Advertisement
Airplane Past Empty Seats (Photo: iStockphoto/Shane Kato)

Want to receive stories like this every day? Subscribe to our free Deal Alert newsletter.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) finally has the ultimate feather in its cap: a zero-tarmac-delay month. Yes, there were zero tarmac delays longer than three hours in the month of October. That's the good news. The bad news? Cancellations took a sizable leap in the wrong direction.

First, the positive. "October was the first month that there were no tarmac delays lasting longer than three hours since our rule was adopted," DOT Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement. "We appreciate the effort that the airlines are putting into making this new rule work effectively for the benefit of their passengers." The DOT's new rule has all but eliminated tarmac delays since it took effect in late April, but now the agency can say, for one month at least, that tarmac delays were completely eliminated....read more»

Wallet with cards ( iStockPhoto.com/Blade Kostas)

Want to receive stories like this every day? Subscribe to our free Deal Alert newsletter.

Been to Europe lately? Then you've probably come home saying something along these lines: "My credit card didn't work at the gas station/metro/bus depot!" That's because Europe has largely switched from magnetic strip cards used here in the U.S. to what's called a "chip-and-pin card." Bottom line for Americans: Chip-and-pin card readers—most importantly, those used in self-service kiosks at the aforementioned gas stations and metro stations—don't read our U.S. cards, rendering them useless in many situations.

It's a major problem for U.S. travelers, and since a wholesale switch here in the States would be prohibitively expensive for the banks, the only feasible solution is a stored-value card travelers can load with money before they depart. Thankfully, Travelex just announced the first such card, a stored-value dual-mode chip-and pin card for American travelers to Europe. It’s available in euros and pounds, and it also has a magnetic stripe for places that still use that system....read more»

Air: Woman With Purse by Airport Security Sign

Want to receive stories like this every day? Subscribe to our free Deal Alert newsletter!

The U.K. announced it will begin phasing out the liquid ban on carry-on items larger than 100 ml in April. According to the Guardian, transport secretary Philip Hammond "confirmed that the first phase in relaxing the ban, which applies to liquids, aerosols and gels in containers greater than 100ml, will begin in April next year."

However, a full repeal of the ban won't be complete until 2013. "The majority of passengers will have to wait until 2013 before the measures are scrapped," the Guardian reports. For now, it's not entirely clear what changes travelers will see in April.

Airports have until 2013 (April 29, to be exact) to acquire and implement scanners that can analyze liquids to identify any dangers. The rest of the European Union (E.U.) will end the ban simultaneously in 2013....read more»

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

Want to receive stories like this every day? Subscribe to our free Deal Alert newsletter!

New York Senator Chuck Schumer introduced legislation that would make it illegal to distribute images from airport body scanners. The bill would attach penalties of up to one year in prison and/or up to a $100,000 fine.

The law would cover any sort of image distribution, including images downloaded from the scanners, or photos of scanner screens.

"Anyone who would try to use these images for purposes other than security should be severely punished," Schumer told the Associated Press (AP). However, he doesn't necessarily oppose the scanners themselves, though he said we need a balance between security and privacy....read more»

Family Walking against Sunset on the Beach (Photo: iStokcphoto/ShaneKato)

Want to receive stories like this every day? Subscribe to our free Deal Alert newsletter!

'Tis the season for giving! Sunday, December 5 is International Volunteer Day. Here are some ideas of ways you can give while also traveling:

Volunteer Vacations

Instead of donating the contents of your wallet, why not donate your time! Projects Abroad provides spring breakers the opportunity to ditch the resorts for more genuine feel-good alternatives such as home building or sea turtle conservation. Week-long opportunities include trips to Costa Rica, Jamaica, Mexico, or Morocco from $1,495. This type of vacation isn't for the faint-hearted, but the heart-warming rewards and memories are priceless....read more»

Air: Baggage: Carousel (Photo: iStockphoto/Gary Martin)

Want to receive stories like this every day? Subscribe to our free Deal Alert newsletter!

Airlines have gotten better at delivering bags on time—heck, delivering them at all—ever since they started charging bag fees. Conventional wisdom is that fewer passengers are checking bags because they want to avoid the fees, thus lessening the burden on airlines' baggage services.

But in a new column, the Wall Street Journal's Scott McCartney says there's more to it than that. "Another major factor, accounting for perhaps half of the industry's improvement," McCartney writes, "is the investment airlines have made in new equipment and technology, from hand-held scanners that beep when bags are being loaded onto the wrong flight to repair stations to get baggage tugs and carts fixed quicker."...read more»

Qantas aircraft close up (Photo: Qantas)

Want to receive stories like this every day? Subscribe to our free Deal Alert newsletter!

The New York Times reports Qantas has taken the initial steps toward bringing legal action against Rolls-Royce, the engine manufacturer for the Airbus A380. Last month, an engine on one of Qantas' A380s exploded shortly after take-off. The plane made a safe and smooth landing, but Qantas grounded its six A380s immediately while it investigated the explosion. Qantas has since resumed some A380 service.

According to the Times, "The preliminary action, filed in Australian federal court, allows Qantas the option of pursuing legal action if the airline is not satisfied with a compensation offer from the European engine maker."...read more»

Airplane in pink clouds (Photo: iStockPhoto/Linda & Colin McKie)

Want to receive stories like this every day? Subscribe to our free Deal Alert newsletter!

Just over three months after the FAA downgraded Mexico's air safety rating, the agency has restored the rating to the highest level possible. The FAA says "significant progress" has been made in fixing the regulatory issues that led to the downgrade. According to the Wall Street Journal, "It is unusual for a country to regain the top U.S. safety ranking, called Category 1, so quickly after being stripped of that rating."

The FAA didn't give specifics at the time of the downgrade, but downgrades generally refer to lapses in regulatory oversight. The WSJ writes, "FAA teams have authority to call for a downgrade when they determine that a country has failed to maintain minimum international standards in areas such as the technical competence of regulators, adequate numbers of inspectors and reliable safety records."...read more»

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

Want to receive stories like this every day? Subscribe to our free Deal Alert newsletter!

Southwest has confirmed that it will add Boeing's 737-800 aircraft to its fleet, after months of speculation and union votes. Southwest flies an all-737 fleet, but the -800 version is significantly larger than the versions currently in use, with up to 175 seats instead of 137.

The airline confirmed the move after its pilots union voted to approve a contract modification that would cover the larger planes. Southwest's flight attendants already voted their approval. The new planes will require a fourth flight attendant, compared to three on the airline's current aircraft....read more»

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

Want to receive stories like this every day? Subscribe to our free Deal Alert newsletter!

Zagat is out with its annual airline rankings, and there are some familiar faces at the top.

Virgin America swept the midsize domestic carrier categories, taking top honors in both economy and premium classes for the third straight year. Virgin's score of 24 (out of 30) for its premium class was the highest for any domestic airline, while its score of 21 for economy class was higher than the large carrier winner, JetBlue....read more»

Please enable JavaScript to properly view and use this web site.