How to get a refund for a plane ticket -even if it’s nonrefundable

How to get a refund for a plane ticket -even if it’s nonrefundable

The policy of many major airlines allows you to change a plane ticket for any reason and use it for a maximum of one year from the date of the exchange. But if you happen to have booked a more expensive refundable rate, you will be, without a doubt, charged extra money. In most cases, you can exchange nonrefundable tickets without paying a fee, but only as long as certain special circumstances are met.

If you think you have to change your plane ticket, you should consider buying a refundable ticket or an unrestricted one when making your initial purchase. These can be exchanged or returned at any time before departing, without any penalty at all. However, refundable tickets often cost hundreds of dollars more than the non-refundable ones (or even thousands of dollars if you are flying internationally).

These tickets are generally acquired by business travelers who are flying in the short term. If you have a refundable ticket, call the airline or visit their website and follow the instructions to exchange it or get a refund. Most airlines allow you to change your ticket without a fee if you need to change your trip due to a family emergency, such as a death or serious illness. In most cases, the airline will require evidence of such an emergency, such as a death certificate or a medical certificate from affected family member. Call the airline and explain your situation if you have to make changes to a ticket due to these emergencies. If you are too ill to travel, you can change your ticket without paying a fee. Most airlines require proving that you are too sick to fly. It is more likely for you to avoid an exchange fee if you can prove that you will endanger other passengers if you were to stick to your original travel plan. If you have a confirmed diagnosis of a highly contagious disease, the airline will probably be allowed to change your plans at no cost. Call the airline and explain your situation.

In case of bad weather, like a winter storm or hurricane, usually airlines proactively offer travelers the option to change their plans at no cost. If you expect bad weather to ruin your plans, call the airline and discuss your options. Many airlines and other travel websites will offer travel insurance for a small fee before the actual booking. This insurance allows you to change or cancel your travel plans without a penalty in the case of covered circumstances. Be sure to read the fine print, as your reasons to change your plans may not be covered. If you purchased travel insurance and have to change your ticket, follow the instructions on the policy.

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Image courtesy of Angela Sabas at Flickr.com

A step-by-step process

It is possible for you to obtain reimbursement of a nonrefundable airline ticket, but this completely depends on the airline, the representative who handles your application and the reasons why you are requesting a refund. Some airlines make exceptions like the ones we mentioned before -a death in the family or a serious illness- while others may offer credit on a ticket that can be used to fly in the future. Here’s a brief guide on how to achieve this:

  1. Contact the customer service department of the airline for which you have non-refundable airline tickets. You can usually find the customer service number on the airline’s website.
  1. Kindly ask for a refund of your non-refundable airline tickets and explain why you can not use them. If you are requesting a refund due to a death in the family or illness, be prepared to provide documentation such as a death certificate or a doctor’s note.
  1. Ask to speak to a customer service supervisor if your request is rejected. If a monetary reimbursement is out of the question, try to negotiate credit to be used on a future flight. However, you may have to pay a fine of $50 to $75 to get the credit.
  1. Understand the restrictions of your right to a ticket credit. In general, you should use the credit within a year and the tickets are nontransferable. Some airlines also the new tickets to have the same route as the unused ones. For example, if your original tickets were for a trip from New York to Chicago, you will have to fly from New York to Chicago with your credit.

Other tips and warnings

The only way to avoid losing money on non-refundable tickets is to purchase fully refundable tickets. If you are worried about not being able to take a flight, make sure that the tickets you buy are refundable. This will ensure that you will get a full refund for your unused airline tickets, regardless of the reason.

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4 of the largest and most comfortable airplanes to travel the world

4 of the largest and most comfortable airplanes to travel the world

Most of the time, traveling means pleasure, especially when you travel to your own chosen locations. Traveling is ideal when looking for adventure, meeting new people or simply leaving things behind and clear one’s mind. Whether you travel on business or for leisure, moving about the world is liberating in its own and considered one of the greatest achievements of our modern society.

