The World’s Most Dangerous Airlines

  • 01 of 05

    Lion Air

    The Worlds Most Dangerous Airlines

    Aero Icarus via Wikimedia Commons

    Although Indonesia AirAsia has come under a great deal of scrutiny since flight QZ8501 crashed in late 2014, it is not Indonesia's most dangerous, even if its overall safety rating prevents it from ever flying to the United States or European Union, a ban shared by fellow Indonesian carriers Garuda Indonesia, KALstar Aviation and Sriwijaya Air.

    No, that dubious honor goes to Lion Air, who has suffered many hull losses during its time in operation, although only one of them ever made major headlines. On the other hand, the only thing more dangerous than Lion Air's safety record are its low fares, which are incredibly hard to resist.

  • 02 of 05

    Nepal Airlines

    The Worlds Most Dangerous Airlines

    Krish Dulal via Wikimedia Commons

    It's difficult not to have empathy for pilots who land jets in Nepal, what with the Himalayas being there and all – some planes are bound to be less lucky than others. This is unfortunately true not only anecdotally but in reality, with Nepal Airlines in particular being among the world's most dangerous airlines.

    Having experienced nearly a dozen fatal accidents in the past three decades, in spite of a relatively modest flight schedule, Nepal Airlines gets just one star (out of a potential seven) from AirlineRatings.com, a site which ranks airline safety using a number of metrics.

    The inclusion of Nepal Airlines among the world's most dangerous airlines is particularly interesting when you consider it doesn't fly to the Himalayan airport of Lukla, which many consider to be the world's most dangerous airport, and is a necessary stop en route to Everest Base Camp.

  • 03 of 05

    Kam Air

    The Worlds Most Dangerous Airlines

    Karla Marshall via Wikimedia Commons

    The only thing less likely than having heard about Kam Air is having the opportunity (or need, as it were) to fly it – based in Afghanistan, Kam Air is not an airline the average backpacker would fly these days, unless that backpack is owned by the U.S. military. Kam Air has only been in operation for a decade, but has already experienced fatal accidents resulting in more than 100 passenger deaths, making it one of the most dangerous airlines in the world.

  • 04 of 05

    Tara Air

    The Worlds Most Dangerous Airlines

    Solundir via Wikimedia Commons

    Tara Air maintains just as low a profile, internationally speaking, as Kam Air, although it operates in Nepal instead of Afghanistan. Although only one Tara Air flight has resulted in passenger fatalities, the airline has only existed for six years, which raises serious questions about its overall safety.

    Tara Air is relatively easy for most travelers to avoid, since it operates exclusively to rural destinations in Nepal, but if you want to explore the foothills of the Himalaya, and don't have the time to endure the long overland journey from Kathmandu, you may find yourself with little choice but to fly Tara Air, which is a particularly scary prospect if you happen to be flying from Kathmandu to Lukla, the aforementioned ultra-dangerous Himalayan airport from which all Everest Base Camp treks (and treks to lower-elevation destinations in the mountains) begin.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.

  • 05 of 05

    SCAT Airlines

    The Worlds Most Dangerous Airlines

    Maarten Visser via Wikimedia Commons

    Kazakhstan-based SCAT Airlines' name doesn't do it any favors, even if you except the fact that its name is an acronym for something rather innocuous: “Special Cargo Air Transport.” Unfortunately, SCAT's air record is just as smelly as what you think of when you first hear its name, but not because of how many fatal crashes it's suffered (just one) since it began operations in 1997.

    Rather, the European Commission's decision to blacklist SCAT stems from an overall lack of confidence in its regulatory processes, which has spilled over onto other Kazakh airlines. If your travel plans will soon take you to Kazakhstan, you might want to fly a more reputable airline, such as Air Astana.

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The Top 7 U.S. Airlines’ Baggage, Ticketing, and Pet Fees

  • 01 of 07

    The Top 7 U.S. Airlines Baggage, Ticketing, and Pet Fees

    Benet J. Wilson

    Ticketing Fees

    • Non-refundable ticket change fee: $200 for domestic travel and up to $750 for international travel
    • Same day change fee: $75 – $150
    • Reservation by phone fee: $25 domestic, $35 international
    • Reservation (ticket issue) at airport or city ticket offices, including. Admirals Club: $35 domestic, $45 international
    • Unaccompanied minor fee: $150+ tax each way

    Baggage Fees

    • First checked bag fee: $25 (free for most international destinations)
    • Second checked bag fee: $35
    • Third checked bag fee: $150
    • Fourth checked bag fee: $200
    • Overweight bags: $100 for 51-70 lbs; $200 for 71-100 lbs
    • Oversize bags: $200
    • Pet fees: In-cabin: $125, checked: $200

    Frequent Flier/AAdvantage Fees

    • AAdvantage 500 mile upgrade: $40 (including taxes) per upgrade
    • AAdvantage award processing: $75 if booked 20 or fewer days before departure
    • Date/itinerary change: $150 (waived for Executive Platinum, Platinum Pro, Platinum or Gold members)
    • Redeposit Miles: $150 (all additional award tickets returning to the same account at the same time are $25 each)
    • Same day change fee: $75

    Other Fees

    • Preferred seats: $4-$139 per flight; “Main Cabin Extra” seats $20-$195 per flight.
    • Priority boarding fee: $9-$74

  • 02 of 07

    The Top 7 U.S. Airlines Baggage, Ticketing, and Pet Fees

    Benet J. Wilson

    Ticketing Fees

    • Non-refundable ticket change fee: $200 to $500
    • Same day change fee: $75
    • Reservation by phone or ticket office fee: Previously $25-$35, now free!
    • Unaccompanied minor fee: $150+ ticket fare each way

    Baggage Fees

    • Carry on bag and one personal item: Free
    • First checked bag fee: $25 ($0 to international destinations except for Canada and Caribbean)
    • Second checked bag fee: $35 ($40-$100 for some international destinations)
    • Additional bags fee: $150 for the third bag; $200 each for bags 4-10
    • Overweight bags: $100 for 51-70lbs; $200 for 71-100lbs
    • Oversize bags: $150 – $300
    • Pet fees: In-cabin: $125 – $200, Checked: $200

    Frequent Flier/Sky Club Fees

    • In phone/in person ticketing: $25
    • Date/itinerary change: $150 (warning! no changes/cancellations are permitted within 72 hours of departure; all miles forfeited)
    • Redeposit miles: $150
    • Same day change fee: $50

