Traveling with pets can be challenging. You have to find pet-friendly hotels and restaurants, not to mention having to figure out what type of transportation you’ll take. A new ranking of the 10 most pet-friendly airports in America makes the whole process a little bit easier for pet parents, though.
According to Upgraded Points, an online resource that provides information on credit card travel rewards, New York City's John F. Kennedy International Airport is the best airport for animals in the U.S. The site took different factors into account, including the number and quality of “pet relief stations” (places where animals can pee without other passengers getting peeved), onsite boarding and daycare facilities, and other pet perks, such as dog parks with water fountains. The airports were ranked according to a point system, with 10 being the maximum number of points awarded; JFK Airport received a perfect score.
“JFK is definitely the airport to beat when it comes to pet-friendly amenities,” the site said in its analysis. “Multiple terminals have access to post-security pet relief areas, so you’re never far away from one without having to leave the secured area of the airport.”
The airport provides 24/7 access to veterinary services for all sorts of animals, as well as plenty of potty areas. One of the terminals even has a 4000-square-foot outdoor garden patio, better known as the “wooftop,” where doggies can get some fresh air and run free. (It also beats waiting for your plane in a stuffy gate area.)
Despite being the busiest airport in the world with nearly 104 million passengers last year, the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport still finds time to cater to four-legged travelers. It received a score of 9.5, making it the country's second most pet-friendly airport. Some of its selling points include indoor pet-relief stations in every concourse (with faux fire hydrants adding a nice finishing touch) and a 1000-square-foot dog park.
Keep scrolling to see the full list, and visit the Upgraded Points website for a detailed breakdown of the data.
1. John F. Kennedy International Airport: 10 points
2. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport: 9.5 points
3. Sky Harbor International Airport: 9 points
4. Los Angeles International Airport: 8.5 points
5. Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport: 8.25 points
6. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport: 7.75 points
7. Reno-Tahoe International Airport: 7.5 points
8. Dallas Love Field Airport: 7.25 points
9. Denver International Airport: 7 points
10. Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport: 6.75 points
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Making travel plans for the holidays is stressful enough, so when you learn that you booked your flight for the wrong date and you have to pay $200 to change it, you may be tempted to stay home until the new year. But switching a flight after you've already paid for it doesn't have to be expensive. With some insider knowledge, you can rearrange your travel plans while avoiding the extra fees all together.
If you haven't booked your flights for the holidays yet, start by selecting an airline that will grant you some flexibility. According to Free, Delta, United, and American Airlines are all on the high end when it comes to cancellation fees, charging $200 or more if you want to switch your flight. Allegiant and JetBlue charge some of the smallest fees—as low as $75 depending on your ticket—and Southwest charges customers nothing at all even if they cancel the day of their flight.
There's one exception to these policies that affects all airlines flying out of the U.S.: the 24-hour rule. If you buy a ticket for 11/12 only to realize you meant to book it for 12/11, you're entitled to a full refund mandated by the Department of Transportation, as long you booked at least seven days ahead of the departure date. All you need to do is request a refund within 24 hours of making the mistake to get your money back.
If the 24-window has already passed, check to see if your credit card offers trip cancellation insurance. Depending on the reason for your change of plans (illness, injury, bad weather, and even getting laid off may qualify you), your card may reimburse you up to $10,000 for the unused ticket. And even if you don't have travel insurance, such emergency circumstances may qualify you for a refund if you plead your case directly to the airline's customer service department.
When all else fails, your best option is to wait until the absolute last minute to switch your ticket. There's a chance that weather or scheduling issues may push back the flight or cancel it all together—if that's the case, you may be able to get a refund on a flight you never intended to board.
After getting your tickets sorted out, all you have to deal with is packing, parking, and getting through security before going home for the holidays. Here are some tips for making the process less stressful.
Another major data breach has compromised the personal information of up to 500 million people. Guests of Marriott International's Starwood Hotels—which includes hotel brands like Sheraton, Westin, W, Aloft, and St. Regis—who made reservations on or before September 10, 2018 are at risk, according to The Washington Post.
Marriott says that because the Starwood leak dates back all the way to 2014 (before Marriott International's acquisition of the company in 2016), the full extent of the breach isn't yet clear. However, we do know that the data that hackers were able to access from the Starwood Hotels reservation system involved more than just your preference for a queen- or king-sized bed.
The leak included names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, passport numbers, birthdays, gender, loyalty program account info, and reservation info, including arrival and departure dates. Though the credit card information on file was encrypted, the hotel chain can't guarantee that the hackers aren't able to decrypt those customers' card numbers and expiration dates. Roughly 327 million guests were involved with the wide-ranging leak, while a lesser number only had their names, addresses, email addresses, and some other limited information shared with hackers.
According to the MIT Technology Review, it's one of the biggest data thefts ever. So what are current and former Starwood guests supposed to do?
Beware of Phishing.
If you have stayed at one of Marriott's Starwood brands (and there are a lot of them), be on the lookout for an email from Marriott notifying you that your data might have been stolen. If you do receive an email, make sure that it's not a phishing attempt by someone looking to capitalize on the situation. Legitimate emails will come from firstname.lastname@example.org. "Please note that the email you may receive from us will not contain any attachments or request any information from you, and any links will only bring you back to this webpage," the Marriott page explaining the incident warns. (The company won't ask for your password or other information over the phone, either.)
Sign Up for Fraud Monitoring.
To help customers whose data was stolen, Marriott is offering a free year of fraud monitoring from WebWatcher. The program monitors sites where your personal information may be shared and alerts you if your data pops up. It offers reimbursement for legal costs and expenses associated with identity theft and access to a fraud specialist who can help you through the process of monitoring and protecting your data.
Watch Your Accounts.
Marriott is also encouraging guests to monitor their Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty accounts, change their passwords (use a password manager and two-factor authentication), be careful of phishing attempts, and, if they think their identity has been stolen, contact law enforcement.
Sign Up for Credit Alerts.
To be really safe, you may also want to place a credit alert with the major credit bureaus, which will make it harder for someone to open new accounts and lines of credit in your name.