Hundreds of bags abandoned after thousands of Delta flight cancellations

Published: Monday, April 10, 2017 @ 12:34 PM

What To Do the Minute Your Flight is Canceled

Although Delta Air Lines’ operations were finally returning to normal Monday after five days of thousands of flight cancellations, hundreds of stranded bags left on the airport floor and thousands of frustrated passengers remained in the aftermath of the airline’s chaotic period.

>> Read more trending news

Delta canceled close to 3,500 flights between Wednesday and Sunday, and many passengers became disconnected from their bags in the process, meaning that even after they got to their destinations, they were left without their packed clothing and other belongings.

Hundreds of bags were left on the floor at Delta baggage claim at the Atlanta airport in the aftermath of the airline's thousands of flight cancellations since Wednesday.(Photo taken by Kelly Yamanouchi, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

>> Related: Here’s why one day of thunderstorms turned into a five-day Delta meltdown

Kerlene Moore was supposed to return home Thursday from a visit with her 3-year-old daughter to see her parents in Palm Beach. But after her flight was canceled, she never got her luggage back and had to buy new clothes during the four-day delay.

When she got into Atlanta Monday morning, she encountered rows of baggage lined up on the floor at baggage claim.

“They just told me to start here,” Moore said as she and her daughter, Kennedi, walked between the rows of baggage. “This is ridiculous. If I don’t find my bags, I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

Kerlene Moore and her daughter, Kennedi(Photo taken by Kelly Yamanouchi, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution )

Mikeal Dennard was trying to return from a trip to California when he had two Delta flights canceled on Wednesday and Thursday.

>> Related: Delta flight cancellations continue: “It was like a madhouse”

After spending hundreds of dollars extra and then finally booking a flight on Southwest and getting home on Friday, he learned that his baggage wouldn’t arrive until Sunday on Delta.

But on Monday, he didn’t find his baggage in the lines of suitcases as employees searched in the basement.

Dennard, Moore and many other passengers have also run into the problem of hours-long waits for customer service on Delta’s phone lines.

“Right now everybody’s so overwhelmed where they’re starting to lose bags,” Dennard said. “I think it’s partly disorganization.”

“I fly a lot ... This is the worst it’s ever been,” Dennard said. “It’s horrible.”

>> Related: Woman allegedly kicked off flight because of revealing top

U.S. issues ‘do not travel’ advisory for 5 states in Mexico

Published: Thursday, January 11, 2018 @ 12:32 PM

‘Do Not Travel Advisory’ To Five Mexico States Issued By U.S.

The U.S. Department of State has issued a travel advisory urging citizens to use increased caution when traveling to five states in Mexico.

USA Today reported that the new warning from the government has increased the Colima, Guerrero, Michoacán, Sinaloa and Tamaulipas states to a level 4, the highest level of potential danger. 

The warning for the states, issued Thursday, was raised due to crime.

>> Read more trending news 

The State Department already recommends that travelers use “increased caution” when in Mexico because of widespread crime, such as kidnapping, homicide, carjacking and robbery, USA Today reported.

The department recommends that those who decide to travel to Mexico to use toll roads, avoid night driving, be extra vigilant when visiting banks and ATMs, use caution when visiting local bars, nightclubs and casinos, and to avoid displaying signs of wealth. Travelers are also urged to enroll in Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to make locating easier in an emergency and to have an emergency contingency plan. Travelers should also review crime and safety reports for Mexico.

More information on the travel advisory can be found at travel.state.gov.

Woman sues hotel after she claims she was charged $350 after negative review

Published: Wednesday, December 20, 2017 @ 4:48 AM

Woman Files Lawsuit After Hotel Charges Her For Bad Review

An Indiana woman is taking a hotel to court saying that she was charged $350 for a negative online review and the hotel claims it has a right to charge customers who give them bad reviews.

Katrina Arthur and her husband stayed at Abbey Inn & Suites in March 2016.

Arthur alleges that when they arrived, the room was not cleaned. She said she found hair and dirt in the sheets. The air conditioner didn’t work and the room smelled like sewage. She also said there was little water pressure, WRTV reported.

>> Read more trending news 

“We didn’t see anybody we could talk with, so I decided to call the number that goes to the front desk and it automatically went to a lawyer’s or something weird like that,” Arthur told WRTV.

She told the television station that she cleaned the room herself.

After the stay, she said she received an email asking for an online review. 

“I was honest. I wanted people to know not to waste their money because I know people save their money for special occasions,” Arthur told WRTV.

That’s when Arthur said she was charged $350 and received a letter from the hotel’s lawyer that threatened legal action.

She ended up deleting her review.

But then she did some checking and found out that she may not have been alone and filed a complaint with the Indiana Attorney General to get her $350 back.

The Attorney General filed a lawsuit this month against Abbey Management, the hotel’s owners at the time of Arthur’s stay, WRTV reported.