    Other Fees

    • Preferred seats: Varies per flight.
    • Priority boarding fee: $15 per flight

  • 03 of 07

    The Top 7 U.S. Airlines Baggage, Ticketing, and Pet Fees

    United Airlines

    Ticketing Fees

    • Non-refundable ticket change fee: $200
    • Same day change fee: $75
    • Reservation by phone fee: $25
    • Unaccompanied minor fee: $150

    Baggage Fees

    • Carry on bag: Free
    • First checked bag fee: $25
    • Second checked bag fee: $35
    • Additional bags fee: $150 each (up to $200 on some international routes)
    • Overweight bags: $100 51-70lbs; $200 71-100lbs (up to $400 on some international routes)
    • Oversize bags: $200 (up to $200 on some international routes)
    • Pet fee: $125 in cabin; checked pets – check current rates

    Frequent Flier/Mileage Plus Fees

    • Last-minute ticketing: $75 if booked within 20 days of departure (Free to $50 for frequent flyer members with status)
    • In phone/in person ticketing: $25
    • Date/itinerary change: $75 if made 21 or more days prior to travel; $100 if made less than 21 days (lower or no fees for frequent flyer members with status)
    • Redeposit miles: Depends on the number of miles
    • Same day change fee: $75

    Other Fees

    • Seat selection fee: None, unless you choose an extra-legroom seat.
    • Other fees: “Premier Access” fee (priority check-in, TSA lines, and boarding) $9 and up per flight.

  • 04 of 07

    The Top 7 U.S. Airlines Baggage, Ticketing, and Pet Fees

    Kevin Dooley/Wikimedia Commons

    Ticketing Fees

    • Non-refundable ticket change fee: Free
    • Same day change fee: None but any fare difference will apply
    • Reservation by phone fee: Free
    • Unaccompanied minor fee: $50 each way (up to 12)

    Baggage Fees

    • Carry on bag: Free
    • First checked bag: Free
    • Second checked bag: Free
    • Additional bags fee: $50 each for 3-9 bags; $110 each for more
    • Overweight bags: $75
    • Oversize bags: $75
    • Pet Fees: In-cabin: $95, Checked: not allowed

    Frequent Flier/Rapid Rewards Fees

    • In phone/in person ticketing: $0
    • Date/itinerary change: $0 (but any fare difference will apply)
    • Redeposit miles: $0
    • Same day change fee: depends on the type of award and possible point difference

    Other Fees

    • Seat selection fee: none
    • Priority Boarding fee: early bird check-in $12.50 each way

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.

  • 05 of 07

    The Top 7 U.S. Airlines Baggage, Ticketing, and Pet Fees

    JetBlue

    Ticketing Fees

    • Non-refundable ticket change fee: 
      • $75 (fares up to $99)
      • $100 (fares up to $149)
      • $150 (fares $149+)
    • Same-day change fee: $50 for Blue, Blue Plus and Mint fares
    • Unaccompanied minor fee: $100

    Baggage Fees

    • First checked bag: Free for Blue Plus, Blue Flex, and Mint fares; for Blue Same day, $25 for the first bag for all other passengers.
    • Second checked bag: $35
    • Additional bags fee: $100 each
    • Overweight bags: $100 for up to 51-99 lbs.
    • Oversize bags: $100 up to 63″ in (160 cm) – 80 in (203.3 cm)(including wheels and handles)
    • Pet flight fee: $100

    Frequent Flier/True Blue Fees

    • In phone/in person ticketing: $25
    • Redeposit Miles: $50-$100
    • Same day change fee: $50

    Other Fees

    • Seat selection fee: “Even More Space” seats with extra legroom: $10-$90 per flight.
    • “Even More Speed” expedited security screening (at available airports): $10-$14 for Blue and Blue Plus fares.

  • 06 of 07

    The Top 7 U.S. Airlines Baggage, Ticketing, and Pet Fees

    Alaska Airlines

    Ticketing Fees

    • Preferred Plus seats: $15-$50
    • Call center ticketing fee: $15
    • Paper itinerary mailing fee: $5
    • Partner award booking fee: $12.50
    • Same-day confirmed changes: $25
    • Change/cancellation fee for changes made less than 60 days prior to ticketed flight departure: $125
    • Ticket receipt research fee: $20
    • Unaccompanied minor service fee: $25-$50
    • Pet travel fee: $100
    • Left on board item return fee: $20

    Baggage Fees

    • First bag: $25 for bags that weigh up to 50 lbs and have a maximum dimension of 62″ (linear).
    • Second bag: $25.
    • Additional bags fee: $75 each.
    • Bags that weigh 51-100 lbs.: $75.
    • Bags with a linear dimension of 63-115″ (linear): $75.

  • 07 of 07

    The Top 7 U.S. Airlines Baggage, Ticketing, and Pet Fees

    Spirit Airlines

    Ticketing Fees

    • Boarding pass printed at airport kiosk: $2 per boarding pass
    • Boarding pass printed by airport agent: $10 per boarding pass
    • Unaccompanied minor fee: $100 per customer, each way
    • Pet transportation (Limit 4 pets total in the cabin): $110 per pet container, each way
    • Reservation center booking (including packages): $35 per booking
    • Group booking: $5 per booking
    • Spirit assigned seating at check-in: Free
    • Customer-requested seat assignments/regular seats: $1 to $50
    • Big Front Seats (in advance): $12 to $150
    • Big Front Seats (onboard upgrades—depending on flight length): $25 to $175

    Baggage Fees

    One personal item (purse, briefcase, laptop bag) per passenger fee is free.

    Baggage fees are determined by a few factors including destination and time of reservation. To calculate potential baggage fees, visit Spirit Airlines' optional services website.

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Why Emirates Airline Is a Luxury Travel Legend

  • 01 of 05

    Emirates Airline: A Luxury Travel Legend

    Why Emirates Airline Is a Luxury Travel Legend

    ©Emirates Airline

    Luxury travelers love airlines that deliver a true luxury experience, and make flying on them a party in the air. The airlines that manage to do this are few and far between, and they become legends. One of these fabled carriers is Emirates Airline.

    Emirates is based in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates city with a fantasy skyline of impossible-seeming skyscrapers that has become the Middle East's luxury playground. 

    Continue to 2 of 5 below.

  • 02 of 05

    The Types of Jets

    Why Emirates Airline Is a Luxury Travel Legend

    ©Emirates Airline

    Founded in 1985 with only two aircraft, Emirates now flies the world's biggest fleets of Airbus A380s and Boeing 777s. 

