays. Due to the stir caused by the news, the restaurant’s manager explained that “it has nothing to do with sex, swingers or anything like that.”

Like its London counterpart, this one offers dining by candlelight, no phones allowed at the tables and adds dancing for €50 for members of the Italian Naturist Association and €100 for non-members.

The naked eating experience at L’Italo Americano has been lauded as another sign of the rise of nudism in Italy. The newspaper Il Giorno wrote recently that “the evenings dedicated to nudists at the restaurant in Cerro Maggiore has contributed to the emergence of a trend that is getting more and more obvious. A recent survey of this reality, in fact, revealed that 44% of Italians are considering taking a vacation at a nudist beach, 58% of Italian men are prepared to sunbathe nude as are 33% of women.”

In Japan, the opening of Tokyo’s Amrita restaurant, also a pop-up planned for this month, caused a stir of another kind when it announced some discriminatory entrance conditions: patrons from ages 18 to 60, nobody overweight – and no tattoos.

The restaurant had also announced that patrons will be required to wear paper underwear, that  entertainment was going to be provided by male waitresses clad in G-strings and that male models will offer a dance performance.

For one critic, the experience promises to be “the strangest and most awkward dinner party of all times.” In any event, the controversy that resulted convinced the restaurant to reverse most of its entrance criteria, opening to anyone from 20 to 120…and those overweight are invited to join the feast.

20 Tips before you travel abroad

If this is your first time traveling abroad, or maybe you just need a refresher here’s a list of 20 tips you should do or bring before your trip.

Security & Health

1. Check-in with your doctor and insurance carrier. Double check and make sure that you have all of the proper vaccinations and that you have renewed all essential prescriptions. Also, ask you medical insurance provider if your policy applies overseas for emergencies. If it doesn’t, and you want to add extra coverage, consider supplemental insurance.

2. Bring copies of your passport. If your passport gets stolen or lost you want to be sure that you can still get back into the country, or be able to prove your citizenship.

3. Leave a copy of your passport. For extra backup, leave a copy of your passport at home or with someone you trust. Consider making an electronic copy you can store in your email account as well.

4. Register with your embassy. If there’s a problem in the country, this will make it easier for your government to contact you and get you to safety.

Money

5. Look up the monetary conversion before you go. Finding out that one Danish Krone is equal to just 19 cents … bad surprise. Make sure you do your math before you travel to get a sense of where the conversion rate is at.

6. Make sure your credit card will work in the country you’re visiting. European banks have switched almost completely to the more secure chip-and-PIN technology, and fewer businesses abroad are accepting the outdated magnetic-strip cards.

7. Go to a bank or ATM in the country you’re visiting. The conversion centers in the airport or around the city tend to be huge rip-offs. You won’t get charged as many fees at the ATM or the bank, and the conversion will be exact.

8. Always have local cash. Not every place takes credit cards. Especially important places like trains or buses.

9. Call your bank or credit card provider. Sometimes banks think that fraud may be occurring if transactions are suddenly happening in Bali when you’re from Jersey, and they will turn off your card as a security measure.

10. Check the country’s entrance/exit fees. Some countries require travelers to pay in order to enter or leave the country. These fees are not included in the price of your airline ticket, and can range from $25 to $200.

Local Research

11. Buy tickets now for places you know you want to visit or see. By buying in advance you’ll be able to skip more lines, and find more deals targeted toward you.

12. Get guidebooks. Guidebooks usually include maps, key words or phrases, and give you enough detail on certain sites that you won’t need to purchase the pamphlet at the venue. And download apps before you travel. Avoid downloading charges from your wireless carrier and get your apps before you leave.

13. Research events going on while you’re there. This will help you make sure that you’re not missing the best events going on in the city — fun things like festivals, ceremonies and natural events. Also be sure to research as a few national dishes to try. You don’t want to leave the country without experiencing what its known for.

Electronics

14. Bring a charger adapter. Countries have different size plugs and voltage. So if you want to use your iPod, make sure you can charge it.

15. Check the voltage of your electronics. From my own experience I know that nothing is worse than having an adapter and still not being able to use a blow-dryer or a straightener because the voltage isn’t high enough for that country.

16. Activate your phone’s global capabilities or Use Voip to save. There’s usually a charge for doing this, but it is much less if you use Voip like panktel

17. Compare flights and Hotels. The ShowMyfares can help you find great deals in flight and hotels comparing many sites.

Luggage & packing

18. Pack an extra set of clothes in your carry-on bag. Don’t be one of those travelers decked out in J’adore Paris apparel because the airline lost your luggage and you have nothing else to wear.

19. To check a bag or not to check bag. Each airline has its own set of guidelines as to how many bags can be checked or carried on for free. Make sure to look up what your airline’s rules are to avoid any incremental fees.

20. Bring snacks. Traveling abroad is fun, but eating in a foreign country can sometimes become a task. Bring small snacks that will tide you over until you find that perfect restaurant or food cart.