Hey American Airlines, here’s your $25 — I hope you’re happy

After my recent luggage standoff with an American Airlines gate agent in Orlando, which ended with her threatening to charge me $100 to check my regulation-size bags on my return flight, a lot of you have asked me how the journey home went.

The regional airline code-share fraud — AA and UA play it again

As our government studies the uneven safety standards and differences in pilot training programs between mainline and regional airlines, both American and United airlines announced new code-shared flights that confuse and mislead the flying public. The FAA must say enough! There needs to be a freeze on additional regional airline contracts until the FAA can bring a unified safety structure into place.
By |February 25th, 2010|Today|4 Comments|

What we’re reading: Kingfisher joins oneworld, cockpit recorders, U.S. passenger revenue rises

Kingfisher joins with oneworld, NTSB asks to monitor pilot conversations, U.S. passenger revenue rose in January

“Dude, where’s my upgrade?” Why more fliers with miles and status get stuck in coach

While airlines like to promote free tickets with their mileage programs, the award that many even semi-regular clients want is an upgrade. These are the very awards that are getting harder to get.
By |February 24th, 2010|Today|12 Comments|

Curling gets no respect!

As the Vancouver Winter Olympics were televised, I found that curling had replaced money making on CNBC a few times. Being a creature of habit, I didn't change the channel, but settled in to watch curling. The next day I watched it again, then again. I even cheered when the U.S. women's team beat the U.K. and when the men managed to finally win their first match. So, in the interest of intercultural understanding, I asked Karen Cummings, the only person I know who has actually curled, to write a bit about this poorly-understood sport. Isn't that what travel is all about?
By |February 24th, 2010|Columns|5 Comments|

French air traffic controllers’ strike creates havoc

Lufthansa pilots just had a short strike. British Airways flight attendants are planning a strike. Now French (and possibly Greek) air controllers are on strike. You need a score card. Karen Fawcett reports from France where the French air traffic controllers are in day two of their action and air traffic is suffering from all of the above.
By |February 24th, 2010|Today|2 Comments|

Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the … ouch! What was that?

Bedbugs. Just the mention of these tiny, bloodsucking insects is enough to send a veteran road warrior packing. But what does a hotel owe you if you’ve been ravaged by a swarm of Cimex lectularius during your stay?
By |February 24th, 2010|Today|2 Comments|

What we’re reading: Greek airlines merge, NASA researching VTOL jets, 787 test flight cut short

Aegean Airlines to merge with Olympic Airways, NASA researching VTOL regional jets, 787 test flight cut short

Forget about climate change, let’s get to work changing the air-traffic system

I just saw another article about a new “attempt at passing a climate change bill in the Senate.” With the underpinnings of climate change in doubt, resignations of UN environmental bigwigs, flat temperatures over the past 15 years and the discovery that glaciers covering the Hymalayas are not likely to disappear in a decade, I think that this is a bill that can wait.

Climate change legislation is something that it seems no one can agree on. Even those for and against the issue don’t agree within their camps. But, I can name one issue in Washington where everyone involved agrees — the need to modernize our air traffic control system. Let’s get it done.

By |February 23rd, 2010|Today|0 Comments|

Elegy for an anniversary — 32 years with Ozark

Last week I celebrated what would have been my 32nd anniversary with Ozark Air Lines. Well, perhaps “celebrate” is too strong a word. No corks were popped, no cakes decorated. The only thing I did to commemorate the occasion was watch the very same episode of “The Rockford Files” (“The Prisoner of Rosemont Hall”) that I had watched that Friday evening those many years ago as I packed for my very first trip. I also took some time to reflect on my expectations at the beginning of my career and how different things look now that that career has ended.
By |February 23rd, 2010|Today|3 Comments|