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Update: Pilots Who Overshot Landing Can Reapply for Licenses

March 15, 2010 | Posted in: DOT,Northwest,Pilots | 0 comments

pilots overshot landing

Surely you remember those Northwest pilots who overshot their landing in Minneapolis last October by about 150 miles – and were out of radio contact?

They said they were distracted because they were working on their personal laptops.

You probably also heard the FAA revoked their licenses and the pilots were fighting that – but now (according to CNN), they’ve settled the case, without getting those licenses back. However, the FAA has agreed to let them reapply in ten months time.

My question: would any airline hire them? I’ve read these pilots had good records, but in this era of cutbacks, do they really have a chance of flying with the big carriers again?

Delta Adds Peak Travel Surcharges for Nov/Dec Holiday Travel

delta peak travel surcharge holiday

Jumping the gun a bit, are we?

We haven’t even celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, but Delta Air Lines is already adding new surcharges to at least some of its routes during peak travel times around the upcoming Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year holiday travel periods.

These surcharges range from $10 to $30 each-way.

By the way, I always tell people that the cheapest flights during holidays are on the holiday itself, and you’ll notice Delta did not put a surcharge on November 25 (Thanksgiving Day) or December 25 (although there is a surcharge for travel on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day).

See more dates-with-surcharges on FareCompare’s “Peak Travel Day Surcharge Chart”.

Micro Airport Hotel Room of the Future?

March 15, 2010 | Posted in: Travel Tips | 2 comments

Thought you might enjoy seeing this teeny-tiny hotel room from the designers at Dream and Fly (based in Barcelona and Lisbon). The room comes with a small bathroom, and it does look comfortable.

Here’s their description: 

“Dream and Fly is a micro-hotel concept by hours. It is made up of small independent bubbles that allow for great versatility in the areas in which they are installed. Ideal for areas with large concentrations of people like airports, sea ports, events, vacation and holiday resorts where mobility is necessary.”

I saw this first on Yanko Design, where one of the commenters said, “I would pay for a nap and some silence in an airport.” Hear, hear.

No More Free Lunch on Continental: Pay-for-Food Starts in Fall

March 15, 2010 | Posted in: Airline News,Ask Rick | 20 comments

food continental

Well, it was fun while it lasted.

Starting sometime in the fall, Continental will start charging economy passengers for in-flight meals, and they were pretty much the only airline still offering this perk.

The spin is that they are improving meal service with “high quality, healthy food choices for purchase”. They will still offer free food in economy “all intercontinental and certain other international routes, and on long-haul domestic routes over six hours” but for most passengers in the cheap seats, you’ll have to pay.

Continental figures this can net the carrier an extra $35 million a year on cost savings and revenue.

Remember how we used to make jokes about how awful airplane food was? I guess we could laugh, when it was free.

Anyway, you might want pack a lunch. Some suggestions: 

  • Cold sandwiches (store bought or home-made – remember, kids love PB&J)
  • Salads (don’t forget a fork)
  • Fruit (sliced apples, raisins, and orange segment are less messy)
  •  Crackers and cheddar
  • A bag of nuts
  • Cookies

Avoid:

  • Onions and garlic
  • Aromatic cheeses
  • Tuna fish or egg salad
  • Hard-boiled eggs (some people swear by them, but your seatmates may not)

U.S. State Dept. Issues “Travel Warning” for Mexico

March 15, 2010 | Posted in: News,Travel Safety,Travel Tips | 21 comments

u.s. state dept travel warning mexico

The U.S. government rightly points out that millions of U.S. citizens visit Mexico every year with absolutely no problems.

However – violence in the country has increased.

Over the weekend, 13 people were killed in and around the resort area of Acapulco – including five police officers – and as the Los Angeles Times reports, three people connected with the U.S. embassy in Ciudad Juarez were “killed in broad daylight near the city’s border with El Paso.”

The State Department has now issued a travel warning due to “security concerns” in Mexico:

“Some recent confrontations between Mexican authorities and drug cartel members have resembled small-unit combat, with cartels employing automatic weapons and grenades.  Large firefights have taken place in towns and cities across Mexico, but occur mostly in northern Mexico, including Ciudad Juarez, Tijuana, Chihuahua City, Nogales, Matamoros, Reynosa and Monterrey.” - U.S. State Dept. website, 3-14-10

Read more about this here – and for the kids I suggest the State’s Dept.’s publication, “Spring Break in Mexico – Know Before You Go”. For travel alerts on other countries and more, go to travel.state.gov.

Airport Delays in Northeast – Patience, Please

March 15, 2010 | Posted in: Delays,Storms,Weather | 0 comments

airport delays

If you’re flying in or out of the Northeast today, check out FlightStats or your airline before heading out.

We are seeing “excessive” delays in Boston (excessive = worst), but there are also significant delays at JFK, Newark, Philadelphia, Manchester, New Hampshire and to a lesser extent in Cleveland.

That area of the country got hit hard over the weekend with lashing rainstorms (some with hurricane-strength winds) and there were a lot of power outages – so – just be careful, okay?

Two Words: Why TSA Security Doesn’t Focus on “Profiling”

March 12, 2010 | Posted in: DOT,News,Security,Travel Safety | 10 comments

security profiling jihad jane

I know that the Transportation Security Administration – especially the TSA’s blog – gets plenty of comments from people who are outraged that airport security doesn’t do more “profiling”. Here is one of those comments:

“The reason why the blue-eyed great-grandmother from Minneapolis is given a hard time while four young Middle-Eastern men sail through, is not because of her knitting needles (“She might knift an Afghan!” *rimshot*). It’s because the government is terrified of ‘racial profiling’.”comment left on TSA Blog, 5-2-09

So what are the two words referred to in the title of this post? Jihad Jane.

As numerous news organizations pointed out this week, the woman who allegedly called herself “Jihad Jane” – and who is due in federal court next week to be arraigned on terrorism-related charges – is a middle-aged, blue-eyed blond from the suburbs.

FAA Proposes Big Fine on American Airlines (and AA Responds)

March 12, 2010 | Posted in: Airline News,DOT,News,Travel Safety | 0 comments

FAA fine american airlines

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is seeking to collect $787,500 in civil penalties against American Airlines for three separate “maintenance violations”.

In the biggest case against the airline – which carries a proposed fine of $625,000 – the government alleges that American mechanics failed to replace a problematic computer onboard a MD-82 jetliner and instead “deferred maintenance” which is not allowed. The FAA says the plane flew 10 passenger flights until the computer was in fact replaced.

The airline has 30 days to respond.

A spokesman for American said they are reviewing the FAA’s proposal and will meet with them to discuss it. He added:

“Safety is fundamental to the American Airlines culture and to our success. AA is the only U.S. airline that continues to handle the majority of its heavy maintenance with in-house, FAA Certificated Mechanics that have met and passed all FAA experience requirements, written tests, and practical examinations.” – American Airlines spokesman, 3-12-10

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