    Emirates Flies the Deluxe Airbus A380

    Emirates currently has 96 A380 jets in service and has 48 on order. (The airline first started operating A380s in 2008.) These jets are massive with a passenger carrying capacity of up to 615 people on long-range flights. In total, Emirates has more than 23,000 cabin crew members and more than 1,500 pilots dedicated to this type of aircraft.

    The A380's longest Emirates fight is 14,193 kilometers, flying from Dubai to Auckland, New Zealand. Its shortest is just 851 kilometers from Dubai to Kuwait. It's also an environmentally responsible way to fly, with a low CO2 output.

    Emirates' U.S. Gateways

    Emirates flies nonstop to 160 global destinations, including 12 American gateways (NYC, Boston, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Houston, L.A., San Francisco, Seattle, Dallas, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and Newark).

    Continue to 3 of 5 below.

  • 03 of 05

    Flying Business Class on Emirates Airline’s A380 Jets

    Why Emirates Airline Is a Luxury Travel Legend

    ©Emirates Airline

    Emirates' A380 jets are two-level. Economy seating takes up the lower floor, with Business Class and First Class upstairs. The A380's Business Class seats are ingeniously engineered private little pods. They offer everything you need for inflight comfort.

    • They are laid out in staggered rows which zig-zag a little to increase aisle access

    • Seats are configured across as 1-2-1

    • All seats have aisle access

    • Tip: window seats A and K have a little more shelf space (and a view)

    • Tip: couples flying together should choose the middle E and F seats

    The jet's seating pods make it easy to do everything you want to do on your long flight.

    Sleeping

    It's easy to fall asleep in Business Class and arrive refreshed in Dubai or back home. Seats recline into fully flat beds, and a flight attendant will bring you a cushy mattress, pillow, and blanket. You'll also find noise-canceling headphones and a high-quality sleep mask already at your seat when you board.

    In-Seat Amenities

    You can entertain yourself in a multitude of ways right in your seat. The inflight ICE system—information, communication, entertainment—streams everything from flight cameras to Dubai info to over 3,500 channels of movies, TV, music, and games in multiple languages on a 23-inch screen. There's also an HDMI port if you want to display content from your own devices on the screen.

    You can get work done at your seat, which feels like your own private mobile office. Amenities include a desktop, lights, chargers, and WiFi.

    Dining and Onboard Lounge

    Meal service includes dinner, snack, and breakfast, and it's beautifully served on white linen and china. There are also options for vegetarians and Halal eaters.

    And you can savor top-shelf wine and liquor, as much as you want, when you want. As soon as you board, you're offered a selection of fine wines and a French Champagne. You can try them all throughout your flight, or stay loyal to one. Flight attendants will keep your glass refilled if that's what you want.

    If you want to step away from your seat, there's also an onboard lounge with a bartender. You have a snack (mini sandwiches and quiches, smoked salmon, shrimp cocktail, and more) or grab a drink while you chat with other passengers and watch live entertainment on the 55-inch screen. 

    Continue to 4 of 5 below.

  • 04 of 05

    Emirate Airline’s Business Class Lounge

    Why Emirates Airline Is a Luxury Travel Legend

    ©Karen Tina Harrison

    Business-class tickets on Emirates come with many perks. Here's a great one: a private driver picks you up and takes you to the airport. Another one: Business class passengers are  permitted two bags of up to 32kg (71 pounds) each.

    Emirates Business Class Lounge

    The lounge is an oasis of grace that resembles a luxury hotel lobby but with food and beverage on the house.

    Lounges offer ample, cushy seating, work counters with complimentary wifi and charging stations, ample TVs, and dozens of newspapers and magazines. Need some shuteye? Give wakeup instructions to an attendant and grab a reclining lounger. 

    Eats and drinks are freely offered in this comfort zone. A few special food and drink lounges experiences:

    • Head to the Moet and Chandon champagne lounge for champagnes paired with small bites. In the lounge, you'll also find a selection plus good wines from France, Italy, California and other regions, plus hard liquor, beer, soft drinks, coffee, cappuccino, and tea.
    • The Health hub also offers lighter options, such as fruits, smoothies, and juices, as well as smoked salmon with broccoli, grilled vegetable wraps, and more. 

    Overall, Emirates' Business Class lounges are so pampering, you'll wait till the last moment to board.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.

  • 05 of 05

    Emirates Airline Crew Members

    Why Emirates Airline Is a Luxury Travel Legend

    ©Emirates Airline

    The passenger service provided by the personnel is the airborne equal of authentically five-star hotel service. The crew constantly radiates personal warmth and likes to get to know you and your tastes.

    The job of an Emirates Flight Attendant is a prestigious position coveted by well-educated young adults the world over. Many are top-achieving college grads who welcome the opportunity to be based in Dubai, to see the world, and to mingle with Emirates passengers.

    All crew, no matter where they're from, speak fluent English (an official language of Dubai), but the crew is truly international. 

    As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary flights for the purpose of describing the airline. For details, see our site's Ethics Policy.

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What You Need to Know About Airline Seat Pitch

  • 01 of 06

    What You Need to Know About Airline Seat Pitch

    American Airlines

     

    • Airbus A319 – pitch, 31 inches; recline, 4 inches; width, 17.7 inches
    • Airbus A321 – pitch, 31 inches; recline, 4 inches; width, 17.7 inches
    • Boeing 777-300ER – pitch, 31/32 inches; recline, 6 inches; width, 17 inches
    • Boeing 777-223ER – pitch, 31/32 inches; recline, 18 inches; width, 18.5 inches
    • Boeing 767-223ER – pitch, 31/32 inches; recline, 18 inches; width, 17.8 inches
    • Boeing 767-323ER – pitch, 31 inches; recline, 4 inches; width, 17.8 inches
    • Boeing 757 – pitch, 31/32 inches; recline, 6 inches; width, 17.2 inches
    • Boeing 737-800 – pitch, 31/32 inches; recline, 6 inches; width, 17.2 inches
    • McDonnell Douglas MD-80 – pitch, 31 inches; recline, 4 inches; width, 17.8 inches

     

