Weekend what we’re reading: NYC airspace is home of most delays, fees and more fees, 6 reasons for rental car insurance


This weekend we look at what region causes more flight delays across the nation and the blossoming of fees for hotels, rental cars and airlines. Plus, we examine some cases where rental car insurance might make sense for some travelers.

Half of nation’s airport delays traced to problems NYC region

If your flight in St. Louis or Chicago or Dallas is delayed, it is probably related to an earlier delayed flight coming from the New York City airspace.

“One in three U.S. flights are affected by delays in the New York/New Jersey/Philadelphia airspace, and 40 to 50 percent of national airspace ground stops and ground delays occur in New York,” Baer told the panel. “That means about half of all flights in the country held at the gate or delayed on the tarmac can trace their delays to one of our region’s airports.”

The hearing in Washington, chaired by Rep. Thomas Petri (R-Wis.), focused on the status of the Federal Aviation Administration’s multi-billion-dollar Next Generation Air Transportation System, or NextGen, a satellite-based air traffic control system designed to reduce delays, increase airport capacity, cut airlines’ fuel and other costs, and improve safety.

Fleeced by fees when you travel?

Travelers these days are finding themselves assaulted with fees and more fees whether flying, renting cars or staying in hotels. Enough is enough with these fees, in many cases, for nothing that the travelers wants, needs or would pay for otherwise.

In the last few months I’ve unwittingly paid for newspapers plopped outside my Starwood hotel room door (review your bill before you check out) and rental-car fees with vague, perplexing names like “airport concession recovery” and “facility charge.” And I have been taken aback by fees for hotel beach chairs, umbrellas and parking. These were on top of fees I knowingly paid for preferred seating on planes, in-flight Internet, changing tickets and simply printing boarding passes.

The growing list of add-on fees would be comical were they not at our expense. There are now charges for reservations, cancellations, boarding early, departing early, holding bags, checking bags and using the gym, the business center and the safe in your room. And thanks to the latest high-tech minibars, you cannot even touch an Almond Joy to read the calorie count without a charge on your bill (along with a “restocking” fee).

6 surprising reasons why rental car insurance is actually worth buying

Most of us, including me, never purchase rental car insurance. We figure we have coverage from our own automobile insurance and from many credit cards. Normally, we are correct, but there are six situations where rental car insurance may come in handy.

The small-print risks that aren’t always clearly defined can make you liable for things you never considered.

“More and more these days, consumers need to check out the fine print of their insurance policies and make sure they’re getting what they think they’re getting,” said Carmen Balber, Washington D.C. director of Consumer Watchdogs, a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization.

Granted, most of the time when you’re deciding these things, you’re at the car rental counter and you just want to sign on the dotted line and drive to your destination. But while planning your trip, it may be worth a few extra phone calls to your regular car insurance provider and your credit card to make sure you’re covered.