- UK consumer champion Which? has added its voice to pressure groups in various European nations to stop airlines cancelling the return trips of travellers who miss the first leg of a booked flight, with many passengers seriously out of pocket due to “no-show” terms and conditions hidden in the small print that apply when the plane has not been boarded for the first leg of a ticketed flight. This adversely affects anyone who has travelled outward by an alternative means or route. Which? also contacted nine of the main airlines involved in this practice, including British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, notifying them these provisions are likely in violation of the Consumer Rights Act.
- If seeking a seat upgrade, do not book a vegetarian or vegan dish beforehand. Upgrades are apparently rare in such instances, since there may not be an equivalent replacement dish on offer in front. If you’re in the airline company’s frequent-flyer system without special nutritional needs, you’re more likely to be relocated to better seats.
- Inform your family or fellow travellers of your travel insurance details so they know who to contact in a worst-case scenario; otherwise, there may no point in taking out such cover in the first place.
- Don’t fly in shorts, a T-shirt, or wear flip-flops, even if the weather at your departure and arrival points is said to be warm. Planes may be delayed or rerouted and stopovers may occur in frozen climes. Be prepared. Under the same heading, put a spare change of underwear into your hand luggage.
- Leave a copy of your passport with someone at home, and put a laminated copy of your name, address and phone/email contact details into your travel case as a luggage tag can go missing.
- Carry medication in its original packaging, if possible with your prescription, to cover you should customs have questions. Your travel experience might otherwise prove rather unpleasant. It’s also worthwhile checking if your medication and dosage are legal in the country you’re visiting; a quick search on Google should provide an answer.
- Include the plug adaptor and charger for your phone in your hand luggage. Flight crews know only too well how frequently planes are delayed or diverted, and avoid risking a flat battery in a foreign country. Remember also to switch off data roaming before leaving the UK or EU countries in which it doesn’t incur additional cost for you. Many an unwary traveller has returned home to an exorbitant bill, sometimes thousands of pounds for data roaming.
- Be on the lookout for dangerous phone apps, both iPhone and Android, that acquire your private info, including bank details, then use these to scam you. One example is Optimization Android, masked as a battery optimisation app; it asks you to approve the seemingly innocent Enable Statistics but, when you do so you’re prompted to sign in on PayPal, and it then steals money from you. There are also iPhone apps appropriating your data without your knowledge or consent while storing images of your bank and other details.
- Travel sites like Expedia-owned Hotels.com, and Hollister, plus airlines including Air Canada and Singapore Airlines record every phone move you make, including some without your permission. A TechCrunch investigation found several apps take screenshots to clandestinely monitor your use of their software. Air Canada’s iPhone app did not adequately exclude sensitive info such as passport numbers and credit card data and last year, Air Canada admitted its app had experienced a data breach exposing 20,000 user profiles. Subsequently, it has been reported Apple told app developers to “remove or properly disclose their use of analytics code that allows them to record how a user interacts with their iPhone apps — or face removal from the app store”.