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December 12, 1980 - Image 5

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-12-12

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The Michigan Daily-Friday, December 12, 1980-Page 5

PAYMENT FOR OVERBOOKING

Travelers getting 'bumped,'

rich on airline plan

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The
flight attendant's voice fills the plane as
rassengers buckle their seat belts,
eady to fly home to the folks for the
holidays: "We're overbooked, ladies
and gentlemen, and we need volunteers
to take a later flight."
For many air travelers, that announ-
cement may signal a new chance to
wheel and deal for coupons better than
cash toward future plane tickets.
Passenger "bumping," voluntary or
not, is common especially around
hristmas. A savvy bumpee can
negotiate himself a deal worth 150 per-
cent of his ticket price, maybe more -
some airlines won't divulge their
ceilings for the coupon payoff,
MANY MAJOR air. carriers started
offering the coupons, or "travel
vouchers," earlier this year as a way to

ease cash-flow problems. To get
passengers to bite they upped the ante,
offering as much as 50 percent more
than what the bumped traveler would
get in cash.
"The certificates have been very
popular, and people are willing to take
them," said Don' Canalte, a United
Airlines spokesman in Denver. "Our
purposeis to reduce our cash outlay,
and we, hope it will improve the
passengers' perception of our com-
pany."
Added Frank Stephan, passenger
services manager for Trans World
Airlines in Kansas City: "By giving out
coupons rather than cash, sooner or
later we get it back. If it's cash, people
can spend it at another airline or at the
supermarket, for that matter."
BUT THE coupons are new and

relatively unregulated. Pat Kennedy, a
consumer protection staffer for the
Civil Aeronautics Board, suggests that
passengers make sure they know what
restrictions the airlines have put on the
vouchers before they accept them.
Questions she says to ask: Is it tran-
sferrable? "Can you give it to your
mother for Christmas?" she asked. Will
it expire after jcertain period? Can
you use it anytime, or is it void on
holidays? Can you use it to buy a
discount ticket?
On an average day hundreds of
travelers with confirmed reservations
are told they can't get on their flights.
Airlines routinely promise seats to 10
percent to 20 percent more passengers
than a plane will hold because of the no-
show factor, which increases
dramatically during holiday periods,

officials say.
THE CAB requires airlines to pay
cash penalties - they call it "denied
boarding compensation" - to such
passengers. The procedure came about
as protection for passengers on those
occasions when everyone who has
reserved space on a flight shows up.
The penalty is equal to the ticket
price, with a minimum of $37.50 and a
ceiling of $200. If the passenger has to
wait more than two hours for the next
flight, the amount is doubled. Last
year, airlines paid out some $32 million
to bumped passengers.
Earlier this year the CAB approved a
new wrinkle in compensation. The
agency granted the airlines' request
that instead of cash they be allowed to
issue payment coupons good toward
purchase of future airline tickets, if the

passengers agreed.
"IT'S THE same-logic as merchants
who'll allow you to exchange
something, but would rather not give a
refund," said Dean Witt, the CAB's
representative for 10 midwestern
states, based in Des Plaines, Ill. "If
they give you a voucher, maybe you'll
be back in two weeks and fly with
them."
Among major airlines offering the
coupons are United, TWA, and
American. United, which claims credit

for originating the idea, says the new
practice has increased the number of
voluntary "bumps."
United will not say how much it's
prepared to offer passengers for giving
up their seats. TWA uses a ceiling of 150
percent of what the mandatory cash
payment would be, 125 percent if the
amount is more than $300.
Because the coupon scheme is so
new, there are no overall figures
available on how passengers like it.

Self-proclaimed witch boils male roommate

l{
Now through January 4
Admission $2; Students/Seniors $1
Children under 12 with Adults Free.
H ours : m:30 a..-5:30p.. I'usday throughSundaN
A14911z7,

CHICAGO (UPI) -- A self-
proclaimed witch scalded, beat and
starved her male roommate because he
"twisted the little paws" of her four pet
cats, a key prosecution witness at her
murder trial said.
The defendant, Yvonne Kleinfelder,
45, has been charged with the murder of
John Comer, 46, who was found lying
naked on the floor of her apartment
May 1, critically burned over 50 percent
of his body.
Hermia Ruby Brewer, 28, testified
Tuesday at a bench trial before Judge
Frank Machala that the woman told
her,. "I scalded him and beat him with

belts. I was sick of his mouth and he
twisted the little paws of my cats."
"YVONNE BOILED me," police said
Comer told them as they placed him in
an ambulance. He died in a hospital the
next day.
Brewer said she found Comer lying
on the floor of the apartment, moaning,
when she went to visit Kleinfelder.
Brewer said she asked permission to
call an ambulance and was told by
Kleinfelder to give her "time to clear
out and get someone to take care of the
cats."
Comer had not been fed from the time
he was scalded until authorities were

called six days later, authorities said.
Kleinfleder said she allowed the cats to
climb all over the dying man, Brewer
told the judge.
Kleinfelder is a self-proclaimed
"high priestess of a double coven of
witches," and often held satanic
Primitive people used obsidian, a
lava resembling black glass, to make
tools and weapons.
a; -

masses in her apartment, Assistant
Cook County State's Attorney Nicholas
Faklis said.

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