  • 02 of 06

    What You Need to Know About Airline Seat Pitch

    Benet J. Wilson

    • Airbus A19 – 30/31 inches; width, 17.2 inches
    • Airbus A320 – 30/31 inches; width, 17.2 inches
    • Airbus A330-200 – 30/31 inches; width, 18 inches
    • Boeing 717 – 31 inches; width, 18 inches
    • Boeing 737-700 – 30/31 inches; width, 17.2 inches
    • Boeing 737-800 – 30/31 inches; width, 17.2 inches
    • Boeing 737-900ER – 30/31 inches; width, 17.2 inches
    • Boeing 747-400 – 30/31 inches; width, 17.2 inches
    • Boeing 757-200 – 30/31 inches; width, 17.2 inches
    • Boeing 767-300 – 30/31 inches; width, 17.9 inches
    • Boeing 767-400ER – 30/31 inches; width, 17.9 inches
    • Boeing 777200LR – 30/31 inches; width, 18.5 inches
    • Boeing 777200ER – 30/31 inches; width, 18.5 inches

     

  • 03 of 06

    What You Need to Know About Airline Seat Pitch

    United Airlines

    • Airbus A319 – pitch, 31 inches; recline, 4 inches; width, 18 inches
    • Airbus A320 – pitch, 31 inches; recline, 4 inches; width, 18 inches
    • Boeing 787-8 – 32 inches; recline, 5 inches; width, 17.3 inches
    • Boeing 787-9 – 32 inches; recline, 5 inches; width, 17.3 inches
    • Boeing 777-200 – 31 inches; recline, 4 inches; width, 18 inches
    • Boeing 767-300 – 31 inches; recline, 4 inches; width, 18 inches
    • Boeing 767-400 – 31 inches; recline, 4 inches; width, 17.3 inches
    • Boeing 757-200 – 31 inches; recline, 4 inches; width, 17 inches
    • Boeing 747-400 – 31 inches; recline, 4 inches; width, 17 inches
    • Boeing 737-700 – pitch, 31 inches; recline, 3 inches; width, 17.2 inches
    • Boeing 737-800 – pitch, 31 inches; recline, 3 inches; width, 17.2 inches
    • Boeing 737-900 – pitch, 31 inches; recline, 3 inches; width, 17.2 inches

  • 04 of 06

    What You Need to Know About Airline Seat Pitch

    fStop Images – Halfdark/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

    • Boeing 737-300 – pitch, 32/33 inches; width, 17.2 inches
    • Boeing 737-500 – pitch, 32/33 inches; width, 17.2 inches
    • Boeing 737-700 – pitch, 31 inches; width, 17 inches
    • Boeing 737-800 – pitch, 32/33 inches; width, 17 inches

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.

  • 05 of 06

    What You Need to Know About Airline Seat Pitch

    Benet J. Wilson

    • Airbus A321 – pitch, 33 inches
    • Airbus A320 – pitch, 34 inches; width, 17.8
    • Embraer 190 – pitch, 32 inches; width, 18.5

  • 06 of 06

    Alaska Airlines

    What You Need to Know About Airline Seat Pitch

    Alaska Airlines

    • Boeing 737-700 first class – pitch, ​​36 inches; width, ​21 inches; economy class, pitch, ​​32 inches; width, ​17 inches
    • Boeing 737-800 first class – pitch, ​​36 inches; width, ​21 inches; economy class, pitch, ​​31-32 inches; width, ​17 inches
    • Boeing 737-900 first class – pitch, ​​36 inches; width, ​21 inches; economy class, pitch, ​​32 inches; width, ​17 inches 

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Eight International Carriers That Offer Premium Economy

  • 01 of 08

    Eight International Carriers That Offer Premium Economy

    Photo courtesy of Air France

    Passengers flying on the French flag carrier can pay extra for Premium Economy, which offers between 36 and 38 inches of seat pitch. Other amenities include SkyPriority airport security checkpoint access; two free checked bags; early boarding; headrests and footrests; extra seat storage; a personal, adjustable reading lamp; an electronic PC outlet to charge your laptop computer; and a wide seat-back tray table allowing you to use your laptop computer and a notebook. Passengers also receive an amenity kit, a pure virgin wool blanket, a feather pillow and a bottle of water.

  • 02 of 08

    Eight International Carriers That Offer Premium Economy

    Photo courtesy of British Airways

    World Traveller Plus offers 38-inch seat pitch with greater recline, lumbar support, headrest and ​footrest in a separate cabin toward the front of the plane. Travelers also get special meals, a full bar service, a personal entertainment system with noise-reducing headphones, a pillow and blanket, an amenity kit, power supply for laptops and other electronic devices and the ability to check two bags.

  • 03 of 08

    Eight International Carriers That Offer Premium Economy

    Photo courtesy of Turkish Airlines

    The carrier offers Comfort Class only on its fleet of Boeing 777-300s. Seat pitch is a generous 46 inches and allows travelers to fully recline. The seat also includes connections in the center console to power electronic devices, individual reading lights, and an upgraded meal service.

  • 04 of 08

    eight international carriers that offer premium economy 4 - Eight International Carriers That Offer Premium Economy

    Hero Images/Getty Images

    Germany’s flag carrier will start offering Premium Economy on its fleet of Boeing 747-8s in December 2014. The carrier will have the product on all its aircraft by summer 2015. Travelers will be able to check two free bags, receive a welcome drink, seats with 38 inches of pitch along with headrests and footrests; upgraded meals and an amenity kit.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.

  • 05 of 08

    eight international carriers that offer premium economy 5 - Eight International Carriers That Offer Premium Economy

    Flashpop/Getty Images

    Premium Economy customers get dedicated check-in counters and priority boarding at the gate, along with the ability to check two pieces of luggage.  The seat features 38 inches of pitch, eight inches of recline and a headrest with four-way movement and a three-position footrest. Travelers receive an amenity kit and an upgraded meal with a welcome drink and a hot towel, a selection of enhanced entrées, complimentary bottled water and a variety of snacks.

  • 06 of 08

    eight international carriers that offer premium economy 6 - Eight International Carriers That Offer Premium Economy

    Elisabeth Schmitt/Getty Images

    International Premium Economy begins at the airport, with a separate check-in counter and a dedicated airport security checkpoint lane. Once onboard, passengers get a seat with 38 inches of pitch, a multi-way adjustable headrest, a footrest, a special meal service, an amenity kit, a pillow and blanket,  and tray table storage. Fares are based on the city-pairs traveled.

  • 07 of 08

    eight international carriers that offer premium economy 7 - Eight International Carriers That Offer Premium Economy

    Jack Taylor/Getty Images

    The carrier was one of the first to offer Premium Economy. It includes seats with 38 inches of pitch, a headrest, a leg rest and lumbar support. Passengers receive a dedicated check-in and bag drop, priority boarding,  a welcome glass of champagne, premium dining and an amenity kit.

