Airport Security: The TSA has opened up enrollment in its PreCheck DHS Trusted Traveler program to anyone who wants to join—and pay the $85 fee for five years participation. As a Trusted Traveler, you are eligible to use the presumably-shorter airport security lines and you are exempt from removing your shoes, belt, and light jacket and from taking your 3-1-1 bag for fluid containers and your laptop out of your carry-on baggage. ... read more»
Looking back, I'd conclude that 2013 wasn't a great year for travel, but it wasn't a bad one, either. Here are some of the highlights.
Senior Deals Remained Marginal: Travelers ages 60 or over didn't find much in the way of deals this year. Yes, you could still find discounts—typically in the 10 percent range—at mid-priced and budget hotels, but members of AAA and other mass associations got the same deals. I saw two remaining deals good for seniors: ... read more»
This morning's biggest airline-industry story was the close, finally, of the American-US Airways merger. But for customers of the two airlines, nothing changes today. And very little changes in the next month.
Fully integrating the merger partners could take as long as two years. And the two airlines so far have committed to very little in the way of a definitive timeline. ... read more»
The best way to carry all your ski gear. ... read more»
In approving the merger between American and US Airways, the Justice Department insisted that the combined line sell 34 coveted "slots" at New York's LaGuardia Airport. The Department essentially blocked Delta and United out of the bidding, instead favoring new low-fare competition. Southwest already bought 22 of them, and Virgin America is the presumptive buyer for the remaining 12.
Southwest's interest is obvious. LaGuardia is by far the preferred New York airport for business travelers, and Southwest has mounted an intensive effort to attract more business travelers onto its flights. Moreover, although LaGuardia has a "perimeter rule" that limits nonstop flights to destinations within 1500 miles, with extensions for Denver and Saturday flying, Southwest already flies to most of the important business centers within that 1500-mile radius. ... read more»
A passenger fell asleep on a plane, missed disembarkation, and woke up alone on a dark and empty aircraft. If only the rest of us could sleep so soundly while flying!
United Express passenger Tom Wagner, like many tired travelers, fell asleep on his flight from Louisiana to Houston's Bush Intercontinental. The plane landed in Houston, and Wagner continued sleeping. Wagner didn't wake up when everyone else deplaned, and airline personnel apparently didn't spot him when they did their final sweep of the aircraft. So he stayed onboard, snoozing. ... read more»
Following is our regular summary of the latest travel news and best frequent traveler promotions reviewed during the past week.
If it was a good deal—or a notably bad deal—from an airline, hotel, or car rental loyalty program, you can read all about it here, and plan your travel accordingly.
Very rarely do you hear about an airline expelling a member from its loyalty program. But just such a case came to light in arguments before the Supreme Court.
In coordinated announcements, American and American Express disclosed upcoming changes to their credit-card relationship, and to the relationship between American Express and US Airways.
American announced that, beginning on March 22, 2014, complimentary access to its Admirals Club airport lounges will be a perk bundled with just a single credit card, the pricey Citi Executive/AAdvantage World Elite MasterCard. Annual fee: $450.
And American Express confirmed that access to American's lounges will no longer be among the perks offered with its Platinum and Centurion cards. Also being discontinued: access to US Airways' lounges. ... read more»
Very rarely do you hear about an airline expelling a member from its loyalty program. But this week, just such a case came to light in the most public of arenas: in arguments before the Supreme Court.
Rabbi Binyomin Ginsberg qualified for top-tier elite status in Northwest's WorldPerks program in 2005. But in 2008, Northwest cancelled his WorldPerks membership and withdrew the miles in his account. As justification for the action, Northwest claimed that Ginsberg had abused the airline's compensation system, logging 24 complaints regarding late baggage arrivals and the like in just eight months. ... read more»