Airfare increases seem to go skyward more frequently than airplanes these days. Here are some suggestions from your Better Business Bureau to help you make travel arrangements.
• Fly early. Your flight is less likely to be delayed if it’s early in the day. You’ll also have more rerouting options at that time. The Bureau of Transportation reports that over 25 percent of all flights in 2011 were delayed so be proactive by considering your flight’s time of day and try to beat the odds.
• Know your rights. Most airlines will rebook you at no charge on the next available flight, should yours be canceled. If the delay is significant, find out if another carrier has open seats and ask the first airline to endorse your ticket to that carrier. Airlines are required to compensate you only when you are “bumped” from a flight. They almost always refuse to pay passengers for financial losses resulting from a delayed flight.
• Pay with a credit card. That will give you protection under federal credit regulations.
Flying is not the experience it was years ago. If you are driving be sure your adventure is memorable for the right reasons by observing these tips:
• Check your car’s road-worthiness. Inspect fluids, tires, belts, wipers and lights. Remember that properly inflated tires increase gas mileage. Be sure your spare tire is aired up as well.
• Have an emergency kit. These essentials should be in your car: cellphone charger, sun screen, flashlight and batteries, matches or lighter, snacks, bottled water, first aid kit, jumper cables, signal flares, pocket knife (hey – you’re not flying so it’s legal), paper towels, hand cleaner and an extra quart of oil. A road atlas is a must for cars unequipped with GPS.
• A list of emergency numbers. This will come in handy in case of accident or needed medical assistance. Keep a list of family members’ medications and dosages as well.
• Leave your itinerary with someone. A neighbor or friend my need to reach you during your trip.
• Have your vital information with you. This includes your driver’s license, health insurance cards, automobile club card and passport, all photocopied in case your wallet or purse is stolen.
Seniors and those on Medicare or with a medical card may receiving phone calls from people saying they want to update information to send them a new card. These are not legitimate phone calls.
The caller may state that he or she has a new Medicare card or medical card to send and asks for the consumer’s bank account number to verify the identity.
Medicare does not make phone calls regarding new cards.
If you have received one of these calls contact the Office Inspector General with the Medicare hotline at 1-800-447-8477.
The BBB advises consumers not to give out personal information over the phone. If you have, contact the BBB office for help.