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Hello! There’s so much travel news this week and it’s all about one thing: United Airlines. It’s a holiday weekend in Canada, so I hope you’re enjoying some downtime, and, if you’re traveling, I hope the airline knows better and treats you like a VIP, even in Economy. Thanks for reading The Packing List, have a great week!
Travel news you can use
- United Airlines ruined it for every airline who wants to treat paying customers like garbage, after having a seated passenger forcibly removed to make space for airline staff on a Sunday afternoon flight from Chicago to Louisville.
- Flight 3411 was full – not oversold, as reported – and no other passengers took the $800 offered for bumping. The next flight on the same route was almost a full day later, meaning the inconvenience was significant. The affected passenger was hauled off of the flight by aviation police and suffered serious injuries, leaving a trail a blood on the plane and a series of passenger-shot videos that immediately went viral.
- The PR fallout was disastrous, with a series of bad, lawyer-written statements that cast the passenger as the problem. United eventually apologized appropriately, but, too late friend-o.
- United offered compensation to all of the passengers on flight, either in cash or credit for future travel. Hard pass on the latter, thx.
- Airlines treat you badly to get you to pay for “services” to make flying slightly more tolerable. It’s called “calculated misery.”
- Don’t believe the contrition, United is still terrible: another passenger complained after a drunk man was repeatedly served alcohol and groped her, and, oh yeah, a SCORPION fell from the overhead and stung the passenger below.
- At least the internet had some fun with this situation.
- Hey, at least the US won’t let people talk on cellphones in flight!
Overbooking: Tips & Opportunities
- My advice for dealing with overbooking and other travel inconveniences is to buy travel insurance, or keep a credit card with travel insurance, that covers flight delays. Read the policy, know your coverage, and get contact info before you travel, in case you need to initiate a claim. Airlines will let you down, but it’s manageable if you’re prepared.
- If things go wrong, complain to the airline, but also consider complaining to the national transportation department in your country. There’s a guy in my area who has become a vocal advocate for passenger rights, regularly complaining to federal regulators about airline bad behaviour.
- FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver looked into the numbers, and all US airlines overbook, but some are better at it than others.
- Delta Airlines has given gate staff authority to offer up to $10,000 to get passengers to volunteer in oversell situations.They already encourage passengers to compete against each other in a compensation auction.
- What Ryanair’s awful customer service turnaround could teach United. Yes, Ryanair.
- Rules for overbooking and compensation vary by country. The info is rarely easily available or consumer-friendly. Luckily, most of the world’s media has been on the passenger rights beat this week:
- On the other end of the passenger treatment spectrum, some airports are building “quiet rooms” to help children with autism and their families have a better travel experience.
- When her (now ex-)boyfriend said she couldn’t handle a cross-continental motorbike trip from Alaska to South America, one woman said, “Think again, pal. See ya!”
- I’ve encountered my fair share of Russian travelers who are, frankly, jerks, so yeah, this Russian campaign to remind their countrymen not to be jerks is a good idea.
Planning your next trip
- If glamping isn’t your thing, maybe “champing?” Sleeping in an abandoned medieval church sounds pretty great, actually. I prefer “lamping,” discovering your tent is full of lambs.
- Everything you need to know about visiting Canada: the metric system, French, saying sorry, and more!
- Great news if you’re in Florida: it’s sea turtle season.
- In a world of digitally documenting every moment, nothing beats a written travel journal. I’m with Rick Steves on this one.
Packing lists and tips
- You know you want to know Bill Nye’s travel essentials.
- What are the best shoes for your trip? How to choose footwear based on what you’re doing.
Zipping the suitcase
Tell me what you think about the newsletter by sending a message directly to firstname.lastname@example.org. Find out more about where I travel here on http://bitesizedtravel.ca. See you next week!