Originally created 06/08/06

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So, you're all ready for that nice getaway from home, got your bags checked in at the airport and are anxious to get on the plane. But it's summertime, and the airline's overbooked. An airline employee comes up to you and asks if you'll agree to not board this flight. The following is important information to keep in mind before you take the offer.

Overbooking of flights is not illegal, and most airlines overbook their scheduled flights to compensate for "no-shows." The U.S. Department of Transportation requires airlines to ask people who aren't in a hurry to give up their seats voluntarily, in exchange for compensation. If you're bumped involuntarily, you are, with a few exceptions, entitled to compensation.

The DOT doesn't specify how much the airline has to give volunteers, meaning airlines can negotiate with their passengers for a mutually acceptable amount of money or other benefits. Before you become a volunteer, get answers to these important questions:

- When is the next flight on which the airline can confirm your seat? The alternate flight might be acceptable, but if the airline offers to put you on standby on another flight that's full, you could be stranded.

- Will the airline provide amenities such as free meals, a hotel room, phone calls or ground transportation? If not, you might have to spend the money they offer you on food or lodging while you wait for the next flight.

- If the airline offers you a free ticket, how long is the ticket good for? Is it "blacked out" during holiday periods? Can it be used for international flights? Can you make a reservation for the ticket and how far before departure are you permitted to make it?

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, Aviation Consumer Protection Division


Activities and entertainment events scheduled for this week include:


FREE CONCERT: Flashback will perform at 7 p.m. at Maude Edenfield Park, 400 Buena Vista Ave., North Augusta, as part of the free Music in the Park concert series. Visitors can bring chairs and a picnic supper. Call (803) 442-7588.

MAC MEETING: The CSRA Apple Macintosh Users Group will meet at 7 p.m. at Nancy Carson Library, 135 Edgefield Road, North Augusta. Visitors are welcome. For more information, call (803) 279-6456.


MUSICAL CRUISES: Not Gaddy and IDrum2U will hold a drum circle from 7 to 9 p.m. aboard a Petersburg boat tour, starting at the Augusta Canal Interpretive Center at Enterprise Mill, 1450 Greene St., as part of the center's Moonlight Music Cruise series. For more information, call (706) 823-0440, Ext. 4.

MOVIE UNDER THE STARS: E.T. will be shown at dusk at Georgia Golf Hall of Fame Botanical Gardens, 1 11th St.. The $1 admission is payable by cash or check at the gate. Proceeds benefit the MCG Children's Medical Center. Call (706) 721-4004 for more information.

AIKEN'S COOKIN' WITH CELEBRITY CHEFS: The event will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Rye Patch, 100 Berrie Road. Tickets cost $30 in advance and $35 at the door. Proceeds will benefit the Mental Health Association in Aiken. Call (803) 641-4164 for more information.

DEATHTRAP: The Aiken Community Playhouse production will be performed at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts, 126 Newberry St., Aiken. Tickets cost $17 for adults, $15 for seniors, $12 for students, and $6 for ages 12 and younger. Call (803) 648-1438 or visit www.aikencommunityplayhouse.com.


MEN IN APRONS: The event will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Gordon Club, 19th Street, Building 18402. Categories include main dish, meats, appetizers, desserts and soul food. There will be live jazz, food samples and a chance to win prizes. Tickets cost $10. A photo ID is required for admission to the installation. For more information, call (706) 791-6780 or visit www.fortgordon.com.

HYDRANGEAS GALORE: The plant sale, sponsored by the CSRA Hydrangea Society, will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Pendleton King Park, 1600 Troupe St. Proceeds benefit a horticulture scholarship for Aiken Technical College and a new hydrangea garden at the park. For more information, call (803) 644-9400.

YOUTH WING MEETING: The Aiken Community Playhouse Youth Wing, open to middle and high school pupils, will meet from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts, 126 Newberry St. For more information, call (803) 648-1438 or visit www.aikencommunityplayhouse.com.


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