When it comes to traveling by airplane, everyone wishes they could do it inside some of the best and most comfortable aircrafts in the world. For those lucky enough, being on these ships may feel like being on a cruise, with large capacity for passengers are able to traverse long distances without any hiccups, these are some of the biggest and most powerful accomplishments of aeronautical engineering today. These flying giants have great hallways, windows, clean engines, large lavatories and private accommodations. They also use cutting edge technology to keep you connected while traveling, carry different types of menus for on-board meals and they are accented with luxury design anywhere you look. Years ago, people wouldn’t have imagined planes this size would exist today, here we have some of the largest and most comfortable models operating today in the air transportation industry.

Lufthansa A340-300 Business-Class_aviation_airplane_shahram shirkhani
Image courtesy of dtrzolek at Flickr.com

Airbus A380-800

The Airbus A380 is a double-deck, wide-body, four-engine jet airliner manufactured by Airbus with a capacity of transporting 853 passengers. Built using mostly aluminum, carbon-fiber reinforced plastic, glass-fiber reinforced plastic and quartz-fiber reinforced plastic; thus making the plane lighter and more aerodynamic regardless of its size. Even though the plane is huge, its fuel management consumption is rather prudent and its engines produce half as much noise than a regular-size airplane. The Airbus A380 can reach a top speed of up to 945 km/h. The program to build it was presented in December of 2000 and it first flew on 27 April 2005 in Toulouse Blagnac International Airport. The first A380 was delivered to Singapore Airlines on 15 October 2007 and entered service on 25 October 2007 making its first trip ever between Singapore and Sydney. Some of the amenities added to this aircrafts by different airlines are: first class suites featuring leather seats and a separate bed, center suites with double bed, lounge couches, an electronic art gallery, hot water shower spas and self-serve snack bars.

Boeing 777-300

The Boeing 777 has a passenger capacity of 550; it can reach a top speed of up to 893 km/h. It has three engine options including the 4098 Pratt & Whitney with a trust of 98.000 lbs. the Trent 892 by Rolls Royce with a trust of 90.000 lbs. and the 90-94B by General Electric with a trust of 93.700 lbs.

Amongst the many features of these airplanes we can count on wide cabins with high ceilings, quiet operation and audio and video on demand to all seats. Its ample space allows passengers to move about the cabin easily to reach lavatories and common areas.

Boeing 747-8

Boeing 747_airplane_aviation_shahram shirkhani
Image courtesy of Kiefer at Flickr.com

The largest 747 version is the largest commercial aircraft built in the United States, and the longest passenger aircraft in the world measuring over 76 meters from head to tail. It has a 358-passenger capacity and it completed its first flight back in 2011. It has plenty of comfortable setting for all business and economy class passengers along its double-deck body. Amenities are quite adequate in the 747-8, and it offers private suits for beds included, dressing rooms, access to bars and ample hallways to move about amongst others. In January 2015, the Air Force announced the selection of the 747-8 to replace the aging VC-25A for presidential transport.

Airbus A340-500

The Airbus A340-500’s performance and comfort allow for a nice and enjoyable traveling experience. It has a capacity for 375 passengers and they are divided in a typical three-class configuration. The aircraft made its debut in 2003 with Emirates Airlines. The A340’s design was made thinking on passenger comfort, offering seats with sliding doors for complete privacy. The suite has a perfectly flat, 6 ft. 8 inch extra wide bed with in-built massage, a 23-inch cinematic widescreen, a personal mini-bar, and a personal wardrobe and even the Coral Economy Class offers a 31.5 to 33-inch seat pitch depending on where you sit on an individual aircraft. Passengers may move freely about the cabin without bothering others while leaving their seats. Seats are sorted by making even-numbered positions made for those traveling accompanied and odd-numbered seats made with dividers to provide passengers traveling alone with more privacy. Most airlines offer a wide variety of foods provided in diverse menus and wine lists as wells as snack bars and a comprehensive flight entertainment system with movies in 60 different languages and just about every genre you can imagine as well as games and music options.

