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Claudia Imhoff

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About the author >

A thought leader, visionary, and practitioner, Claudia Imhoff, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized expert on analytics, business intelligence, and the architectures to support these initiatives. Dr. Imhoff has co-authored five books on these subjects and writes articles (totaling more than 150) for technical and business magazines.

She is also the Founder of the Boulder BI Brain Trust, a consortium of independent analysts and consultants (www.BBBT.us). You can follow them on Twitter at #BBBT

Editor's Note:
More articles and resources are available in Claudia's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

I am home -- with a really bad cold. You don't want to know how bad I feel. So I am surrounded by vitamin C, cough medicine, sore throat lozenges, etc., and my favorite non-technical magazines. This is not the time to read hard core IT journals. It is a time to catch up on what is happening outside of work.

So, in my "light" reading, I came across an article on air travel tips from "Real Simple" - one of my favorite off-hours magazines. Because of the large amount of travel that I do normally and the upcoming holiday travel season that many of us must endure, I offer this information in the hopes that it helps you out. The following tips were the ones that I found most interesting but you should read the entire article for other tips.

Tip #1: You show up 45 minutes before your flight but get bumped from that flight -- it happens all the time - usually when you really need to get to your destination on time. What are your rights and what should the airline do? Airlines constantly overbook flights to avoid having a single empty seat from no-shows or cancellations. According to the article's author, George Hobica, you are entitled to monetary compensation if you are involuntarily bumped. If you reach your destination within one to two hours of your origin time, the compensation is $200 or the face value of the segment from which you were bumped (whichever is less). If you are two to four hours late, the compensation rises to double the one way fare up to $400. The airline may offer you a round-trip ticket instead but he (and I) recommend that you take the cash! To reduce the likelihood of getting bumped, he recommends that you arrive at the check-in desk an hour or MORE before your flight. Apparently the airlines tend to start bumping people who check in last. I don't know about you but I have a hard time getting to the airport even 45 minutes before the flight... His other suggestion is to fly JetBlue. They have a firm policy of not overbooking flights - hurrah! By the way, the Department of Transportation's website has monthly reports on airlines' over sale records

Tip #2: You need to cancel or reschedule a nonrefundable ticket -- that cost you $98. Now the airline is charging you up to $100 to change your ticket plus the difference in the fares. Is this legitimate? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. If you want to get a cheap seat, you risk the penalty fee and up charge if things change. The author recommends that you fly a budget carrier such as Southwest to begin with. They are the only carrier that doesn't penalize you for changing a nonrefundable ticket. JetBlue only charges $20 if the changes are made online, $25 if done by an agent. Most airlines will make you pay the difference in fares though.

Tip #3: You miss your connection -- and it is the last one of the day. I wish I had a dollar for the number of times that has happened to me! Here's what you should expect. If the delay was the airlines fault (mechanical problems, late crew, etc.), you should request (politely) overnight lodging, a meal voucher, and transportation to and from your hotel. It is important to know though that there is NO LAW requiring the airline to do this... If the delay was not caused by the airline (bad weather, for example), you may just be out of luck. Next time, try to get a nonstop flight so you don't have to worry about a connection.

Tip #4: My favorite one -- your airline goes out of business after you buy a ticket. Other airlines flying the EXACT same route are required by federal law to give you a standby seat only for no more than an additional $50 each way. The tip from Real Simple? Pay for the ticket with your credit card. You can contest the charge (in writing) and the credit card company must delete it from your bill. Note though - this only works if you contact your credit card company within 60 days of the purchase. If you buy the ticket way in advance, this may not be an option.

I hope these tips help you through the upcoming travel season. Feel free to add your own tips in the comments section.

Yours in health and BI success. Cough, cough, sputter, sputter....

Claudia


Posted December 12, 2005 4:10 PM
Permalink | 7 Comments |

7 Comments

Take a look at www.casualcourier.com

There is a section that allows parents traveling with kids to find an in-flight babysiter (called "AirSitter").

You choose the AirSitter, and determine his/her fee...

Happy travels!

What a fabulous service! Wish I had known about them when my daughter was little -- we had some very long flights where a sitter would have been a Godsend...

You might like this study on the most efficient way to board flights. It turns out that back-to-front doesn't work as well as the free-for-all.

Analysis of airplane boarding via space-time geometry and random matrix theory

Obligatory DW reference: Imagine if they could turn the planes 15 minutes faster. I think we have a long way to go in BI before we can offer decent modeling of problems like this.

Wow -- not an intuitive result, is it? Thanks for the link, Mark. I would like to see the reasonings for the free-for-all being a faster way to load up an airplane! Seems like this problem is ideal for airlines to be solving with their BI predictive modeling capabilities. They do have those, right?

After reviewing this light reading, I decided to return to a study that I came across and intend to validate during the upcoming holiday season.

http://www.winesummit.org/documents/alcohol_ALL.pdf

g.

George, sometimes I wonder about you....

Hopefully my "light" reading gave you great insights into the effects of alcohol on thrombosis.... :-)

Does anyone have any personal accounts of horrible airline travel experiences?

I have two kinds - one that always happens and one that occurred one. Here is the first one:

Virgin Atlantic used to have a flight that left Newark at about 930 pm or thereabouts for London. Because it was an international flight one had to be at the airport before 8 pm. Include time for driving, finding a parking spot, a luggage cart and the long walk from the parking lot to the gates, you needed to reach the airport no later than 715 pm. And with the commute including the NJ Turnpike you could leave Central or Northern NJ no later than 6 pm. So the last morsel of food that you could possibly have would be around 5:15 pm.

Your eating schedule would have a big gap after 5:15 pm - airport food court being over-priced, without variety and more important mostly BEFORE the Security checks.

Now consider this. The flight is scheduled to push back at 930 pm or so. Actual push-back occurs about 950 pm. The take off happens, the flight climbs and climbs and climbs to its cruising altitude of 37,000 feet after which "dinner" is served. At a typical average rate of climb of 500 feet per minute, 37,000 feet is reached at about 11 pm, when dinner service starts. The hefting of the luggage onto the luggage cart, the long walk from the gates and more important the big emptiness in your stomach (last morsel at 515 pm) has effectively completely tired you out so by the time your turn comes at about 1120 or so, you are already fast asleep or in no state to have "dinner". Nevertheless you open the foil packing.

The next thing you notice is that the food that is served is, well, like "airline food" - so the less said the better.

And this happens on EVERY 930 pm departing Virgin Atlantic Flight for London from EWR - that is DAILY!

Next time a horror story which happened with me - hopefully for the first and the last time.

Pat

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