Airport - Departure screen full of canceled flights (Photo: iStockPhoto/Simon Smith)

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

The end of December brought the first real test for the Department of Transportation's (DOT) tarmac delay rules: a massive storm that crashed into the eastern half of the country at the peak of the Christmas travel period. You remember: Airports shut down, stranding thousands of passengers for days. With an operational nightmare like this, you'd think long tarmac delays would have been rampant.

Well, there were only three in all of December, after two straight months with none....read more»

Airplane Silhouette Against Red Sunset (Photo: Thinkstock/Digital Vision)

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

Want to get where you're going on time? According to the latest Department of Transportation (DOT) data, United was your best bet in 2010. Well, technically Hawaiian was tops, followed by Alaska, but in placing third, United was the most punctual of the larger U.S. carriers. And we're not talking about a "best of the worst" situation here. With 85.2 percent of its flights arriving on time, United simply did a good job of scheduling and running its operations last year.

Notably, US Airways came in second among major carriers with an 83 percent on-time rate. AirTran, Continental, and Frontier were the other airlines to finish in the 80 percent range. For the entire industry, on-time performance was flat year-over-year: a 79.8 percent rate this year compared to 79.5 last year....read more»

US Airways aircraft front 1 (Photo: Airbus S.A.S. )

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

US Airways has announced major hikes to its overweight and oversize baggage fees. The new fees are effective for tickets purchased on or after February 1, for travel on or after March 1.

Here are the hikes:

Overweight bags

  • Formerly $50 for bags 51 to 70 lbs., hiked to $90
  • Formerly $100 for bags 71 to 100 lbs., hiked to $175

Oversize bags

  • Formerly $100 for bags 62 to 80 linear inches, hiked to $175

With these hikes, US Airways' overweight and oversize bag fees are among the most expensive in the industry....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.

Two new developments in the land of full-body scanners worth mentioning today. The first concerns radiation safety, while the second offers hope to passengers concerned about the images they leave behind at airport security checkpoints.

USAToday's Alison Young reports that the TSA is under the gun to provide radiation inspection reports to back up its claim that the radiation dose is low, "equivalent to what a person receives during two minutes inside an airplane at cruising altitude." It has been two months since lawmakers called for the reports to be made public. The TSA says the delay is to ensure the reports don't contain any "sensitive security or privacy-protected information," and that the reports should be released within the next couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, AOL News' Sharon Weinberger covers a story about new proposed legislation that would make it a crime to share images taken by the full-body scanners....read more»

Airplane Being De-Iced (Photo: iStockphoto/Richard Goerg)

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

This has been a winter of epic proportions: tens of thousands of canceled flights, hundreds of millions in lost revenue, and it's not even Valentine's Day yet. According to Bloomberg, "Airlines may be headed for more than $600 million in weather-related losses as U.S. winter storms trigger the most flight cancellations since the government began tracking the data in 1987."

Since November 1, Bloomberg reports, 89,884 flights have been canceled. Not all of those cancellations are due to weather, of course, but winter storms are responsible for an overwhelming majority. Last week's storm alone kicked in 14,000 cancellations over just two days. Cancellations for all of last week accounted for 13 percent of all flights, Bloomberg reports....read more»

Ryanair aircraft close up (Photo: Ryanair)

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

Ryanair, like its U.S. counterpart, Spirit, is synonymous with fees. After all, this is the airline that added a fee to check in online and implemented an even steeper "penalty" fee for customers who don't. So it seemed only a matter of time before customers grew weary of the airline's long list of extra charges.

This past weekend, that moment finally came. A group of 100 Belgian students angry about a particular fee refused to exit a plane and had to be removed. According to ABC News, "The passengers became disruptive and refused to comply with crew instructions after a number of their group was assessed a 'gate bag fee.'"  The fee applies to carry-on bags that exceed the allowable carry-on size, and packs a €35-per-bag punch. The students were flying from the Canary Islands back to Brussels, and the flight was delayed three hours due to the disruption....read more»

Photo: JetBlue

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

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and JetBlue are partnering up to test drive NextGen, a satellite-based navigation system the FAA hopes will soon replace the nation's outdated air traffic control. In his blog, Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood wrote, "I’m pleased to announce that the FAA and Jet Blue Airways have forged a new partnership to help advance this technology. Under this agreement, the Department of Transportation will invest $4.2 million for NextGen equipment in 35 of Jet Blue’s A320 planes."

The new technology will allow JetBlue to fly more precise routes, saving time, money, and fuel. This, of course, is one of the main benefits airlines can expect from NextGen, which uses satellites to guide planes through their routes....read more»

Photo: iStockphoto

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

With new airline legislation working its way through Congress, many are wondering if the government should collect on the billions in bag fee revenue airlines are raking in. The answer, so far, seems to be: No.

According to the Dallas Morning News, the chairman of the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee, Max Baucus, said he would not propose a bag fee tax in the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) Reauthorization Bill currently being debated in the Senate.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) says taxes collected from bag fees could add roughly $240 million each year to a fund that pays for improvements to airports and air traffic control. Airlines earned a combined $2.6 billion in bag fees through the first three quarters of 2010, including nearly $1 billion in the third quarter alone. Delta brought in the most revenue from bag fees, with a whopping $259 million in the third quarter....read more»

Airplane taking off at dusk (Photo: iStockPhoto/Stephen Strathdee)

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

New data from the Department of Transportation (DOT) shows airfares jumped a whopping 10 percent year over year. The average airfare in the third quarter of 2010 was $340, up from $307 in the third quarter of 2009.

$340 is one of the highest third-quarter averages on record since 1995, which is as far back as available DOT data goes. Fares were only higher in 2008, when the average fare paid in the third quarter was $359....read more»

Air - Plane Waiting at Terminal in Bad Weather (Photo: thinkstock/iStockphoto)

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

6,995 flights canceled Monday. 7,720 yesterday. According to FlightAware.com, this week's winter storm was responsible for over 14,000 cancellations in just two days, and FlightAware is showing another 2,300-plus cancellations today. All told, there have been 19,000 cancellations this week, most of which are attributable to one storm.

With so many people displaced, it will take days to clear the backlog. USA Today's Charisse Jones reports, "Fitting passengers onto the next available flight is not easy. Those already holding tickets retain priority, leaving stranded fliers to scramble for empty spots. At a time when the industry has pared flights, jets have few spare seats."...read more»

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