Tuesday, June 25, 2002

KNOW THE AIRLINES' PECKING ORDER FOR BOARDING

Many people are surprised when they show up at an airport with a confirmed reservation and lose their seat because of overbooking. With the decrease in the number of flights per day, overbooking -- despite decreasing passenger loads -- still can be a problem. What fliers need to know, particularly those who do not fly very often, is people who have their boarding passes and all their paperwork completed most likely will have their seating protected in an overbooking situation. The lesson here is that it is essential, particularly in these times of added security checks, to makes sure "all the I's are dotted and the T's crossed" before you leave home. All ticketing done over the Internet allows the passenger to request a faxed or e-mail set of documentation papers. You won't be let past initial security without that information. This is particularly important for people with only carry-on luggage who have no need to go to the reservation desks. When dealing with a travel agent or with the airlines on the phone, ask if it's possible to get your boarding pass in advance.