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Tough talkin’ Transportation Department slaps United with $75,000 fine

A few days ago, a Transportation Department official bristled when I suggested that its recent fines against airlines were little more than warning shots. It turns out the DOT isn't done making its point.

Should Congress dictate carry-on bag sizes?

This may come under the "careful what you wish for" category. We have all grumbled under our breath (well sometimes, no-so-under-our-breath) about passengers carrying oversized luggage aboard plane as carry-on luggage. Rep. Lipinski (D-Ill.) is proposing a law mandating the maximum size of bags a passenger can carry on board.
By |August 31st, 2009|Today|13 Comments|

Why won’t airlines follow their own change rules?

As many travel articles and posts have noticed, airlines are making an increasingly large part of their revenue from change fees. Which, while sometimes irritating, is certainly their right.
By |August 31st, 2009|Today|8 Comments|

Customs and Border Patrol agents are still randomly confiscating laptops — is yours next?

Ned discusses the latest news about the Customs and Border Patrol’s program to randomly search and seize laptops, digital cameras, cellphones and other electronic devices at the border, without warrants, reasonable suspicion or probable cause, and what travelers can do to protect their privacy and security.
By |August 31st, 2009|Columns|8 Comments|

What we’re reading: Lufthansa may drop cargo fleet, when should you buy your tickets, the best places to eat in Los Angeles

Lufthansa may drop its cargo fleet if a night flight ban is enacted.

Funny videos: View from a travel agent’s desk, dealing with lost luggage, George Carlin classic

Travel agent training video

Courtesy of Karen Cumming’s sharp eyes, here is a short show that purports to be a training video for travel agents used to get them ready for the different clients they may meet. If you are a travel agent, you’ll see lots here that seems very familiar. For us clients, try not to be one of these customers who don’t really know what they want or want, ahem, a bit too much.

By |August 29th, 2009|Today|9 Comments|

“I wish I could afford a reclining seat”

Sometimes the comments on an airline-sanctioned video are as interesting as the video itself. Delta Air Lines just posted these impressive images of its new lie-flat business class seat.

New Orleans still picking itself up neighborhood by neighborhood

It’s been four years since Hurricane Katrina broke through levees in New Orleans and hurtled across the city. The population is down something like 173,000, however tourism is coming back and districts are slowly rebuilding. The rebirth is a tribute to the power of neighborhoods and small groups that have led the efforts.
By |August 29th, 2009|Today|4 Comments|

All we’re really asking for are fair fares

Turns out passengers are upset about rising luggage fees -- and more.

Seat-back pockets — the next airline/passenger battleground?

The battle between the airlines and passengers regarding the amount of "stuff" (that's a technical term) that passengers can bring with them is seemingly never-ending. Checked baggage fees keep going up and up, and carry-on limits are more carefully enforced. The combination means passengers have a greater incentive to bring as much as they can on board, but to consolidate it upon boarding. So, instead of bringing books and papers separately, many travelers will pack them in a carry-on, but then put the bag overhead, and the reading material in the seatback pocket in front of them. Others do the same with toiletries, craft materials, and other things they want to use in flight. Now this practice could just be about to change.
By |August 28th, 2009|Today|25 Comments|