Travel e-Scapes: June 23, 2015

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DESTINATION & DEAL OF THE DAY: 
Long Beach, CA –Gateway to Southern California’s coastal towns.

Travel e-Scapes: June 23, 2015

One-way from Atlanta, each way: $112 to Long Beach
A 14-day advance purchase required
Travel any available day
Complete travel on or before May 19, 2016
No blackout dates!
Valid on American(+Fees $) via Phoenix
Stopovers not permitted


TRAVEL TIPS & TIDBITS

Busch Gardens Early-Zombie Deal
Elaborate haunted houses have become hugely popular at Busch Gardens, the Tampa theme park. Crowds for Halloween-themed special events now dwarf the number of spring break visitors. Last year’s laser-tag zombie hunting feature at Busch Gardens was touted as a U.S. theme park first.
The 2014 admission to Howl-O-Scream ran $35 to $89, with front-line access packages ranging from $26 to $219.
Tickets are on sale now and a Freaky Preview ticket comes with an added bonus of early access at 5 p.m. before the 7:30 opening of Howl-O-Scream, allowing access to rides and dining options.

The 2015 Howl-O-Scream ‘Summer Deal’ price of $35 is valid for the Freaky Preview (September 25-26) and $45 for entry during the month of October. Admission ticket prices will rise closer to the event. 

Passenger Rights
Two travel horror stories involving United Airlines stranding hundreds of passengers have made the headlines already this month. One found passengers having to sleep in a cold military barracks before arriving to their final destination of London three days later. And more recently, passengers on a Rome-to-Chicago flight were forced to spend an overnight on the floor of the Belfast airport after a passenger became unruly. Before crossing the Atlantic, United handed him over to authorities and the flight crew needed to rest after exceeding their max hours.
What do you do as a passenger when inconvenience crosses the line into a violation of your rights?  Here are a few reminders of the rights you have when you fly before you take off on your next journey:
When Your Flight is Delayed or Canceled:
If your flight is delayed or canceled for problems beyond anyone’s control, like weather or safety issues, most airlines will rebook you on the next available flight at no charge. They may even book you with another airline without charging you extra. Airlines are not required to provide any amenities, such as meal vouchers or hotel rooms, in this situation.
Similarly, if your flight is delayed or canceled for something the airline could control, such as a maintenance issue, the airline will likely rebook you on the next available flight, either theirs or another airline, at no charge. The airline is still not required to provide amenities, however, many will provide meal vouchers and even hotel rooms and grooming kits if your delay causes an unexpected overnight stay.
When You’re Bumped from Your Flight:
If you are ‘bumped’ for a domestic flight that is oversold, you are likely legally entitled to compensation for a new flight. Generally, when the flight is oversold, the airlines will ask for willing passengers to volunteer to give up their seats in exchange for a later flight and compensation. They may also negotiate with free tickets or travel vouchers. If you accept one of these offers, find out if the ticket has an expiration or if the ticket can be used only on certain days of the week or certain seasons.
If no one volunteers and you’re bumped involuntarily, you should receive a written statement from the airline that describes your rights and how the carrier decided which passengers were bumped. If you’re not rebooked and scheduled to arrive at your destination within one hour of your originally scheduled arrival time, then you are entitled to compensation in the form of a check or cash. The amount depends on the ticket price and length of delay. To be eligible for compensation, you must have a confirmed reservation and have checked-in with the airline within their deadlines.
If the airline must substitute a smaller plane for the one it originally planned to use, the carrier isn’t required to pay people who are bumped as a result. In addition, on domestic flights using aircraft with 30 through 60 passenger seats, compensation is not required if you were bumped due to safety-related aircraft weight or balance constraints.
When You’re on the Tarmac:
If your domestic flight is delayed on the tarmac (before or after landing) for more than three hours, you are entitled to food and water no later than two hours after the delay begins. Lavatories must remain operable and medical attention must be available if needed. DOT rules prohibit most U.S. airlines to remain on the tarmac for more than three hours unless air traffic control or the pilot decides there are reasons related to safety, security or airport operations.


SPECIAL DOMESTIC & INTERNATIONAL OFFERS

Airfare offers – ones with a ticket-by date – and deals with our suggestion to ‘Hurry!’ can expire at anytime.   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!

HURRY! One-way from Atlanta, each way:
$68 Chicago-O’Hare
A 14-day advance purchase required
Travel any available day
Complete travel on or before May 19, 2016
No blackout dates!
Valid on American(+Fees $), nonstop

HURRY! One-way from Atlanta, each way:
$125 New York City-LaGuardia
A 21-day advance purchase required
Travel any available day
Complete travel on or before May 19, 2016
No blackout dates!
Valid on American(+Fees $), nonstop

Round-trip from Atlanta:
$265 Colorado Springs
Travel any available day
Start travel on or after August 25
Complete travel on or before December 16
Blackout dates: September 3, 4, 7; November 24, 25, 28-30
Purchase by July 2
Valid on Delta(+Fees $), nonstop

Round-trip from Atlanta:
$524 St. Kitts-Nevis
A 7-day advance purchase required
Valid Saturday only
Complete travel on or before December 29
Blackout dates: September 1-November 6
Purchase by June 26
Valid on Delta(+Fees $), nonstop

Round-trip from Atlanta:
$847 Buenos Aires, Argentina
A 14-day advance purchase required
Travel any available day
Stay at least any three nights
Complete travel on or before August 15
Purchase by June 30 only at Delta.com(+Fees $)
Service is nonstop

Airline fees can and often do exceed the cost of your ticket!
+Fees $$$ = Carry-on Bags: $10-$75; Checked Bags: $15-$100; Seats: $3-$199; additional fees vary by carrier
+Fees $ = Checked Bags: $24-$125; Select/Preferred Seats: $9-$99


SPECIAL RAIL OFFER & NEW AIR/HOTEL PRICE TOOL

London, Paris, Brussels & beyond
This summer, ride the high speed Eurostar trains and receive a 30% discount on select Eurostar Standard Premier tickets purchased by July 6 for travel between July 15 and September 13.
Eurostar is the best way to travel between London and Paris or Brussels, and to connect with rail services to over 100 destinations across Europe. Enjoy city center to city center convenience, record-breaking travel times, a choice of frequent departures, and the comfort of Standard Premier service at a discounted rate through Rail Europe. Travelers in Eurostar’s Standard Premier (Comfort Class) enjoy spacious reclining seats and a light meal at rates from $111 one-way or $196 round-trip. Blackout dates: July 17-21, 24–27, August 14-16, 28-31. 

Travel Saver Calendar
Travel search site momondo launched the Travel Saver Calendar, a free tool to help budget-conscious consumers determine the best time of year for deals on flights and hotel stays in nine top international destinations. The Travel Saver Calendar uses data from momondo’s Flight + Hotel Study, which analyzed the average price of a round-trip flight from New York City and a three-night stay at the most frequently booked hotels in nine popular European destinations, including London and Paris.
Here’s a sampling of results from the Travel Saver Calendar:

  • February and March are the least expensive months of the year to travel (from NYC) to Europe, while July and December are the most expensive.
  • Rome is cheapest in November, when the weather is still warm.
  • For the cheapest flight and hotel deals, consider Rome, Lisbon or Moscow.   Skip Berlin and Copenhagen.
  • Airfares to popular European destinations – and hotel costs – are significantly cheaper in September vs. June through August.
  • The cheapest options in September are Amsterdam, Barcelona and Copenhagen. 

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


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