There are currently seven states (Louisiana, Missouri, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Rhode Island, and Connecticut) which are not presently in compliance with the REAL ID Act passed by Congress that established minimum security standards for state-issued ID’s such as drivers licenses, that are currently used as ID cards for air travelers. Beginning on January 22, 2018 every traveler will need a REAL-ID compliant driver’s license or state ID (or passport) to fly within the U.S.. The good news is that all the seven states (above) that are not compliant, have submitted extension requests with the hopes that each state is able to have new extensions granted before the deadline ends on January 21, 2018. To check to see if your state is compliant with the REAL-ID Act you can visit https://www.dhs.gov/real-id . My gut reaction is that the Department of Homeland Security will work feverishly with each of the seven states to try to provide them with some kind of extension as if this is implemented it would have a severe impact on the traveling public.
Complimentary domestic upgrades are becoming a joke for most low-tier elite frequent flyer members –
I recently was waiting to get on a flight at a major hub airport and noticed there were over 50 people on the wait list for upgrades to first class. This flight had only 12 first class seats and most of them were already full, so there were going to be a lot of disappointed frequent travelers. One of the big perks that airlines boast about for becoming an Elite frequent flyer member is that you will receive complimentary upgrades based on your status. The higher your status the higher on the list you are to be upgraded. The bottom line is that if you are in the lowest two tiers of the airline frequent flyer programs (Silver and Gold on United & Delta, Gold and Platinum on AA) you have very little odds in getting a free domestic upgrade, especially if you are flying through an airline hub. There is an old saying “always under promise and over deliver”. I think the airlines would be better off not mentioning that lower-tier elite frequent flyer members get complimentary upgrades. The last thing you want to do is disappoint your best customers.
Be sure to file a lost/damaged luggage claim with the airlines within 24 hours of loss –
My wife recently returned home from a trip and when she got her luggage from the carousel she noticed it had a big rip in it. It was late at night so she decided to head for home with the idea of filing a damage luggage report with the airlines the next day. Well, the next day turned into the next week and by the time she filed the online claim with the airline, she was told that all claims must be filedwithin 24 hours of the loss or no claims would be accepted or paid. Lesson learned is do not procrastinate filing any claims with the airlines. Remember “Customer Service” is an oxymoron to them.
United Airlines offering discounted MileagePlus awards for travel to Hawaii –
United sent their frequent travelers an email this weekend announcing their “Cyber Monday” special offering a 20% discount on the mileage required (discounted from 45,000 miles to 36,000 miles) for round trip tickets to Hawaii. This special only applies to saver award tickets for travel booked by December 8th for travel between January 7th and March 10th, 2018. CLICK HERE for more details.
Hawaii expected to be on sale in 2018 –
Prices for travel to Hawaii for the last several years have been sky high with roundtrip prices from the Midwest of $800 to over $1200. Great news for travelers came a few weeks ago when Southwest Airlines announced they would be soon flying to Hawaii from the mainland. This is setting off a fare war and now all the airlines flying to Hawaii are scrambling to protect their turf by lowering prices to Hawaii. This last week I saw roundtrip prices from the West coast for as little as $349 and from Kansas City as low as $549 in February. The average price has declined almost 25% from normal prices of a few months ago. Call one of our friendly travel advisors at 402-435-8888 to have them help you find the perfect vacation.
Steve’s Travel tip #133 – How to get your luggage to be first at Baggage Claim –
One of the most frustrating things that happen to travelers is when they have to wait 30 minutes to get their luggage at the baggage claim carousel. I have a couple of ideas that often have worked for me so that my luggage arrives first and I am on my way.
#1 Ask the counter agent to be sure to put a priority tag on my luggage. If you are an elite member of an airline frequent flyer program they will be happy to add this tag which sometimes makes it first to arrive.
#2 Believe it or not, simply being the last one to check in for the flight will often make your luggage the last one on the plane and the first luggage off.
#3 Ask for a fragile sticker to put on your luggage. This is the oldest trick in the book and usually makes them load your luggage last so it does not get squished, making it the first luggage off.