The lawsuit alleges that for more than a year, Abbey Inn had rules that allowed them to charge customers if they left a negative review. The policy was posted on the hotel’s website, but customers were not given a hard copy of the rule, and it was not posted in hotel common areas or rooms, according to the Attorney General.

The email that solicited reviews also made no mention of the fine, WRTV reported.

The lawsuit also alleges that there were no employees at the hotel to handle issues, but rather a sign instructed lodgers to call an overnight phone number. If there was no emergency and the number was called, the hotel would charge the guest $100.

The current owner did not answer WRTV’S attempts to get a response about the pending lawsuit, but a woman who, along with her husband, have been trying to buy the Abbey Inn since January told WRTV that she was unaware of any litigation against the owners. She told WRTV that they are attempting to improve the hotel.

Holiday travel with kids: Top survival tips

Published: Wednesday, November 08, 2017 @ 3:06 PM

5 Free Things You Can Get When You Fly

Holiday travel with kids can be a challenge. Whether you’re driving or flying, normal routines are interrupted, and challenges such as traffic jams or delayed flights can lead to boredom and fussy children.
 
A little preparation can go a long way to making a holiday trip with kids go more smoothly.
 
The following tips from sources such as ParentsReader’s Digest and the AJC will help everyone keep their sanity when embarking on holiday travel with kids.
 
Pack ahead of time
If you’re stressed at the start of your trip, you could be setting the tone for your entire first day. If possible, have everything packed the night before so you’re not rushed and cranky when you’re starting your trip.
 
Prepare some snacks
Even adults can get cranky when they’re hungry, so why should kids be any different? Be prepared with snacks like cereal, pretzels, granola bars or string cheese and have them easily accessible in the car or on the plane. Water is also a good choice for a drink, since kids aren’t likely to guzzle more than they need. If you’re flying, you can pick these items up at an airport store after you’ve gone through security.
 
Bring some distractions
Help your child pack some small, quiet toys, books, a small box of crayons, paper and a favorite stuffed animal or blanket for the trip. These will help keep them busy and offer comfort in unfamiliar places or situations.
 
Let kids help plan
Allow children to have input on sightseeing when making travel plans. Maintaining a child’s interest can make for smoother travel. Let kids choose their own entertainment when traveling. On long road trips, try to find points of interest along the way if you have time.
 
On the road
 
Prepare for emergencies
If you’re hitting the road for a long trip, have your mechanic check your car out before you go. Few things can ruin a trip faster than a breakdown along the way. While you’re at it, also pack a basic first aid kit, a flashlight and jumper cables.
 
Get enough sleep
This advice holds true for both parents and kids. If everyone is sleep-deprived, they’re likely to be cranky. And if you’re driving, you’ll need to be as alert as possible.
 
Use Pull-Ups
For those with very young children, you may want to use Pull-Ups even If they are potty-trained. If you’re stuck in traffic and are miles away from the nearest bathroom, they can provide an emergency back-up. The same goes for flying, during takeoff and landing when passengers are not allowed out of their seats.
 
Take frequent breaks
Stop every couple of hours if you’re on a long road trip. This can give kids a chance to stretch their legs and burn off some energy. 
 
Prepare for messes
Have an extra change of clothes for everyone, as well as wipes and resealable plastic bags. Traveling with kids often means dealing with a diaper blowout, car sickness or other unexpected mess.
 
Point out the sights
Holiday travel with kids can involve some long, boring stretches, but they can often enjoy mundane sights like a funny billboard and farms with cows and horses. If it’s a long trip, your child may also enjoy seeing changes in terrain along the way.
 
In the air
 
Fly early in the morning if possible
Early flights are less likely to experience delays, and they’re often less crowded. With any luck, your kids will end up napping for part of the flight. 
 
Dress in layers
You’ll be outdoors, in the airport and in the airplane cabin, so your child can experience a wide variety of temperatures. Dressing in layers can allow him or her to add or slip off a jacket or another layer if necessary.
 
Make sure you’re sitting together
Since computers assign seats, make sure you’re sitting together before you board the plane. Be sure to check and sort it out before boarding begins.
 
Board early
Parents with young children are sometimes allowed to board the plane before other passengers, so you can have a minute to let your kids check out the seat, window shades and bathroom. You’ll have the chance to get settled in and not feel like you’re in such a rush.
 
Keep it clean
Wipe down surfaces that can harbor germs, like trays. Also carry along hand sanitizer to use before eating or in other cases where germs can easily be transmitted.
 
Don’t pull out everything at once
Don’t pull out your child’s entire stash of snacks and entertainment right when you’re seated. Most kids will find flying to be exciting at first. Once they’re been in the air a while and have become bored, then you can reach for the toys and food.

Thanksgiving 2017 travel trends and tips

Published: Wednesday, November 08, 2017 @ 12:39 PM

Thanksgiving - By the Numbers

Whether your Thanksgiving travel plans involve domestic destinations or an international getaway, understanding holiday travel trends for 2017 can help you maximize your Thanksgiving travel budget and minimize stress.

