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Getting Stuck in the Airport

by Lux Joseph 29. June 2014

Travel these days can be fraught with inconveniences, lost baggage and delayed flights among the most familiar of travel woes. But, if you are going to be spending a few “unexpected” hours at an airport, where is it best to be? A recent survey of ASTA travel agents found that domestically, the best airports to be “stuck in” are Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Orlando International Airport. Both airports received an 8-percent share of the responses.

As the "world’s busiest passenger airport," Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson offers travelers more than 200 shopping and dining outlets and a 24,000-square foot executive conference center. Orlando, meanwhile, provides travelers numerous shopping and dining outlets, even an upscale eatery for those with money to burn as well as time to kill.

With an abundance of technological services, including numerous self-service business centers and rapid-charge stations, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport came in third with 6.3 percent of the vote. Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport, with its art gallery, aviation museum and gaming opportunities ranked fourth with 6 percent.

Tied for fifth place (5.4%) were Charlotte Douglas International Airport, with its free WiFi and memorable white rocking chairs in which to while away the hours, and Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, which is home to a 4-story tall model of a Brachiosaurus. Need we say more?

Best Domestic Airports to be "Stuck In" 

  

  

Share of total response 

1

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

8.4%

2

Orlando International Airport

8.4%

3

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport

6.3%

4

McCarran International (Las Vegas)

6.0%

5

Charlotte Douglas International Airport

5.4%

5

O’Hare International Airport (Chicago)

5.4%

Most of our nurses and physicians when flying connect through Atlanta, Charlotte, and Chicago. When traveling with patients it is important that we provide a significant amount of connection time. A traveler who is traveling on their own may chance the 50 minute legal connection, but during a commercial medical escort, it is important to allow adequate connection time for wheelchairs, customs, and possible terminal changes.

Best International Airports

On the international front, Amsterdam’s Schiphol received the largest number of responses with 23.6 percent. How could it not with a wedding chapel, an array of "snooze" chairs and a casino? Even the restrooms are fun with scenery to make you feel that you are in the heart of Amsterdam.

London’s BAA Heathrow Airport (21.7%), is a shopper’s dream with personal shopping services as well as the shopping collection service (available only to those traveling within the European Union). Tied for third were Frankfort and Singapore’s airports (6.7%). Travelers who find themselves delayed at Singapore’s Changi Airport can take in a movie, play Xbox or, if the mood strikes, head for the nap lounge, while those at Frankfort Airport with a bit more time on their hands can take advantage of the on-site hairdresser, tailor or dry cleaners.

Paris, Charles de Gaulle Airport offers those with an unplanned delay a chance to track down and meet Merhan Karimi Nasseri, the man upon which the movie, The Terminal, was based. Meanwhile, business travelers who find themselves with a lay-over at Hong Kong International Airport (4.5%) can take advantage or airport-wide, free WiFi service.

Best International Airports to be "Stuck In"

 

 

Share of
total response

1

Schiphol Airport (Amsterdam)

23.6%

2

BAA Heathrow (London)

21.7%

3

Frankfurt Airport (Germany)

6.7%

3

Changi Airport (Singapore)

6.7%

4

Charles de Gaulle Airport (Paris)

4.8%

5

Hong Kong International Airport

4.5%

When making travel arrangements, sometimes it’s better to have too much time during a connection than not enough. With the increased number of amenities being added to these airports you will always find something to occupy your time. It’s every traveller’s worst nightmare: having to make a connecting flight, missing said connection and having to scramble to re-work travel plans. Keep this in mind when making your next travel arrangements.

Handling Changes in your Travel Plans

by Lux Joseph 6. July 2013

Summer is already here and so is one of the busiest travel times of the year. Whether you are looking to go on a summer vacation to Europe or in our case, bringing patients home that fell ill during their vacation travels flights are selling quickly and at a high rate. According to the latest Travelhorizons survey of 2,300 U.S. adults conducted by marketing services firm MMGY Global 70% of Americans plan to take at least one leisure trip between now and October 2013, compared to 65% in March 2007.  During your travels this summer, you hope that everything goes as planned, flights are not delayed or canceled, a natural disaster doesn’t hit, and that no other disruption happens to affect your journey. But what happens when something does happen to affect your travel? What are your rights as a traveler?

Being stranded at the airport during a natural disaster or any other related disruption causes frustration to you as the traveler. It is important to recognize that your ticket as a traveler represents a contract between you and the airline. Although airlines do not guarantee their schedules due to the large amount of unexpected challenges that can occur including weather, mechanical problems, and air traffic control delays, as part of a contract they must make reasonable efforts to fulfill their end of the bargain. Many airlines will do their best to re-accommodate you as schedules and availability permit, but waiting in that long line may limit your chance at the next soonest flight available.

As a traveler you must take control of the situation in a professional and responsible manner. At CME, we deal with cancelations and delays every week when transporting our patients back home.  Some tips that we have in regards to delays/cancelations include:

• Monitor you flight continuously- a great application to be used on your smart phone is Flight Aware. There are two applications, and the paid application shows real time updates including the connection times as flights are delayed

• Be respectful to the agent- it is not the agent’s fault that your flight is delayed or canceled. Although they represent the airline, they are not the cause so do not take the frustration out on them. The more courteous and polite you are the more likely they will do their best to find an alternate flight to meet your needs.

• Contacting the airline- if you are already at the airport, most likely you are standing in the long line to rebook your ticket. While in line, also contact the airline via their 1-800 number. In most cases if you are able to get in contact with an agent on the phone, they can at least make the changes and confirm you on a new flight so all you will need to do is have your new tickets issued. If you booked your flight with a travel agent, they can hold you on the next available flight as well

• Endorsing your ticket- you have finally reached the counter and the airline informs you that you cannot be rebooked until 2 days later. For most travelers, this would not be acceptable or reasonable. You can ask your airline to endorse your ticket on another carrier. Do the research and look at available flights on alternate carriers. The airline is not required to endorse your ticket, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. When an airline endorses another carrier, they are paying the other carrier to transport you to your destination.

• Understand the Department of Transportation (DOT) Rules- many times you may think everything is going as planned. You boarded your flight, listened to the flight briefing, are pushing back form the gate, and then are told then you are held on the tarmac for an infinite period of time. It is important to understand the rules set forth by the DOT and what the airlines a required to provide. The DOT prohibits airlines from keeping passengers on the tarmac for more than 3 hours on domestic flights unless the pilot otherwise feels there is a safely or security issue in. The airline is also required to provide food and water within two hours of being on the tarmac.

• Know the airline policy- no federal laws or requirements are in place that require airlines to provide any accommodation or meals due to delayed or canceled flights. Each airline does have its own policy and it is important to understand the policy so you do not look ignorant trying to demand something that you are not entitled to.

Cancelations and delays will always be a possibility when flying. Airlines are trying each and every day to seek ways to improve the system, but in most cases there are things that are out of their control. Being aware of your environment, rights as a passenger, and keeping composure, as a traveler will ensure a smooth journey to your destination.


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