Answers to the 5 most common flight questions

February 6, 2014 |

Many smart businesses use a travel management company to ensure that they get the best travel rates and avoid the headaches that often come with booking travel, especially when it comes to needing to cancel or change a flight or book rooms in hotels in a foreign country. Business travelers will be thankful they don't have to figure these things out on their own, but what about when they want to embark on family vacations, either in the U.S. or abroad? Here are some of the top travel questions and answers to pass along to your employees when they're organizing personal travel:

I booked my flight several months ago but now need to cancel. Will I be reimbursed?

It depends. If you bought a refundable flight – which is typically more expensive – then you're in the clear. If not, you will be issued a ticket credit that you can use up to one year from the day you booked the flight (not the day you were supposed to fly). However, you'll also be charged an expensive change fee, though the amount varies by company. Airlines infrequently make exceptions for very grave situations, though that also depends on the issue and the airline.

How much time do I need between connecting flights for international travel?

If you're planing a getaway outside the U.S. and need to take a few flights to reach your final destination, one of the biggest concerns is making sure you catch your connecting flights – especially the first one; if not, that could throw off the rest of your planned travel. It's nearly impossible to predict delays, especially for international travel, and a two hour layover is probably not enough to cushion for a delay. Five hours is a good time to shoot for – anything more than that might be intolerable if you don't have flight delays. But if you keep in mind that you can't control all of the details, you'll know that if you do miss a connecting flight, at least you did your best to be prepared.

What if my flight is stuck on the tarmac and I need to get off?

Though you hear horror stories about flights being stuck on the tarmac for several hours, they actually aren't very frequent. If tarmac delays do happen, they are usually due to poor weather conditions and at most last an hour. But thankfully, the Department of Transportation now requires airlines to let passengers off the plane if the tarmac delay lasts more than three hours.

What is the best day to book airfare?

There are many theories on this, so a definitive answer might be hard to come by, though every travel planner has his or her own idea about the best day of the week to book airfare, and why that is true. It depends on the season, the destination and whether or not there are holiday sales. However, since many airlines release that week's sales on Mondays, several experts agree that Tuesday afternoons are the best days to get a deal, when airfares are trying to match each other's prices or lower prices to compete.

Can you still get a window or aisle seat in coach?

Yes, on many airlines. However, your best bet for airlines that don't let you choose seats when you book travel is to make sure you check in right away, which often means 23 hours and 59 minutes before your flight is set to take off!