Maintenance costs for airport scanners spike — Congress has ordered an investigation into what it says are “skyrocketing costs” of fixing and keeping up machines that scan luggage for bombs at the nation’s airports. (USA Today)

Philly transit workers go on strike — Commuters who rely on the city’s buses, subways and trolleys were left scrambling to find another way to get to work Monday after thousands of city transit workers went on strike. (AP)

Another 2-cent drop in gasoline — The nation’s gas stations continue to cut prices, with the average price of regular unleaded down another two cents a gallon Sunday, according to travel group AAA’s daily survey. (CNN/Money)

London landmark Big Ben falls silent for maintenance — London landmark Big Ben fell silent Saturday to undergo 32 hours of essential maintenance — its longest shutdown in 22 years. (AP)

Pandemic might end travel to Australia — Australia would consider shutting its borders if bird flu triggered a lethal human pandemic in the region, Australia’s foreign minister said Monday as disaster coordinators from Pacific rim countries gathered in Brisbane to discuss ways to head off such a crisis. (AP)

Business behind airline meals complex, pricey — These days, a hot meal on an airline is by no means a sure thing, even on domestic transcontinental flights. In the days after 9-11, many struggling airlines cut out the meal service altogether on their coach service. (San Francisco Chronicle)

At the holidays, few gifts for travelers — If you haven’t already booked your holiday travel plans, it may be too late to find any deals. Room rates are higher, booking a rental car will cost more and even air fares are on the rise, particularly on domestic flights. (The New York Times)

The group rip-off — Group discounts are pretty standard in the travel business. Give a company a lot of business and they’ll reward you with a better per-person price, right? Or so you thought. With the merger of US Airways and America West Airlines, an interesting scheme called Commission Choice has been brought to light. For a couple of years now, America West has allowed travel agents to book groups through a special website created by airline, the HPagentlink.com. (Budget Travel Online)

First black chief pilot flies Rosa Parks to D.C. — For Lou Freeman, flying the body of Rosa Parks to memorial services is an honor that has brought tears to his eyes. Freeman, the first black man to become a chief pilot for a U.S. carrier, said Saturday he was thrilled to volunteer for the job of flying the woman who sparked the modern civil rights movement. (Dallas/Ft. Worth Star Telegram)

Quantas to consider merger — Australian airline Qantas has rejected talk of a merger with arch-rival Singapore Airlines but will consider forming an alliance with another airline, the company’s chief executive said in remarks published today. (The Austrailian)

Check-in kiosks rapidly replace the human touch — When the new passenger terminal at Indianapolis airport opens in 2008, the front lobby will have more room for self-serve ticketing kiosks — and much less space for traditional ticket counters. (The Indianapolis Star)