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Your Trip Assistant

TRIP ASSISTANT (TRAVEL + LEISURE)

Q: Why does it seem that the more I search for an airfare online, the more the price increases?

A: Pure coincidence, say the online travel agencies that we put this question to. These sites simply do not have the ability to adjust airfares according to your searches. It’s likely that you are finding a fare with only limited seats available at that price. and, as the adage goes, you snooze, you lose.

21: The average number of days before departure that Kayak found domestic airfares at their lowest.

Q: How to Make a Tight Flight Connection

Do...

Ask to be moved closer to the front of the cabin just before landing, so you can make a quick exit.
Run straight to the gate for your connection—even if it’s past your departure time.

Don’t...

Despair. A flight won’t wait for one passenger, but system-wide delays might result in a lucky break.
Book tight connections through large airports. Anything less than a 90-minute window is unrealistic.

Q: Airplane Etiquette—What to Do About a Space-Hogging Seatmate

Do...

Assert your territory early on: claim your overhead and under-seat space, and put the armrests down.
Be sensitive about passengers of size. Alert your flight attendant discreetly; you may be able to switch seats.

Don’t...

Resort to dirty looks, or subtle little pushes. Being passive-aggressive only escalates the problem.
Be greedy. Airplane etiquette says that the middle-seat passenger has rights to both inner armrests.

Q: Just How Clean is Your Hotel Bedspread?

A: In the past few years, nearly all major hotel brands have phased out their polyester bedspreads in favor of duvets with easy-to-clean covers. Westin, Marriott, and Hilton, along with Four Seasons, Le Méridien, Ritz-Carlton, and St. Regis, all wash duvet covers between each stay. Some hotels simply use sheets to shield you from duvets. Make sure to sleep under the third sheet in these instances.

Noisy Hotel Neighbors Do's and Don'ts

Do…

Call the manager on duty. He can dispatch security. He’ll also know when your rowdy floor mates are checking out.
Ask for earplugs. Most hotels expect some type of noise pollution, be it from tropical birds, traffic, or a wailing toddler.

Don’t…

Take matters into your own hands. You want the hotel to be involved early on in case the culprit is uncooperative.
Demand that other guests move for your sake. If you want a quieter space, expect to switch rooms yourself.

Q: Is the “service charge” on my room-service bill the same as a gratuity?

A: Though the exact definition varies from hotel to hotel, service charge usually indicates a pooled tip, to be divided up by the entire room service department. If your specific attendant was particularly good, you may consider giving an extra gratuity—but are in no way obliged to do so. To be sure, ask what the hotel’s policy is when placing your order.

Q: I Accidentally Damaged My Hotel Room!

Do...

Assess the mess. One that only requires cleanup costs less than one that calls for replacing broken furniture and fixtures.
Fess up. The hotel will find out regardless—and you’ll want to be there to plead your case.

Don’t...

Fret if the damage is small and unintentional. Hotels will often let you go without penalty.
Assume you can walk away scot-free. If the damage is major, you could be responsible for repairs and lost revenue.