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About Edward Hasbrouck

"The Practical Nomad"

European air travel after Eyjafjallajokull

Some people I know, even some Europeans, think I'm wrong. The public has a short memory and a large desire for cheap flights, they argue. Unless there's another large eruption soon, they think Europeans will go back to air travel as usual.

Airlines, travel agencies, Congress join public outcry against passport fee increase

We don't think it's fair or legal for the government to charge you a fee to exercise your rights under the First Amendment and international human rights treaties to enter or leave the USA. Those rights are all but absolute, and rules that restrict or burden them, such as by imposing fees, are subject to strict scrutiny.

U.S. raising fees for both inbound and outbound travelers

Under a series of new laws and regulatory proposals, almost everyone traveling internationally to or from the USA — U.S. passport holders, visa-free foreign visitors, and foreigners with visas — would have to pay more in government fees for the required credentials and/or permissions.

TSA budget: 1,000 more strip-search machines

The Obama Administration announced their fiscal year 2010 budget proposal today. Under the administration’s proposal for DHS appropriations, the TSA’s annual budget would increase by more than a billion dollars from 2009 to 2011, with most of that going toward the purchase of “up to 1,000″ new virtual strip-search (”Whole Body Imaging” or, in the latest euphemistic language of the budget, “Advanced Imaging Technology”) machines.
By |February 3rd, 2010|Today|9 Comments|

TSA’s nose grows as they explain whole-body scanners

Already this week the TSA was caught in a lie about what it likes to call whole body imaging (virtual strip search) machines, when the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) obtained documents showing that, despite TSA claims that “this state-of-the-art technology cannot store, print, transmit or save the image,” the TSA actually requires all of these capabilities — image storage, printing, and transmission — as part of the contract specifications for the body scanners.
By |January 14th, 2010|Today|20 Comments|

New year, new airline bankruptcy, same old lies

In a press release announcing the filing, headlined "Business Will Continue Unaffected", Mesa claimed that, "Customers can be assured that tickets will continue to be sold and honored, all terms and conditions governing tickets purchased remain the same, and our frequent flyer program remains intact." That's a lie.
By |January 6th, 2010|Today|7 Comments|

Regional airlines lie about codesharing in USA Today op-ed

Given space for a rebuttal on the same page with today's USA Today editorial, When airlines share codes, truth-in-labeling suffers , president Roger Cohen of the Regional Airline Association (RAA) trots out the airlines' usual "big lie" on code sharing, in unusually blatant form.
By |December 18th, 2009|Today|5 Comments|

TSA discloses discriminatory and improperly withheld procedures

There are no legally binding rules (other than those provided by the federal Privacy Act, the U.S. Constitution, and international human rights treaties, all of which the TSA routinely ignores) specifying the limits of TSA authority at checkpoints, what you do and don’t have to do, and which questions you have to answer or orders you have to obey.
By |December 12th, 2009|Today|5 Comments|

Chase joins “Hall of Shame” for credit card terms and conditions

I’ve previously recommended the credit card issued by Chase in conjunction with the Amtrak Guest Rewards frequent-rider program as one of the best frequent-traveler credit cards, depending on whether you travel regularly on Amtrak, and if so on which routes. It has high fees for foreign transactions, cash advances, or interest if you don’t pay your bill each month and use it as a credit card rather than a charge card. But for domestic use as a charge card, I’ve found it the best deal available for some years.

Unlike almost all the cards affiliated with airline frequent-flyer programs, the Chase/Amtrak Guest Rewards card has no annual fee. And if you use your points for Amtrak tickets in the Northeast Corridor or the California Corridors, you can get “free” tickets equal in value to about 3% of the amount you charge on the card, which matches or exceeds the best of the cash-rebate cards.

By |November 9th, 2009|Today|9 Comments|

Travelers short-changed in currency conversion fee decision

In a ruling issued 22 October 2009, the judge hearing the Federal class-action lawsuit against credit card companies for fraudulently hidden and/or inflated fees for credit, debit, and ATM transactions in foreign currencies has overruled all of the objections to the settlement and to the plan for allocating what's left of the third of a billion dollar settlement fund after the lawyers get their fee. The only major change made by the judge was to cut the lawyers' fee down from the US$85 million they asked for to a little over US$50 million (plus expenses).
By |November 7th, 2009|Today|11 Comments|