Travel e-Scapes: December 16, 2016



Travel e-Scapes: 12162016

HURRY! Round-trip from Atlanta:
$247 Cancun, Mexico
A 21-day advance purchase required
Valid daily through November 13, 2017
Routing is via Dallas or Miami on American Airlines
One-way travel permitted


The U.S. government fined four of the country’s largest airlines for inaccurate information provided to passengers explaining compensation for those who are involuntarily bumped from flights or loss or damage to their baggage. American Airlines was fined $45,000, United Airlines $35,000 and Southwest Airlines and Alaska Airlines $40,000 each. While carrying out their airport inspections, DOT investigators found that airline agents at gates and ticket counters had outdated or inaccurate information.
The DOT requires each airline to give all passengers who are bumped involuntarily a written statement describing their rights and explaining how the carrier decides who gets on an oversold flight and who doesn’t. Those travelers who don’t get to fly are frequently entitled to denied boarding compensation in the form of a check or cash. The amount depends on the price of their ticket and the length of the delay:

  • If you are bumped involuntarily and the airline arranges substitute transportation that is scheduled to get you to your final destination (including later connections) within 1 hour of your original scheduled arrival time, there is no compensation.
  • If the airline arranges substitute transportation that is scheduled to arrive at your destination between 1-2 hours after your original arrival time (1-4 international), the airline must pay you an amount equal to 200% of your one-way fare to your final destination that day, with a $675 maximum.
  • If the substitute transportation is scheduled to get you to your destination more than 2 hours later (4 hours international), or if the airline does not make any substitute travel arrangements for you, the compensation doubles to 400% of your one-way fare, or $1,350 maximum.
  • If your ticket does not show a fare (frequent-flyer award ticket or consolidator ticket), your denied boarding compensation is based on the lowest cash, check or credit card payment charged for a ticket in the same class of service (coach, first class) on that flight. You always get to keep your original ticket and use it on another flight.
  • If you choose to make your own arrangements, you can request an ‘involuntary refund’ for the ticket for the flight you were bumped from. The denied boarding compensation is essentially a payment for your inconvenience.
  • If you paid for optional services on your original flight (seat selection, checked baggage) and you did not receive those services on your substitute flight or were required to pay a second time, the airline that bumped you must refund those payments to you.

Visit the DOT for full federal law on flyer rights. 

Bye, Bye to Rome’s Gladiators & Buses
Fake gladiators and rickshaws hovering around Rome’s Colosseum, monuments and major attractions have been banned through July ’17. Recent complaints of gladiator characters and rickshaw operators overcharging tourists for photos to pick-pocketing tourists forced the city’s mayor Virginia Raggi to fine violators up to €400 ($430). Authorities said the goal is to protect public order as well as Rome’s ‘cultural, artistic and monumental heritage.’
Authorities estimate that some of the performers were earning as much as €12,000 ($12,875) a month.
Other destinations in Italy, including Verona, allow gladiator characters and other entertainers to pay €10 ($11) and register for space online.
In other news from Rome, plans are underway to restrict tourist buses in the historic center of the capital.
Under the proposals, the city will be divided into three zones (currently two) where buses will be subject to paying high fees for a day pass. Exempt are electric buses that can enter a zone at half-price.
A third, ‘C’ zone comprising the city’s historic center and main tourist area and will be off-limits to all buses, except those school buses and those needed by the disabled.
Rome’s local council is expected to enforce the proposals starting on January 1, 2018.


Airfare offers – ones with a ticket-by date – and deals with our suggestion to ‘Hurry!’ can expire at any time.   Heed Clark’s advice: Buy that great airfare deal – and then figure out a reason to go there! Eventually, you’ll see the world at a fraction of the normal price!

TODAY! Round-trip from Atlanta (one-way permitted):
$86 Philadelphia, or $43 each way
Valid Tuesday, Wednesday
Start travel on or after December 28
Finish travel on or before February 15
Blackout dates: January 2, 3, 8
Valid on American, nonstop
Purchase today, December 16

Round-trip from Atlanta (one-way permitted):
$136 Phoenix, or $63 each way
A 7-day advance purchase required
Valid Wednesday or Saturday through March 8
Blackout dates: December 23, 26, 27; January 2, 3, 8; February 17, 20; March 3, 5
Valid on American, nonstop
Purchase by December 19

Round-trip from Atlanta (one-way permitted):
$146 Los Angeles, or $73 each way
A 7-day advance purchase required
Valid Wednesday or Saturday through March 7
Blackout dates: December 23, 26, 27; January 2, 3, 8; February 17, 20; March 3, 5
Valid on American, nonstop
Purchase by December 19

HURRY! Round-trip from Atlanta (one-way permitted):
$160 Denver
A 21-day advance purchase required
Valid daily through March 8, 2017
A Saturday night stay required
Valid on Delta or United, nonstop
Delta blackout dates: January 7, 13; February 16-18, 20
United blackout dates: January 7, 8; March 3, 5


