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Fee Alert: Agriculture Dept. DELAYS Travelers Fee Hike

September 30, 2009 | Posted in: Airline News,Travel Safety | 0 comments

So, we’ve got a grace period – a month – before a new fee hike is imposed.

It was to begin tomorrow (Oct. 1) – and what it is, is a bump in the agriculture fee that all air travelers arriving in the U. S. pay.

The 10% hike — from $5.00 to $5.50 – may not sound like much, but it adds up to millions, which the Ag Dept. uses to reduce the risk of pests or disease entering the country. They’ve been a little short lately, because international travel to the U.S. is down 15%.

Anyway, look for that extra 50 cents on your international tickets, starting Nov. 1.

Deicing Fluid May Hold Dangers for Nearby Ponds, Streams

September 30, 2009 | Posted in: Airline News,Weather | 0 comments

Did this ever occur to you?

The deicing chemicals that are sprayed onto jets at airports across the country every winter – to get rid of ice and snow — can be a big source of pollution. A sometimes dangerous source.

What happens is, when the runoff from the two major kinds of deicing fluid — propylene glycol and ethylene glycol — gets into nearby ponds or streams, it can (and sometimes does) kill the aquatic life there – both fish and plants.

Keep reading, “orange water” ahead…
Deicing Fluid May Hold Dangers for Nearby Ponds, Streams

“Miracle” Capt. Sully to Fly Thurs. – Same Route as Last Time

September 30, 2009 | Posted in: Pilots,US Airways | 0 comments

Okay, now we have the details:

Capt. Chesley Sullenberger returns to the air tomorrow for the first time since safely crash-landing his US Airways jet early this year.

In case you somehow missed it, the “miracle” was getting everyone onboard out alive.

Capt. Sully will fly the exact same route he was supposed to take back in January – until a couple of geese managed to kill two engines – plus, he’ll be working alongside the exact same First Officer, Jeff Skiles.

There will be a couple of press conferences on either end of the flights — and then Sullenberger will get back to work for good.

Unless of course he’s needed to flog his new memoir (see the photo, above left) – which I for one am looking forward to reading.

British Airways “Business Class Only” Flights Begin

September 30, 2009 | Posted in: Europe | 1 comment

It might not seem logical, given the economic slump we’re in, but British Airways is optimistic that its new, twice -daily service from London to New York – business class only – will make money by the first of the year.

And just to be clear, that’s London City Airport – which may be a plus for some passengers who want to avoid the busy behemoth that is Heathrow. However, this means a refueling stop is required in Ireland, but one can now clear customs for the U.S. in Ireland – and it could actually make for a shorter overall trip (the flight back to London is non-stop).

Cost of a roundtrip ticket on the all business class service is about $3,000. I will say, business class travel on British Airways is something special.

Passenger Rights Bill Set to Pass – Saner System Ahead?

September 30, 2009 | Posted in: ABC Column,News,Passengers | 0 comments

How long is too long to wait on a packed plane that isn’t going anywhere? One hour? Ten hours?

I guess one of the considerations has to be – is the toilet working?

I discuss all this and more, in my latest column for ABCNews.com. It’s about the so-called Passenger Rights Bill, which may be approved by the end of the year.

It will likely require a cap of three hours – meaning, you can sit on a plane, going nowhere, for up to three hours – before they let you off.

I don’t think most people are crazy about that, but, you have to admit, it’s a whole lot better than sitting on a plane for nine hours.

How long is too long for you? What’s your breaking point when it comes to sitting on a plane? I’d like to know…

8.0* Earthquake in Samoan Islands, Tsumai Warning in Region

September 29, 2009 | Posted in: Airline News,News | 0 comments

According to the latest information from the U.S. Geological Survey, an earthquake with a magnitude of 8.0* hit in the vicinity of the Samoan Islands today, generating a near 10-foot high tsunami.

CNN is reporting that a tsunami warning was in effect for American Samoa, Samoa, Cook Islands, Tonga and Fiji.

Officials are trying to determine if it could reach Hawaii; they do NOT expect it to effect the west coast of the U.S. or Canada.

*Magnitudes are sometimes changed/updated as new information comes in.

Cheap Flights and Hotel Deals to National Parks

September 29, 2009 | Posted in: Deals,Destinations,Travel Tips | 0 comments

Have you seen any of Ken Burns’ incredible new documentary series, “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea”? I plan to — I hear it’s superb.

Well, here’s another “best idea” (thanks, New York Times): a list of accommodation deals for several national parks from Aramark Parks and Destinations, “a leading concessioner for the National Park Service”.

Some of the deals give you reduced rates or a free extra night – and some even give you a boxed DVD set of Burns’ documentary.

And these deals cover parks as diverse as Shenandoah (in Virginia, fly into Richmond, VA or Washington D.C.); Yellowstone (in Wyoming and Montana, fly into Idaho Falls, Idaho and elsewhere); Mesa Verde National Park (in Colorado, fly into Durango) – and many, many more.

To find the best available deals, use FareCompare’s deal finder and click “North America” to find the destinations to your favorite park.

Don’t Drink and Fly – A Cautionary Tale

September 29, 2009 | Posted in: Flight Attendants,Passengers,Southwest,Travel Safety | 0 comments

We’ve talked about bad behavior on airlines before – if you want a refresher, read my “Nine No-No’s of Flying” – but sometimes it’s worth noting that there can be serious consequences.

Take the 45 year old lawyer, who indulged in “rowdy behavior” aboard a Southwest flight from Indianapolis to Ft. Lauderdale a couple of years ago.

Justice may not have been overly swift, but it was harsh, some would say: for using profane language, groping a flight attendant and more, the man was sentenced to four months in prison. He has already served his time, and now, according to the Sun Sentinel, he has been disbarred for five years.

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