Here are the key travel trends for Thanksgiving, including best and worst places to visit, busiest airports and a look at gas prices for those whose Thanksgiving travel plans includes hitting the road.
 
Thanksgiving 2017 travel trend watch
 
Top trending destinations for Thanksgiving 2017: According to a report by the Points Guy, Google Flights data determined the following as the trending destinations for Thanksgiving in 2017.
 
In the U.S.:

Honolulu, Hawaii
Tucson, Ariz.
Burbank, Calif.
Providence, R.I.
Fairbanks, Alaska
 
International:

Brussels, Belgium
Rome, Italy
Nice, France
Malaga, Spain
Amsterdam, the Netherlands
 
The most wallet-friendly places to visit this Thanksgiving

GOBankingRates used cost of hotels, holiday flights, food, drinks, transportation and entertainment to come up with the most expensive places you could travel for Thanksgiving this year. One of the priciest to visit at Thanksgiving was Cape Town, South Africa. Winter for us is summer in South Africa, and it costs $1,341 to fly from Los Angeles to Cape Town during Thanksgiving, more than any other city on the GOBankingRates list. The average daily cost of meals came in at $48, with the daily drink cost average at $24.

GOBankingRates had much better news at the other end of the spectrum. It listed these three among its most affordable places to visit during Thanksgiving.

  • Seattle: Holiday flights to Seattle are cheaper than to most other cities in the rankings and the average nightly hotel rate during Thanksgiving is $142.
  • Chicago: You’ll be rewarded for braving chilly temperatures with low average nightly hotel rates of $87 during Thanksgiving. And holiday flights to Chicago are among the cheapest in the rankings.
  • San Francisco: The average nightly rate for a hotel during both Thanksgiving and Christmas is $121 and within San Francisco, transportation costs are among the lowest in the rankings and you can see the city’s most popular tourist attractions for free.

KAYAK also ranked "wallet-friendly" Thanksgiving destinations for 2017 using its billions of annual search queries, coming up with these Top 10: Chicago, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Dallas, New York, Calgary and Seattle.
 
Highest and lowest gas costs

If your Thanksgiving travel plans include driving, you’ll want to know the gas price trends.

As of Nov. 7, 2017, the national gas price range was $2.21 per gallon to $3.22 per gallon, according to AAA.

Gas Buddy lets you see gas prices around the country at a glance with a color-coded map indicating the average price for regular unleaded gasoline.

Generally, you'd pay the least for gas in Texas, Midwest states including Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Virginia and Oklahoma and Southeastern states including the Carolinas, Virginia and Georgia (Florida is slightly higher.) As you make your way into Northern, Northwestern and Pacific Northwest states you'll encounter the highest gas prices, with California topping the list to the West.

If you're concerned that gas costs will derail your travel budget, check the AAA website a few days before Thanksgiving to get a prediction on how gas prices will fare during 2017 Thanksgiving peak car travel days.

Top 10 busiest airports Thanksgiving 2017

Whether hustle and bustle is your thing or you're looking for an excuse to stay out of the fray, these 10 airports will be the busiest in the U.S. come Thanksgiving, according to Google Flights:

  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Ft. Lauderdale
  • Honolulu
  • Las Vegas
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • New York City
  • Orlando
  • San Francisco

 
Travel tips Thanksgiving 2017
 
When to book: KAYAK's annual Holiday Hacker Guide has a hard and fast rule for Thanksgiving fliers: Avoid flying the Sunday after Thanksgiving. KAYAK data pegs that day as one of the most expensive departure dates.

KAYAK also shared the best days to fly for the price-conscious, based on 2016 data. The best 2016 flight deals were for those who could depart and fly back on Thanksgiving day (median price $163 in 2016) or Black Friday ($261), leave the Monday before Thanksgiving and return Thanksgiving day or Black Friday ($286 and $300) or leave the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and return Thanksgiving Day or Black Friday ($296 and $299.)

Book your flight ahead of the price increases. While variances are inevitable, a good rule of thumb is to expect fares to increase 21, 14 and again 7 days before your desired departure date, according to Google Flights.
 
Plan your road trip costs: To make sure you'll still have money left over for Black Friday, or to avoid arguments with your cheapskate co-travelers, use Gas Buddy's trip cost calculator to plan how much you'll spend getting to Thanksgiving get-togethers.
 
Consider getting away instead of going home. The Points Guy blogger reported 5 top holiday tips from the Google flights team, and this was both the most radical and most sensible idea. If you won't be drummed out of the family over your choice, consider a brief vacation instead of going to a traditional Thanksgiving gathering.

If you can’t afford a high-cost Thanksgiving travel destination, consider traveling to a less popular destination over Thanksgiving week. The Points Guy says that in some cases, travelers can visit international destinations for less than domestic fares during the holiday season.

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