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The Airline Most Likely to Reward You for Giving Up Your Seat on an Oversold Flight | Frommer's Jorge Diaz/Flickr

Free Laptops on Qatar Airways, Rewards for Seat Volunteers, and Bob Dylan's Archive: Today's Travel Briefing

Travel news from all over

APRIL 4, 2017 — Good morning, everybody! Here's the latest from the world's museums and airports.


The Trump administration won't let airline passengers carry their own laptops onto flights from Qatar to the United States, so Qatar Airways has begun loaning out free laptops to every passenger in business class on those flights.

Qatar is one of eight Middle Eastern and North African countries subject to the ban, which the Department of Homeland Security began enforcing on March 25, vaguely citing efforts by terrorist groups to bring explosives onto planes by hiding them in electronics. The ban covers any such device bigger than a cell phone, including laptops, tablets, and cameras. The U.K. soon followed suit with a similar ban covering six countries (interestingly enough, Qatar isn't one of them).

Other airlines affected by the rule, such as Emirates, have adapted by letting passengers hold onto their devices until they reach the gate. But Qatar's PC-loaning program goes further, letting those in business class borrow laptops for the duration of the flight and then upload material onto USB drives.

The program is only for business class, though. If you're in economy, you're out of luck. —Zac Thompson

And now for a story about airline generosity closer to home . . . 


For many airline passengers, an oversold flight creates anxiety over the potential for delays, a hectic boarding process, or even—worst-case scenario—getting bumped to a later departure time.

But where some see uncertainty, others see opportunity. Passengers with flexible schedules who are willing to give up their seats for later flights are sometimes offered hundreds of dollars in vouchers to spend during their extra time at the airport.

Though all airlines oversell seats, your chances of getting compensated for volunteering are greater on some carriers than others, according to a new study. crunched recently released 2016 Department of Transportation data ranking major airlines on how often they pay volunteers to give up confirmed seats on oversold flights.

The results show that on average, across all airlines, 6.6 of every 10,000 passengers became volunteers for compensation—either for flying later or not flying at all.

The most likely to pay volunteers? Delta Air Lines, which was well above the average with 10 out of every 10,000 passengers being compensated for their trouble. In second place, with a rate of 7.2 per 10,000 passengers, is United Airlines. And much further behind is American, with only 4.1 per 10,000 passengers.

Besides being the most frequent to offer compensation to volunteers, Delta is often generous in what it gives, doling out vouchers and gift cards—sometimes valued as high as $800—that can be used anywhere. Delta occasionally engages in reverse auction bids at the gate, too.

Least likely to pay volunteers are JetBlue and Hawaiian. But that has less to do with stinginess than those airlines’ tendency not to overbook flights.

Most likely to bump passengers are regional airlines, which have smaller aircraft and therefore fuller flights. Last year 14.7 of every 10,000 passengers on those carriers volunteered their seats in exchange for compensation.

The study also shows a decline in involuntary bumping since 2010. There has been less need for it as airlines have improved methods of accurately forecasting demand. —Jessica Monsell


Fans of music legend and Nobel laureate Bob Dylan will soon have another pilgrimage site to visit, alongside Hibbing, Minnesota, where he grew up; New York City's Greenwich Village, where his career began; and Mobile, where by his own account he repeatedly got stuck with the Memphis blues.

The newest stop is Tulsa, Oklahoma, where a big chunk of Dylan's 6,000-piece archive has been made available for scholarly research at that city's Gilcrease Museum.

Among the treasures in the musician's trove: handwritten lyrics, correspondence from everybody from Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones to former first lady Michelle Obama, and hours upon hours of audio recordings and film reels.

At the moment, the archive is only available to scholars. But the public will get to have a look at many items, too, when the Bob Dylan Center opens in Tulsa—something that's expected to take place in two years or so.

The new facility will be housed in the same building where you'll find the Woody Guthrie Center, honoring one of Dylan's idols. —ZT  

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