  • 08 of 08

    eight international carriers that offer premium economy 8 - Eight International Carriers That Offer Premium Economy

    Hero Images/Getty Images

    The Dutch flag carrier’s Economy Comfort product offers four extra inches of legroom and doubles the recline. The seats are in the front of the plane, but the service in the Economy Comfort zone is the same as in Economy Class.

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How the Airlines Handle Unaccompanied Minors

  • 01 of 07

    How the Airlines Handle Unaccompanied Minors

    American Airlines

    The Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier charges a high fee for unaccompanied minors, and they can't fly on American if they are under age 5. Unaccompanied children ages 5 through 7 are accepted on nonstop or through flights only and must be accompanied by a parent or responsible adult until they board the aircraft and the flight has left the gate. The child must be met at the destination by another parent or responsible adult. Kids flying alone ages 8 through 14 can fly on nonstop, through, or connecting flights. Connecting flights must be made through the carrier’s 10 hub and major airports. Finally, kids flying alone can’t be on flights where they must make a connection with another airline, including codeshare and OneWorld partners.

  • 02 of 07

    How the Airlines Handle Unaccompanied Minors

    Delta Air Lines

    Delta also charges a high fee each way for unaccompanied minors. The Atlanta-based carrier does not allow children age 4 and under to travel alone; children ages 5 to 7 can only travel on nonstop flights, while kids ages 8 to 14 can fly on both nonstop and connecting flights. The program is optional for children 15 to 17 years old. A parent or designated accompanying adult must take an unaccompanied minor to the departure gate and remain until the flight has left the ground. Parents or an accompanying adult should report to the destination airport one hour before scheduled arrival to get a gate pass, and a valid ID must be presented before the ​child is released.

  • 03 of 07

    How the Airlines Handle Unaccompanied Minors

    ©jetBlue

    JetBlue offers by far the most details on how it handles children flying alone. Children between the ages of 5 and 14 years are required to fly as unaccompanied minors for a high fee each way. Parents are required to fill out an unaccompanied minor form before travel and bring three copies of the document to the airport. The New York-based airline requires a photo ID from the person dropping off and picking up children.  

  • 04 of 07

    How the Airlines Handle Unaccompanied Minors

    eyeImage/Pixabay

    Southwest requires that children between the ages of 5 through 11 who are traveling without a passenger age 12 or older must travel as an unaccompanied minor. The Dallas-based carrier charges a somewhat smaller fee than other airlines each way for its service. Children flying alone can only travel on nonstop or direct flights, and the service is not offered to and from international destinations.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.

  • 05 of 07

    How the Airlines Handle Unaccompanied Minors

    United Airlines

    United Airlines only allows unaccompanied minors to travel on nonstop flights operated by United (based in Chicago) or United Express. Children younger than 5 are not accepted. Those between 5 and 11 years old who are traveling alone must use United's unaccompanied minor service and pay a high fee each way. Children ages 12 to 17 can fly as unaccompanied minors on nonstop flights operated by United or United Express or they can travel as adults on any flights without using United's service for children flying alone.

  • 06 of 07

    How the Airlines Handle Unaccompanied Minors

    Paul A. Souders/Getty Images

    This Seattle-based carrier offers unaccompanied minor service for children ages 5 through 17 years old on domestic and international flights, both nonstop and connecting. The fees each way are low, but they are higher for connecting flights. 

  • 07 of 07

    How the Airlines Handle Unaccompanied Minors

    Spirit Airlines

    Spirit, based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, accepts children between 5 and 14 years old as unaccompanied minors. They are only accepted on nonstop or direct flights that don't require a change of aircraft or flight number. Parents and guardians are advised to let the airline know when booking an unaccompanied minor. The fee each way includes a drink and snack.

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Ryanair Vs. easyJet: Which Airline Is Better?

  • 01 of 05

    Which Factors Are Most Important?

    Ryanair Vs. easyJet: Which Airline Is Better?

    Caiaimage / Rafal Rodzoch / Getty Images

    Ultimately, the most important factor in choosing an airline is whatever is most important to you. For some this might be the price; for others, it might be the ease of making reservations or the availability of certain itineraries. 

    There are factors discussed in this article that shouldn't be overlooked as you consider which airline to fly on your next trip. Learn about some of the other differences between Ryanair and easyJet that can help you make your decision.

    Continue to 2 of 5 below.

  • 02 of 05

    Website Ease-of-Use

    Ryanair Vs. easyJet: Which Airline Is Better?

    Christopher Doyle / Creative Commons

    Ryanair has tried to be a friendlier airline—after the company tried to change its image, CEO Michael O'Leary famously said, “If I’d only known that being nice to customers was going to be so good for my business I would have done it years ago”. Ryanair's website, which tries to remove a lot of the problems people used to have with the company, is a step in the right direction.

    Selecting Your Route and Travel Dates

    Ryanair's website allows you to type in 'London' or 'United Kingdom' to see every relevant result, but you can't select 'London' to choose from routes for all London airports. Instead, you need to pick just one airport. On the contrary, with easyJet's website, you can search for flights from 'London' rather than picking a particular airport.

    Other important website characteristics to take into consideration:

    • Ryanair has a better suggestion tool, offering the cheapest flights from the airport you've chosen.
    • If you are conducting several searches in a row, easyJet does a better job of remembering your previously selected dates and routes while Ryanair always resets to your closest airport.
    • easyJet defaults to a 3-day view, but you can easily switch it to a three-week view. Ryanair only shows you prices for the day you selected and a couple of days before (but, inconsistently, only for the flight out, not the return flight).

    If you know where your flights and routes already, Ryanair's booking experience is now better than easyJet's, with fewer pages, no need to log in and fewer add-ons to turn down. However, if—like most budget airline passengers—you are still shopping around, you'll find that easyJet has a much better user experience.

    Price Transparency

    Price transparency is a valuable feature of any airline website. The easyJet website gives you the 'debit card' and 'credit card' price on the flight selection screen, while Ryanair doesn't tell you how much each card fee will be until after you've put all the passenger details in.

    Booking Extras

    Ryanair has come a long way since the old days of tricking you into paying for things you don't want to. Now by default, Ryanair adds nothing to your basket—even travel insurance is easy to avoid. If you do want extras, Ryanair makes it easy to purchase all sorts of services, like luggage, car rental, specific seats, insurance, and more.