These 6 helpful tips will make your long flight better

These 6 helpful tips will make your long flight better

A couple of decades ago, air travel was a luxury and passengers enjoyed a first class service, with comfortable and spacious seating and of course, delicious food. Unless you travel in first or business class, today you’ll see yourself locked in a cabin with minimal space, while trying your best to get comfortable as you endure a long flight.

If you are about to get on a long plane ride, follow these tips in order to make the experience as comfortable as possible.

  1. Dress comfortably

Traveling might seem glamorous, but being comfortable is way better than being fashionable. Wear clothes that are not too tight, because during a long trip you can feel bloated. If you are a woman I would not recommend wearing a skirt or dress, since you won’t know what position you’ll have to adopt in order to sleep.

Use layers. Maybe the day is warm, but on an aircraft the air conditioning is always high; wear a blazer for cover as the blanket, if there even is one, might be very thin.

As for the shoes, you should consider two things: they should be easy to put on and take off, as they may ask you to take them off when going through security, and they must not be tight, because if you take them off during the flight, you will have to place them back on your swollen feet.

  1. Choose your seat well

Many airlines let you choose your seat while checking in or buying your ticket. If your flight is not very long, -less than 5 hours- and you want to rest, I recommend you going to the bathroom just before boarding, not drinking many liquids and choosing the window seat. Nobody will bother you so you’ll be able to sleep.

If you have a long flight, you will definitely have to stand up, either to go to the lavatory or stretch your legs. If you want the benefit of leaving your seat without disturbing anyone, and letting no one wake you up, choose a corridor seat in the middle column.

Almost all planes that make transcontinental flights have three types of columns: left, middle, right. The middle one has no window, but it has its benefits.

It is true that the emergency row seat has more legroom, but it is not easy to get. In addition, it cannot be reclined.

  1. Food

On a long trip, most airlines will offer several meals. If you have special dietary requirements, let them know in advance, either by phone or through the website of the airline. Those who need special meals get served first, but be warned: unless you ask for the children’s menu, it might not be the best.

In economy class, you get two choices: chicken, beef or some kind of pasta. Never choose the pasta, since when it is reheated it does not usually taste well. Something similar applies to breakfasts: never order the omelette, since reheated eggs are unpalatable and there is always a risk of contamination in foods containing egg.

When choosing what to drink, it is important to stay hydrated. Instead of choosing beers and soft drinks, water will be better and it will help you recover faster when descending. A coffee for breakfast is recommended, but don’t expect the best quality.

My recommendation is to take something with you; a snack that you like, because you don’t know when you’ll be hungry, it can be cereal bars. This is especially important in flights of 3 to 6 hours in length, when they can not offer you much to eat.

  1. Sleeping

Sleeping on a plane is quite an art. You must overcome the discomfort, noise and light: Before traveling, buy an inflatable neck pillow (they are cheap and simple to store), a good mask to avoid light, and earplugs. In many airlines you get these last two items, along with a light blanket (which will be insufficient, so take a jacket or sweatshirt) and a small pillow. I recommend using it for the middle part of your back, which is unsupported in the aircraft seat.

Stand up and walk every few hours, you’ll avoid potential problems and stretch your body. You will need it.

If you need to go to the bathroom, do it after eating, but before the trays are withdrawn. People usually go en masse once this happens, so use that moment.

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Image courtesy of Kevin Morris at Flickr.com
  1. Entertainment

Charge your electronic devices and carry in them enough entertainment for the flight: books on your tablet, movies and games, and the same goes for your smartphone. In most aircraft you’ll find USB ports for charging your gadgets.

If the plane has individual screens, it is a good idea to watch a movie before going to sleep.

  1. Before landing

Shortly before landing, people will again go en masse to the bathroom. Since you’re smarter, do it an hour and a half before landing. You can cool off with wet towels. Do not use the water from the plane’s lavatory.

Put on some deodorant, comb your hair a bit and if you want to brush your teeth, ask for a glass of water from the stewardess. Remember: never use water from the sink.

