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NPR Arts & Life

Tips For Spring Travel

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

It's spring break for many of us, always a chaotic time to travel. Add to that dozens of Boeing 737 Max aircraft grounded, the airline Wow shutting down operations, maybe add a touch of bad weather, and you've got the perfect storm - haha - for overcrowded planes and canceled flights. And with summer travel season ramping up, we thought this might be a good time to check in with Ashley Rossi. She's an editor at smartertravel.com. Welcome to the program.

ASHLEY ROSSI: Thanks so much for having me.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: If a flight is overbooked and you're bumped, what do you do?

ROSSI: A lot of times they'll be offering compensation. And normally people do take it. So you have about a 1 in 1,000 chance of actually not getting on a flight or being denied boarding for that reason. But you are entitled to money, which you just talk to your gate agent. And in that situation, I would also save all of your receipts for any hotels or meals that you might have. And if you have travel insurance, you can check to see if you might get compensated from them as well.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Also, you should know your rights, right?

ROSSI: Yeah, so this is key. And at smartertravel.com, we actually have a quick how-to guide that you can find on our homepage, which is awesome. And it lets you know what your rights are in a situation where you might be delayed or have a cancellation and also for overbooking. When something's within the airline's control, they actually could owe you money. And this all depends on the airline's contract of carriage, which you can find online.

Like, JetBlue specifically, if it's over three hours, you are entitled to a certain amount of money. And that only increases the longer the delay. And that's when it's within the airline's control, so things like a mechanical issue or a scheduling change. But things like weather are not.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: It seems like there's a lot more that we, as travelers, have to do these days just to sort of have a decent experience. Is that - is that true?

ROSSI: I feel the same way. I travel quite frequently. I do find that having the right attitude and being nice to your gate agents and flight attendants does help - and also just knowing what to expect. Unfortunately, the norm is, somewhat, delays and not really expecting to be on time. And I find I'm more pleasantly surprised when I am on time. But I think we're all prioritizing safety these days. And that's really what it comes down to. So if there is a mechanical issue, you don't want to be getting on the plane if it's not fixed.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Ashley Rossi, she's an editor at smartertravel.com. Thank you very much.

ROSSI: Thank you for having me. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.