American jet parked at the gate (Photo: iStockPhoto/Hal Bergman)

A judge in Chicago has granted a restraining order that will prevent American from terminating its contracts with Orbitz on December 1, which the airline threatened to do earlier this month.

Over at Tnooz, Dennis Schall writes, "If American had gone ahead and terminated its contacts with Orbitz, as it had notified the online travel agency it would do Dec. 1, then American Airlines’ flights would have disappeared from Orbitz.com."...read more»

Thanksgiving dinner 2 (Photo: Index Open)

AAA is predicting an overall 11 percent increase in travelers this Thanksgiving holiday. The agency says the jump "would signify an important upturn in travel volume for the holiday after a year of negligible growth in 2009, and two years after a historic 25.2 percent decline in travel in 2008 ... This year's projected increase in holiday travel appears to be the result of modestly improved economic conditions since last year." Even after the 11 percent increase, however, Thanksgiving travel will remain below peak pre-recession levels.

Within that general 11 percent, air travel is supposed to see a 3.5 percent rise. 1.62 million people are expected to take to the skies this holiday....read more»

Air: Security - Hand Putting Keys in Bin (Photo: Thinkstock/© Getty Images)

The Associated Press (AP) reports pilots will soon be able to skip airport body scanners and pat downs while on duty. According to the AP, "TSA now says that pilots traveling in uniform or on airline business will see immediate changes in their screening at airport checkpoints."

On-duty pilots will have to pass through the metal detector and present two pieces of photo I.D. to be checked against a flight crew database. Off-duty pilots will be treated like normal passengers.

According to Reuters, TSA chief John Pistole "acknowledged ... that scans and pat downs intended to find explosives and other weapons would offer little protection against any pilot determined to bring down an aircraft." He told George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America (video below), "We've had a number of very good discussions with pilots and hope to be announcing something very soon in terms of a good way forward for the pilots for that very reason, using a risk-based intelligence driven process."...read more»

American Airlines planes wait at their gates (Photo: Index Open)

JetBlue and American announced they will add new destinations to their interline agreement, and link up their respective mileage programs. The agreement, initially unveiled in March, allows customers to connect domestic JetBlue flights and international American flights via Boston and New York City. The new destinations include one international city, Budapest, and nine domestic cities....read more»

United New Plane (Photo: United Airlines)

Continental announced it will add three daily nonstops to Florida from current United hubs in Chicago and Denver. The new routes are:

  • Two daily nonstops between Chicago and West Palm Beach
  • One daily nonstop between Chicago and Ft. Lauderdale
  • One daily nonstop between Denver and Ft. Lauderdale

The new service begins February 17....read more»

Photo: JetBlue

JetBlue has launched new service from Hartford's Bradley International Airport to Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale. Customers will also be able to connect to destinations in the Caribbean and Latin America. The airline will fly two daily nonstops each to Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale.

Bradley is a compelling alternative for Connecticut residents who might otherwise drive to New York City to catch a flight. It's also convenient for people in western Massachusetts—the airport is often referred to as Hartford-Springfield, with the Springfield being Springfield, Massachusetts....read more»

Airport departure screen (Photo: Index Open)

Flight delays are bad anytime of year, but most people can agree they're worse during the holidays. With wintry weather always lurking and airports jammed with travelers, the holidays are peak season for delay-induced chaos and frustration. That's why it's more important than ever for travelers to review their rights when it comes to flight delays....read more»

Air: Security - Man Being Patted Down (Photo: Thinkstock/Hemera)

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A lot has been said about the TSA's new body scanner/pat down policy, and most of it has been negative. Lots of people, myself included, have written or spoken at length about why the policies are bad, and many have called on the TSA to ditch the scanners and pat downs entirely.

OK, but what should the TSA do instead? It's a difficult question to answer, but a crucial part of the conversation. After all, if we're going to criticize, we should be able to offer solutions or alternatives, right?

To that end, I reached out to several airline security experts and critics, and asked them what the TSA should do instead of scanning and patting down travelers. Here are five ideas of where to start:...read more»

Southwest 737 jet approaching runway (Photo: iStockPhoto/Lowell Sannes)

Southwest is adding three new destinations from Denver, starting in June. The low-cost airline will add one daily nonstop each to Columbus, Jacksonville, and Pittsburgh.

By June, Southwest says it will operate 150 daily nonstops from Denver to 45 destinations. When the airline launched Denver service in 2006, it had 13 nonstops to three cities....read more»

Airplane Silhouette Colorful Sky (Photo: iStockphoto/Dan Barnes)

There's a lot to like in the FAA's proposed pilot fatigue regulations, namely an extension of pilot rest time and the inclusion of travel time—between the airport and hotel, for example—as part of a pilot's rest period.

Still, both airlines and airline pilots have raised issues about the proposed rules. In a statement, the Air Transport Association (ATA), the industry trade association for many U.S. airlines, said it is calling for significant revisions. President James C. May said, "We are very concerned that significant aspects of the proposed rule are not science-based." According to May, the rule, as written, "would create onerous and duplicative regulations, which in major respects do not mitigate fatigue or increase safety."

But while the ATA says it is concerned about the effectiveness of the proposed rules, ultimately, it's about money. "These regulations would, however, add significant operational and scheduling complexity that will adversely affect our crews and customer," May said....read more»

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