    On the other hand, easyJet has two pages of extras, including hotels. If you decide you don't want any of the extras, they give you one of those annoying, 'Are you sure?' pages.

    Websites Make Booking Flights Easier

    Despite the improvements to the transparency in booking extras on Ryanair's website, booking the cheapest flights and being sure of the fees before making a decision put easyJet's website well in the lead. It is far simpler to find the best flight on easyJet's site than Ryanair's. 

    Better Website: easyJet

    Continue to 3 of 5 below.

  • 03 of 05

    Additional Fees

    Ryanair Vs. easyJet: Which Airline Is Better?

    calflier001 / Creative Commons

    Airlines need to make a certain amount of money per seat to break even but that doesn't mean they'll charge you everything up front. It costs each airline the same amount to check you in or fix a typo on your boarding card, so when you see one airline charge silly amounts for such things, you have to question the overall ethos of the company. Such penalties are devious, but which airline is worse when it comes to additional fees: Ryanair or easyJet?

    Airport Check-In Fees Compared

    It makes sense to check-in online, particularly if you have no luggage to check, as it means you can straight through security. Unless you are a non-EU citizen traveling with Ryanair, online check-in is obviously preferable, but sometimes you can't, or you forget. You can expect an additional fee for using airport check-in on Ryanair, but easyJet does not levy such fees.

    Non-EU Travel Document Check

    Not a fee as such, but a relic of Ryanair's former ways: non-EU citizens are required to go to a desk to check they have the right documents to travel. If you fail to do this, you will be denied boarding. Why would they want to deny you boarding? As Ryanair is the only airline to require this, easyJet comes out on top in this category, also.

    Name Change Fees

    A common obstacle encountered by Ryanair passengers in the past was being forced to pay a 'name change fee' to correct a typo or incorrect use of a married name when a passenger's passport showed her maiden name. Anecdotal evidence suggests that these fees can be avoided if you phone their call center (and get a friendly person on the line), plus one would expect Ryanair's new 'friendly' style might mean they are more forgiving than they used to be. Again, easyJet does not do this

    Better Fee Policies: easyJet

    Continue to 4 of 5 below.

  • 04 of 05

    Baggage Allowance

    Both airlines have a flawed baggage policy, with Ryanair performing slightly better on carry-on bags, while easyJet has better checked-bag policies.

    Carry-On Baggage Allowance

    The 'guaranteed hand baggage' policy has been dropped by easyJet, which is a disappointing step backward for the airline. There may be an unlimited weight policy for carry-on luggage, but I have never seen scales at the departure gate on any airline, so this policy is a bit meaningless as most airlines end up allowing unlimited weight in your cabin bags.

    Allowable Carry-On Sizes:

    • easyJet: 56 x 45 x 25cm
    • Ryanair: 55 x 40 x 20cm, plus a second bag measuring 35 x 20 x 20 cm

    Ryanair's new extra-small bag is great for cameras, laptops, and handbags, which used to have to go into your main luggage (still the policy on easyJet), but the airline still lets you down with a very small main bag. Allowed bags are a mere 20cm deep, which means a lot of people will need to purchase a new bag to meet these requirements.

    Both airlines have flawed policies, but Ryanair wins by a hair, as long as you already have a small enough case acceptable to the airline.

    Checked Baggage Allowance and Price

    easyJet has a simple '20€ for 20kg' policy, but Ryanair's allowance is all over the place, with a different price for different weights, seasons and destinations.

    • easyJet: 20kg. 20€. (45€ at airport)
    • Ryanair: 15kg or 20kg. 15€ (for 15kg) to 70€ (high season price)

    Best Overall Baggage AllowanceTied

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.

  • 05 of 05

    Prices

    Ryanair Vs. easyJet: Which Airline Is Better?

    Guido Mieth / Getty Images

    Ryanair and easyJet don't often fly the same route. To assess each airline's performance on price, we will take randomly selected off-season routes to compare. All are booked three months in advance, flying on a Thursday and returning on Monday whenever possible. Prices are for two people and all are without baggage, but including all other compulsory fees (such as credit card fees). I assumed travelers have some flexibility and chose the cheapest fare within a window of a couple of weeks.

    Shopping Around

    It is much easier to have such flexibility with easyJet as they have a better 'flexible search' option than Ryanair does. Interestingly, Ryanair usually beats easyJet on price, but usually not by much. However, when Ryanair is the more expensive, it is a lot more expensive.

    Obviously, you need to always shop around and don't believe that the airline you normally fly with is always the cheapest.

    Routes and Availability

    A problem with making these price comparisons was that Ryanair often didn't cover the selected route, or the route was currently not available—this was particularly the case for Edinburgh flights.

    In addition, Ryanair has still not stopped the practice of unilaterally naming an airport after a city that is often 100 kilometers away. Ryanair claims to fly to three Barcelona airports, though there only one. The situation is even worse with Ryanair's so-called Paris airports (Vatry airport is 147 kilometers from the center of Paris). On the other hand, easyJet flies to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, the main airport for the French capital.

    Best Prices: Route Dependent 

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Top Regional Airlines Serving the Caribbean

  • 01 of 10

    Top Regional Airlines Serving the Caribbean

    Photo by JetPix via Wikipedia

    LIAT is one of the biggest regional airlines in the Caribbean, providing service to 17 destinations within the Caribbean islands. Since it first started operating in 1974, LIAT has served as the primary airline of Antigua, where it's headquartered. You can book airline service to the following destinations aboard LIAT Airlines:

    • Dominican Republic (Santo Domingo)
    • Puerto Rico (San Juan)
    • U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Thomas, St. Croix)
    • The British Virgin Islands
    • St. Maarten
    • Anguilla
    • St. Kitts & Nevis
    • Antigua
    • Guadaloupe
    • Dominica
    • St. Lucia
    • Barbados
    • St. Vincent & the Grenadines (including Bequia)
    • Grenada
    • Trinidad & Tobago

     

  • 02 of 10

    Trinidad-based Caribbean Airlines offers flights throughout the islands. This state-owned company is headquartered in Piarco, Trinidad and Tobago, Caribbean Airlines also offers flights to North and Central America. You can reach these destinations in the Caribbean aboard a Caribbean Airlines flight:

    • Barbados
    • Antigua
    • Jamaica
    • Trinidad & Tobago
    • St. Lucia

  • 03 of 10

    With services to 35 cities in the United States and the Caribbean, including Boston, Nantucket, Provincetown, and Martha's Vineyard, Cape Air is headquartered in Barnstable, Massachusetts, and has a fleet size of over 90 carriers. Partnering with JetBlue Airways, Cape Air provides service to the following Caribbean destinations:

    • Puerto Rico (San Juan, Ponce, Mayaguez, Vieques)
    • U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Thomas, St. Croix)
    • The British Virgin Islands

  • 04 of 10

    Owned by the government of St. Maarten in Suba and headquartered at the Princess Juliana International Airport in Simpson Bay, Winair provides flights to 11 destinations in the Caribbean at affordable rates. Founded in 1961, most flights on Winair Airlines primarily service the Leeward Islands group in the northeastern Caribbean ​Sea, including the following destinations:

    • Anguilla
    • Antigua
    • Montserrat
    • St. Kitts & Nevis
    • Saba
    • St. Barths
    • St. Eustatius
    • St. Maarten
    • The British Virgin Islands (Tortola)

     

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.

  • 05 of 10

    This regional airline is based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and provides service to and from many major cities in the Caribbean including San Juan, St. Maarten, and the British Virgin Islands. However, this airline primarily flies to cities and islands in the Bahamas. Destinations for Air Sunshine include:

    • Bahamas (Abaco's Marsh Harbour and Treasure Cay, Stella Maris, San Salvador, Exumas's George Town, Great Inagua, New Bight)
    • Cuba (Guantanamo Bay)
    • Jamaica (Kingston)
    • Puerto Rico (San Juan, Vieques)
    • U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Thomas, St. Croix)
    • The British Virgin Islands (Tortola, Virgin Gorda)

  • 06 of 10

    The national airline of the Bahamas, BahamasAir, provides service to all the major islands of the country including often-missed destinations like Abaco and Andros. Headquartered in Nassau, BahamasAir makes stops in 32 domestic destinations including:

    • Bahamas (Nassau, Grand Bahama, Abacos, Andros, Eleuthera, Cat Island, Great Exuma, San Salvador, Long Island, Crooked Island, Mayaguana, Acklins, Little Inagua, Great Inagua)
    • Turks & Caicos
    • Cuba
    • Jamaica (Kingston)
    • Dominican Republic (Santo Domingo)

  • 07 of 10

    This French airline is the primary carrier for the islands of the French Caribbean and is headquartered in Les Abymes, Guadeloupe. With service to 14 destinations, Air Caraïbes is one of the most popular airlines for French tourists visiting the region, offering service to the following destinations:

    • Guyana
    • Barbados
    • Canouan
    • Cuba
    • Fort de France
    • Haiti
    • St. Barts
    • St. Martin
    • St. Maarten
    • St. Lucia
    • St. Johns
    • Dominican Republic
    • Martinique
    • Guadaloupe
    • Les Saintes

     

  • 08 of 10

    The official national airline of Cuba, Cubana de Aviación—which is frequently referred to as Cubana Airlines—is the country's largest airline and has been in operation since 1929, making it one of the first major carriers to emerge from Latin America. While primarily serving cities within the country, Cubana Airlines travels to these destinations:

    • Cuba (Havana, Camaguey, Santiago de Cuba, Holguin)
    • Dominican Republic (Santo Domingo)
    • Guadaloupe
    • Martinique

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.

  • 09 of 10

    Launched in June 2009, FlyMontserrat provides scheduled service between Antigua and Montserrat as well as charter service to and from Montserrat from a variety of regional destinations. Headquartered at John A. Osborne Airport in Gerald's, Montserrat on the British West Indies, this small company provides a great way to get around locally. We definitely recommend booking on a different airline if you hope to save money flying elsewhere, though.

  • 10 of 10

    interCarribean

    Formerly known as Air Turks and Caicos, interCarribean Airways is a passenger airline based in Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos Islands. With scheduled domestic and international flights to 16 destinations, this company is a great option for traveling in the area but also provides services to the following nearby destinations:

    • Turks & Caicos (Provo, South Caicos, North Caicos, Grand Turk, Salt Cay)
    • Jamaica (Kingston)
    • Haiti (Port au Prince, Cap Hatien)
    • Domincan Republic (Puerto Plata, Santiago)
    • Bahamas (Nassau)

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Booking Mexican Airlines

  • 01 of 08

    Making connections

    Booking Mexican Airlines

    John Elk III / Getty Images

    If you purchase different legs of your journey through different airlines, you are generally responsible for making your connections. That means that if your first flight is delayed or cancelled, you may miss your connection and have to pay to get your ticket changed for another flight. So be sure if you are booking flights on different airlines for the same day that you leave plenty of time in between.

  • 02 of 08

    Language barrier

    Booking Mexican Airlines

    Hola Images / Getty Images

    When you first land on the website of a Mexican airline, it may be in Spanish. Look for a little US or British flag in the corner to switch to an English version if one is available. When plugging in your search, you may have to choose your geographical region and / or currency.

  • 03 of 08

    Prices in pesos

    booking mexican airlines 3 - Booking Mexican Airlines

    Andres Balcazar/Getty Images

    Don't be too dismayed when you see a fare that is in the thousands. That's most likely pesos and not dollars. You should be able to choose the currency for the operation, or it may depend on where you are located geographically at the time of booking.

  • 04 of 08

    Fees and taxes not included

    Depending on the airline, taxes and certain fees may not be included in the initial price. You will see the total price after selecting your flight (but before entering your personal information). Taxes and fees can be astronomical – sometimes up to 40% of the airfare, so don't get too excited by a good rate until you can actually book it.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.

  • 05 of 08

    No paper tickets

    Booking Mexican Airlines

    Hinterhaus Productions / Getty Images

    It's becoming more prevalent everywhere, and it's true with Mexican airlines too: instead of receiving a paper ticket, you will receive an online reservation code and itinerary to print out. At the ticket counter you give your reservation code and show your ID in order to receive your boarding pass.

  • 06 of 08

    Alternate airports

    Mexican discount airlines may fly out of alternate airports instead of main hubs – many fly in and out of Toluca (50 km from Mexico City) in order to avoid Mexico City's overcrowded Benito Juarez International Airport. A few airlines do offer shuttle service between airport and main destinations.

  • 07 of 08

    Changes and cancellations

    Most discount airlines allow changes to reservations before the flight, and change fees are reasonable. Check your airline for deadlines for changes. Cancellations are often not allowed, nor is it permitted to change the name on the ticket. These rules vary by airline, so be sure to read all the small print when you book your flight.

