ASATA Column: Navigate the fluctuating landscape

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A technology ban, changing visa regulations and enhanced security measures at airports. The rules for travel seem to be fluctuating continuously, making it almost impossible to stay abreast of the changes.

The video of a passenger being dragged from a United Airways’ flight that went viral reminded travellers that booking an air ticket doesn’t necessarily guarantee you a seat on the plane.

Most travellers are unaware of their rights when airlines need to bump someone off a flight. Chat to your ASATA-accredited travel consultant and they will tell you that although overbooking is not uncommon, you do have rights. They can also give you tips on how best to avoid being bumped off a flight, such as showing up at the gate before most passengers have checked in.

Being bumped off the airline isn’t the only concern travellers face. The recently imposed electronics ban for passengers travelling to the US via the Middle East has also caused headaches. Instead of being able to work on their flights, passengers now need to check in their laptops, iPads and any other useful electronic devices before boarding.

Not only are these new rules inconvenient to travellers, they still raise safety and security questions. In the past, airlines have always warned travellers not to pack any valuables in their luggage. What’s more is that travel insurance is unlikely to cover any losses as a result of theft.

Your ASATA travel consultant will be able to advise you which airports and airlines have been affected by the electronics ban, as well as tell you the new services airlines have introduced to minimise the impact on travellers.

Did you know that Emirates is offering a free new ‘handling service’ that allows travellers to keep using laptops until the plane takes off? And that Qatar Airways introduced a ‘Laptop Loan’ service that will provide business travellers with a replacement laptop to work on during their flight?

There is so much more to travel than simply booking a ticket. Your ASATA travel consultant will be able to perfectly navigate this difficult landscape for you, allowing you to travel with peace of mind.