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Woman using a PDA (Photo: Index Open)

Update your status, check out your friends' photos, and book your next trip? Yes! With its new Ticket Window, Delta is now allowing customers to book flights through Facebook.

I just gave it a try and it's a fairly easy and straightforward experience, and you can easily share various fares you find mid-search for your flights....read more»

Baby at the airport (Photo: Duncan Babbage/iStockphoto)

Is air travel for young families about to get more expensive? In a press release, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has recommended an end to the practice of allowing children under two years old to fly for free on the lap of a parent or guardian.

The argument is twofold. According to the NTSB, there's an increased "likelihood that parents and caregivers may not be able to maintain a secure hold on a lap-held child during turbulence and survivable accidents. Additionally, unrestrained children have become separated from their parents during survivable crashes and parents were unable to locate them during the evacuation."

If the case for safety is that simple and compelling, why isn't it already law?...read more»

Airplane Food - Happy People (Photo: iStockphoto/Sean Locke)

The dramatic outburst and departure of JetBlue flight attendant Steve Slater has certainly "resonated," as Slater himself put it. From disgruntled workers who have long fantasized about quitting with a flourish, to airline customers who've noted a rise in tension between passengers, airlines, and flight attendants, Slater's slide down the emergency chute has caught the nation's eye.

Being a travel blog, I'm interested in what this incident says about the airline business these days, and I think the entire situation can be summed up succinctly: It's gotten ugly. Passengers are packed into tight economy cabins, overhead bins seem to fill up immediately, fares are going up, fees are spreading like a virus, flight attendants are overworked and underpaid, and airlines are desperate for profits and long-term stability. No one's happy, no one's comfortable, and everyone has a bone to pick with someone else....read more»

Photo: iStockphoto

Opponents of the Department of Transportation's (DOT) tarmac delay rules have long predicted a sort of aviation-industry doomsday as the result of the policy. It's too soon to tell whether they're right or wrong, but the latest DOT numbers (for June) suggest the apocalypse is holding off, at least for now.

Year over year, the DOT says three-hour tarmac delays all but vanished, while cancellations held steady. Tarmac delays dropped from 278 in June 2009 to just three in June 2010, and 1.5 percent of all flights were cancelled in June 2010, the same percentage as in June 2009....read more»

Virgin America plane parked at the gate (Photo: Clark County Department of Aviation)

Virgin America has a new city on its route map, and to the surprise of some, it's not Chicago: It's Dallas.

The low-cost carrier will launch service to Dallas-Ft. Worth in early December, with routes from Los Angeles and San Francisco and connecting service from Dallas through LAX and SFO to Las Vegas, San Diego, and Seattle. Service from Los Angeles starts December 1; San Francisco service begins December 6.

As for fares, introductory prices start at $44 one-way from Los Angeles and San Francisco. There will be two daily nonstops each....read more»

Photo: JetBlue

Bet you never thought you'd see this: A JetBlue flight attendant abruptly departed his aircraft via the emergency chute after it landed at New York's JFK airport. Apparently a passenger stood up to retreive his belongings from the overhead while the plane was moving. The flight attendant, Steve Slater, asked the passenger to wait. It didn't end well. From the New York Times:

Mr. Slater instructed the man to remain seated. The passenger defied him. Mr. Slater approached and reached the passenger just as he pulled down his luggage, which struck Mr. Slater in the head.

Mr. Slater asked for an apology. The passenger instead cursed at him. Mr. Slater got on the plane’s public address system and cursed out all aboard. Then he activated the inflatable evacuation slide at service exit R1, launched himself off the plane, an Embraer 190, ran to the employee parking lot and left the airport in a car he had parked there.

The Times adds that Mr. Slater grabbed a beer before sliding down the chute.

JetBlue says the safety of its passengers was never at risk, though the sudden, unexpected deployment of the emergency chute can cause serious injury to bystanders on the ground. The flight attendant was arrested at his home and charged with reckless endangerment and criminal mischief. No word yet of any additional incidents or altercations preceding the blowup. ...read more»

Airport Departure Gate Sign (Photo: iStockphoto/Halbergman)

Our recent report on the world's scariest airports sure got you talking! While many of you agreed with our top 10 choices, there were lots of frightening airports you thought should have been included on the list. Check out these hair-raising reader alternatives that will have you clutching the armrest!

St. Maarten

Princess Juliana International Airport is at the top of helenor's list, who writes, "One comes in just over a beach and heads toward a water landing at the end of the runway. 'Interesting' is a good way to describe it." Upon approach, planes pass over a public beach, and it's hard to say who should be more afraid--airplane passengers, or innocent beachgoers.

St. Barts

The Gustaf III airport in St. Barthelemy ranks high on a number of readers' lists. "The plane has to drop immediately after flying a few feet above a mountain and road," says jaylkay, and "the pilot must make an immediate drop to hit the runway, which is short and ends in the ocean." The aptly-named whitekunckle agrees, saying, "It is like coming off a ski jump." If you're a true adventure-seeker, you may want to book your next flight here since, as Cotatikid says, "Most St. Barts flights connect with St. Marten/Maarten for a real thrill ride at both ends."...read more»

Delta aircraft tail (Photo: Delta)

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that a judge is looking into allegations of collusion between Delta and AirTran, specifically that the two rival airlines conspired to add first-checked-bag fees simultaneously in late 2008. The suit is part of a larger class-action case filed in 2009.

According to the AJC, "The suit claims AirTran invited Delta to impose a first bag fee by signaling, through an executive's comments to financial analysts, that it wanted to charge the fee if Delta acted first." That alleged signal came in April 2008, and Delta added a first bag fee the following November. AirTran added its own fee about a week later....read more»

Photo: PhotoDisc

In many countries across the world, abundant vacation time is a point of pride. Workers in Europe, for example, revel in their five weeks (or more), and many couldn't imagine living with anything less.

Here in the U.S., well, things are a bit different. It's no secret that we lag far behind most countries when it comes to paid time off. Heck, we don't even have a mandatory minimum number of vacation days. Even in Japan, which is often stereotyped as a nation of workaholics, workers are guaranteed a certain amount of time off. The U.S. has no such government-mandated policy.

Even worse, a new study shows that many Americans aren't taking what meager vacation time they have....read more»

Millimeter Wave Passenger Imaging Machine Used by TSA (Photo: Transportation Security Administration)

CNET reports that U.S. Marshals Service has admitted to storing some 30,000 images from a full-body scanner in use at a Florida courthouse. The revelation flies in the face of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) claims that full-body scanners can't store images, and adds fuel to fears that increasingly widespread use of these machines at airports represents a major breach of an individual's right to privacy.

According to CNET, "The U.S. Marshals Service admitted this week that it had surreptitiously saved tens of thousands of images recorded with a millimeter wave system at the security checkpoint of a single Florida courthouse.

"This follows an earlier disclosure by the TSA that it requires all airport body scanners it purchases to be able to store and transmit images for 'testing, training, and evaluation purposes.' The agency says, however, that those capabilities are not normally activated when the devices are installed at airports."

The Obama administration's 2011 budget calls for 1,000 new body scanners to be installed at airports across the nation....read more»

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