  • 08 of 08

    Luggage allowance

    Booking Mexican Airlines

    Dave Nagel / Getty Images

    Baggage weight limits can be restrictive, so be sure to check that you don't go over. So, pack carefully! If you do exceed the limits, you can expect to pay extra fees. If you know you will go over, it's usually cheaper to pay extra at the time of booking rather than pay at the time of your flight. 

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8 Air Travel Rights You Didn’t Know You Have

  • 01 of 08

    Voluntary Bumping/Overbooking

    8 air travel rights you didn t know you have 1 - 8 Air Travel Rights You Didn’t Know You Have

    Kevin Dooley, via Wikimedia Commons

    The 2017 United Airlines dragging incident brought this issue to the forefront, forcing the carrier to revise how this routine situation is handled. U.S. airlines fly nearly 24,000 flights a day. The odds of passengers being on an oversold flight are pretty slim. But when it happens, the airlines prefer to first seek volunteers to take a later flight for vouchers that can be used on future travel. Not only do you get compensation (up to $10,000 on United and Delta Air Lines), but you get priority seating on the next available flight. Depending on the airline (and how desperate they are for the seat), you can ask for perks like first/business class seats , access to a premium lounge and food vouchers.​

  • 02 of 08

    Involuntary Bumping/Overbooking

    8 Air Travel Rights You Didn’t Know You Have

    Ed Pritchard/Getty Images

    If the bumping is involuntary, travelers are entitled to receive boarding compensation by check or cash, depending on the price of their ticket and the length of the delay. The key here is that the airlines can't give you vouchers, which tend to expire after a year. They must give you cash or a check.

    If the airline gets you to your final destination within an hour of the original scheduled arrival time, a traveler will not be compensated. If the substitute transportation arrives between one and two hours after the original arrival time (between one and four hours on international flights), an airline must pay an amount equal to 200 percent of the original one-way fare, with a maximum of $675. If you arrive more than two hours later (four hours internationally), or if the airline does not make any substitute travel arrangements for you, the compensation hits 400 percent of the one-way fare, with a maximum of $1350. 

    Those using frequent-flyer award tickets or a ticket issued by a consolidator will be compensated based on the lowest cash, check or credit card payment charged for a ticket in the same class of service on the flight. And travelers can keep the original ticket and either use it on another flight or ask for an involuntary refund for the ticket for the flight you were bumped from. Finally, airlines must also refund payments for services on the original flight, including seat selection and checked baggage.

  • 03 of 08

    Flight Delay or Cancellation

    8 Air Travel Rights You Didn’t Know You Have

    Markus Spiering / EyeEm / Getty Images

    Compensation for a delay or cancellation depends on the reason and the airline in question. If there's a weather delay, there’s not much that the airline can do. But if the delay is for manmade reasons, including mechanical, compensation depends on the airline you’re flying. All airlines have a contract of carriage that outlines what they will do. Travelers can ask for things including meals, phone calls or a hotel stay. They can also ask an airline to endorse the ticket over to a new carrier that has seat availability, and legacy carriers can rebook you on their first flight to your destination on which space is available without charge if you ask.

  • 04 of 08

    Air Fares

    8 Air Travel Rights You Didn’t Know You Have

    Hinterhaus Productions/Getty Images

    You’ve found what looks to be a great fare. DOT regulations allow travelers who have booked a flight at least seven days in advance to make changes or even cancel the reservations within 24 hours without being hit with a high cancellation fee. Or if an airline refuses to carry a passenger for any reason, they can apply for a refund, even if they bought a nonrefundable ticket.

     

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.

  • 05 of 08

    Ticket Changes/Cancellations

    8 Air Travel Rights You Didn’t Know You Have

    Richard Wareham/Getty Images

    Airlines sometimes have schedule or aircraft changes that force them to re-accommodate travelers on a different flight. If the change does not work, travelers have the right to propose a schedule that works better for them. It’s better to call the airline directly to make the change. Let them know you’re calling about a flight change so you’re not charged to speak with an agent. If the change is significant (like a major time change, a longer layover or even an overnight stay), you can request a refund.

  • 06 of 08

    Lost Baggage

    8 Air Travel Rights You Didn’t Know You Have

    sola deo gloria/Getty Images

    The basic rule is that if an airline loses your luggage, you will be reimbursed, depending on the type of flight. The maximum reimbursement for domestic flights is $2500. For international travel, the Warsaw Convention applies, which limits liability to approximately $9.07 per pound up to $640.00 per bag for checked baggage and $400.00 per customer for unchecked baggage. Most airlines will also provide basic necessities, like toothpaste and other personal items, to hold you over. You also have the right to ask for reimbursement to buy replacement clothes in case you were traveling for an event.

     

     

  • 07 of 08

    Damaged Baggage

    8 Air Travel Rights You Didn’t Know You Have

    Image Source/Photodisc/Getty Images

    If your luggage is damaged, go immediately to the airline’s office in the baggage claim area and file a report and document any issues. It helps if you can submit photos of the luggage before the flight. If the airline is at fault, you can negotiate a settlement to either repair the damage or replace the bag if it can’t be fixed.

  • 08 of 08

    Stuck on the Tarmac

    8 air travel rights you didn t know you have 8 - 8 Air Travel Rights You Didn’t Know You Have

    John Gress/Getty Images

    On Jan. 16, 1999, thousands of passengers were trapped for up to 10 hours on Northwest Airlines jets stranded after a major snowstorm at Detroit Metro Airport. That led to a $7.1 million settlement to those travelers and the creation DOT regulations on how long passengers can be forced to stay on a delayed plane. A similar incident happened to JetBlue at its JFK Airport hub on Valentine’s Day, 2007. The CEO announced a $30 million initiative to rewrite its procedures for handling flight disruptions and create a customer bill of rights.

    DOT rules don’t allow U.S. airline domestic flights to stay on a tarmac for more than three hours, but there are exceptions.  One: the pilot feels there is a safety or security reason why the aircraft can’t go back to the gate and deplane passengers. Two: air traffic control feels that moving an aircraft to a gate would significantly disrupt airport operations. International flights operated by U.S. carriers are required by DOT to establish and comply with their own limit on the length of tarmac delays. But passengers on both types of flights must be given food and water no later than two hours after the delay begins. Lavatories must remain operable and medical attention must be available if needed.

     

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