You have arrived at your destination, healthy, safe and, above all, rested, and not crazy after spending hours locked in an aircraft. You’ll thank me when you return from your next trip.

What is the aviation industry doing about climate change?

What is the aviation industry doing about climate change?

Climate change is the most important global concern of the time since life on earth, as we have known it, is being radically affected by the increase in average global temperature. This crucial issue necessarily puts pressure on every industry, and especially in aviation. Many of us have in mind a general image of airplanes, since apparently effortless, fly at extraordinary speeds carrying lots of people and their baggage for very long distances. What we usually forget is that in order to accomplish the task, they consume vast quantities of fossil fuels that are released every day into the sky, contributing dangerously to the warming of the planet. But on the other hand, the first global climate action framework from any transport sector industry was presented in 2008 by the aviation industry, which has been working since then to limit their environmental impact in the short term.

Aircraft emissions

Emission of aircraft engines could be very similar to any other kind of emissions produced by the combustion of fossil fuels, but the most important difference is that almost all of them are released at high altitudes. As stated in different studies, the CO2 and other greenhouse gases emitted in the ground by fossil fueled vehicles, remain in the atmosphere for centuries causing a warming effect. However, more powerful increases are caused by gases released by planes at high elevations, for instance, vapor trails and ozone, since those chemicals catalyze a number of reactions and atmospheric effects.

According to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), aviation global CO2 emissions are about 2% of total (724 million tones of CO2 were generated in 2014), and about 12% of the CO2 emitted from all transportation sources. From the total aviation emissions, 65% are from international and 35% for domestic flights. But carbon dioxide is not the only greenhouse gas emitted; nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides, ozone, unburned hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide are also exhausted by aircraft engines. Seeing that passenger and cargo air transportation are predicted to grow more than two times the levels of 2004 before 2020, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says that aviation share on global CO2 emissions will increase to more than 5% by 2050 (a worst-case scenario says 15%), due to the increasing demand from passengers, especially in emerging markets.

What is the aviation industry doing to limit its impact?

Working together on actions intended to reduce aviation emissions is a joint effort of the whole sector, including aircraft and engine manufacturers, air traffic managers, airports and airlines. Given the economic size of the industry and the importance of the contribution to the global effort of getting on the 2°C path, there are basically four main topics of action aviation is focusing on:

Air Canada_aviation law_shahram shirkhani
Image courtesy of Roderick Eime at Flickr.com

Innovation in technology

New planes are generally 25% more efficient in fuel terms than previous one, and the planned investment in this matter for the next ten years will be more than $1 trillion. Additionally, aircraft and engine producers spend more than $15 billion yearly on efficiency research. In terms of fuel efficiency standards, a long term initiative will lead to predictable progress, for instance, the use of alternative fuels that have been tested on small scale (such as biomass or waste), which have the potential to cut almost 80% of emissions, compared to actual fuels. Lighter materials used in the construction of aircraft and changes in aerodynamic designs reduce the total weight and drag, a generally improve fuel efficiency. For instance, according to Airbus, A320 airplanes are 40% less expensive to operate than the previous model.

Operations

More efficient traffic control operations have great potential for saving emissions. These could include better traffic management procedures, reducing on-board equipment weight, using optimal ranges for aircraft trips, connecting airplanes directly to electricity sources in the ground while they are parked. For example, an in-flight method for landing called “continuous descent” flight paths, saves more than 140 kg of CO2 per trip.    

Infrastructure

Reducing delays, shortening of flying times, controls on air traffic zones, building common air space among countries, military no- fly zones negotiations, satellite based traffic control (NextGen in the case of U.S.), are a few examples of changes that could effectively contribute to the reduction of Greenhouse Gas emissions. A good example is the design of alternative flying routes that can reduce distance and travel times, that if shortened just by one minute, could save at least 100 kg of CO2.

Market-based measures

More efficient technology and operations will take time to achieve emission targets. Economic measures need to be part of the strategy, and taxation of aviation fuel implemented through international agreements has the potential to incentivize more investment. Global measures need to focus on the internalization of carbon pollution ensuring that passengers are not taxed on multiple levels.   