Round-trip from Atlanta (one-way permitted):
$196 San Francisco, or $98 each way
A 7-day advance purchase required
Valid Tuesday or Wednesday through March 6
Add just $5 per direction for Monday-Wednesday or Sunday west and/or Tuesday-Friday east
Blackout date: February 20
Valid on Frontier, nonstop
Purchase by December 19

HURRY! Round-trip from Atlanta:
$306 Ontario, California, or $153 each way
A 21-day advance purchase required
Valid daily through November 13, 2017
No blackout dates
Valid on United via Houston

Round-trip from Atlanta (one-way permitted):
$316 Seattle, or $158 each way
A 14-day advance purchase required
Valid Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday starting January 3
Final travel date is January 24
Blackout dates: December 30; January 1, 2
Valid on Alaska Airlines, nonstop
Purchase by December 19
The same rate applies on travel finished on or before March 13 (21-day advance purchase required)

HURRY! Round-trip from Atlanta:
$317 Palm Springs, California
A 21-day advance purchase required
Valid daily through November 13, 2017
No blackout dates
American, Delta and United participate; all require one flight connection

WOW! Round-trip from Boston:
$433 Boston to London City Airport (LCY)
No advance purchase required
Valid daily through March 31
A 7-night minimum stay required
Valid on Aer Lingus via Shannon or Dublin
Two free Ireland stopovers permitted
Purchase by January 5
Note: RT ATL-Boston rates are as low as $86 for a total of $519 ATL-London with optional stops in Ireland!

TODAY! Round-trip from Atlanta:
$444 St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
A 14-day advance purchase required
Valid on Saturday nonstop service through August 26
Rates are $453 on other days with connecting service via San Juan
Valid on Delta
Purchase today, December 16 

HURRY! Round-trip from Atlanta (one-way permitted):
$486 Grand Cayman Island
A 7-day advance purchase required
Valid daily through November 13, 2017
No blackout dates
Valid on United via Houston
One-way travel permitted: $203 south; $283 north
Compare to Delta’s rate of $724 round-trip

NOTE: Airline fees can and often do exceed the cost of your flight! Additional charges now apply to budget and sale rates on most airlines for a carry-on bag, checked baggage and advance seat assignments. The least expensive fees are charged when these options are purchased during the ticket booking process. Fees climb higher after flights are reserved and even higher when adding these options at airport check-in. Kayak offers the most up-to-date Fees Chart for all domestic and international airlines.  

How do you find these great airfare deals? Visit Clark’s Atlanta Travel Tips page for a step-by-step guide.


Winter in the Channel Islands
Santa Catalina, one of California’s Channel Islands, lies 22 miles off the coast of mainland California and southwest of Los Angeles. It is known for its wildlife, dive sites and Mt. Orizaba, its highest peak. The resort town of Two Harbors lies to the north, a spectacular remote location with campgrounds and beautiful beaches. To the south, in the city of Avalon, palm trees and cabanas line Descanso Beach. Avalon’s circular, art deco Catalina Casino is a cultural center with a movie theater, ballroom and museum.
Get there aboard the Catalina Express from the ports in Long Beach, San Pedro and Dana Point. The travel time is just over and hour and travelers can choose from up to 30 daily year-round departures.
The Catalina Express joins with 19 Avalon hotels to offer the ‘Best of Winter’ combination boat and hotel packages through March 2017. Each package includes round-trip transportation and one- or two-night hotel accommodations with savings of up to 65% off. Some Avalon hotels include continental breakfast, wine and cheese hours or champagne or wine on arrival.
Sample rates here are per person, per night:  
From $81: Hotel Catalina & Courtyard Garden Suites
From $109: Hotel Atwater, located in the heart of Avalon
From $116: Hotel Vista Del Mar with continental breakfast, evening milk & cookies and a complimentary bottle of champagne
From $128: Snug Harbor Inn with in-room continental breakfast, evening wine and hors d’oeuvres, wine or champagne on arrival
From $129: Pavilion Hotel with hot breakfast, daily wine and cheese  reception, fitness classes
From $145: Hotel Villa Portofino, European-style waterfront
Many other properties are participating.
Discover more about Catalina Island and find discount offers on dining and activities online.


Panama City Beach
The new Sheraton Bay Point in Panama City Beach opened last month following a $30 million renovation. The resort was rebranded from the Marriott property built in the 80s.
This tranquil resort is off the main coastal strip of high-rise condos and hotels and is surrounded by a lagoon across from a state park and a 36-hole Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course.
It’s away from the beach, but visitors can still hit soak up the sun.
Guests have access to a private beach accessible by boardwalk on an isthmus across the lagoon, a shuttle to Gulf beaches, or a water launch on the hotel’s private boat (included in the hotel’s daily resort fee) to the undeveloped Shell Island.
On site are several dining options in the main building, poolside, on the boardwalk or on the private beach – and a full-service spa.  
Grand Opening rates, available through March 31 start from $116

Travel e-Scapes is brought to you by Clara Bosonetto, Team Clark Travel Editor. Follow Clara on Twitter.

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