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Best Travel Tips for 2011

Denied-Boarding Compensation

“We missed the opera because the airline bumped us, so we’re using our denied-boarding compensation to take another trip...by train.”

Fully loaded flights have been another key to airlines’ newfound profitability, so expect bumping on oversold flights to be a fact of life this year. Know your rights: If you are bumped on a domestic flight, you must be compensated for the full one-way fare (up to $400) when you are rebooked on a plane that lands between one and two hours after your originally scheduled flight, or 200 percent of your fare (up to $800) if you land more than two hours later. Stay tuned, as the DOT is seeking to boost compensation limits to $650 and $1,300, respectively. Meanwhile, mergers may make it easier for airlines to rebook passengers as carriers gain more hubs, says George Hobica of airfarewatchdog.com.

e-Complaints

“I read a terrible e-complaint about that hotel. But was it true?”

A backlash is growing against the juggernaut of TripAdvisor and its pool of 40 million anonymous reviews. While many hotels actively solicit positive reviews from guests, the existence of vicious (and perhaps even fabricated) e-complaints on the site has led some to push back. The British company KwikChex, working with hundreds of hotels, is planning to sue the website for publishing what it calls “malicious and wholly unproven allegations,” including anonymous charges of filth, racism, and sexual assault. The website guestscan.co.uk has turned the tables completely, allowing hotels to rate unruly guests who may find themselves unwelcome at other hotels as a result. The message is clear: If you’re going to post an e-complaint, be truthful and fair.

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