5 Most Amazing International Airports In The World

5 Most Amazing International Airports In The World

Most airports have a tendency to be practical and simple, they just get the job done in the most efficient manner and are designed that way. There are however, some that make the difference between a great trip and an awful traveling experience. It is important to consider benefits and also other extra perks some airports may offer. Tourist sometimes travel with many bags or a large family, or busy executives sometimes must spend long waits at lounges and boarding gates; both of these types of traveler would appreciate the benefits that a comfortable waiting area has to offer to make their idle time a pleasurable experience. Here we have some of the most comfortable and luxurious airports in the world.

Hong Kong International Airport.

Opened in June of 1998. The base of the airport is a island intertwined by bridges and tunnels where a series of trains and other ground transport operates. It was build upon the small Chek Lap Kok Island and because of this, the airport is also known as Chek Lap Kok Airport. Amongst the services offered there are Internet access points, currency exchange offices, ATMs, a medical center, pharmacy, resting areas, massage parlors, conference rooms and a nine-hole golf course where passengers can spend their leisure time during layovers. The place is famous for its many options of fine dining and its commitment to cleanliness and order. In 2012 the airport added a third runway thus increasing its capacity. It receives about 56.1 million passengers a year.

Singapore Changi Airport.

Opened since 1981. It has about 919 skylights that allow the pass of natural light and those same panels light up during the night. It has Jacuzzi, spa, indoor gardens, movie theatres, karaoke bar, a four-story-high slide, seats equipped with alarms so you don’t miss your boarding time, areas with hammocks and lots of green; all of these is free to passengers. The carpeted floors always impeccable, contrast with the gardens and evergreen decorations that you can see all around you and the soothing musical themes that perfectly mix with the relaxing environment. The airport also has an outdoor pool and a butterfly garden. This airport is a perfect place to have a long layover, even if you travel with children, since a lot of their facilities are especially inclusive of families and offer entertainment for everyone in your party. It services about 51.2 million passengers a year.

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Image courtesy of Steve Lacey at Flickr.com

Munich  Airport.

It has been in operation since 1992. Considered one of the best, most modern and efficient airports in the world. It currently has two terminals that meet at Munich Airport Center. It receives inbound flights from all of Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the United States and Canada amongst others. The place is admired for it’s beautiful glass and see-through architecture that gives it a much more spacious feel. It has multiple VIP rooms for passengers to relax as they spend their layover in a relaxing atmosphere. Shopping here is a great experience with more than 150 name brand stores and with over 50 places to eat in comfort. It was voted the best airport in central Europe and World’s Best Airport for Dining. It services around 38.4 million passengers a year.

Munich airport._aviation law_aviation_shahram shirkhani
Image courtesy of vjpaul at Flickr.com

Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Located in Malaysia, it opened the 27th of June of 1998. Considered one of the most beautiful airports in the world. Its design is based in an airport in the jungle, or the jungle in an airport. It’s surrounded by trees, green spaces and an actual piece of the jungle, roots and all was transplanted to make its home there. It has a large number of information desks and kiosks for self-service located throughout the whole airport and its satellite holding areas. The main building has banks, currency exchange offices, ATMs, free Internet access and a huge selection of places to drink and dine. There are all kinds of stores for shopping from books and clothes to toys and electronics. It also has a daycare, play areas and a 24-hour clinic. It services about 48.2 million passengers a year.

Zurich Airport.

This is the largest international airport in Switzerland and with a significant expansion in 2003. It opened in 1959. It has two terminals where you can find great services and comfort for passengers like VIP rooms, cafes, pastry shops, restaurants, bars, clothing and cosmetic stores and many others. Their access to public transportation is greatly admired. The airport won Best Baggage Delivery Service in Europe; partly due to their innovative porter service that picks ups and delivers your luggage from and to any place in the airport. It also has an automated train called the Skymetro to shuttle travelers around. It services about 24.8 million passengers a year.