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Oil - Rising oil prices chart (Photo: iStockPhoto/Henrik Jonsson)

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The Associated Press (AP) reports that American and United/Continental have tacked fuel surcharges onto their fares. American's surcharges are as much as $5 each-way, and United/Continental's top out at $3. This comes just a week after JetBlue imposed a whopping $35 to $45 fuel surcharges on its Caribbean flights.

Airlines have been raising fares quite a bit during the past six weeks or so, but this marks the first time carriers have slapped fuel surcharges on domestic routes.

But with fuel prices rising quickly of late, airlines are scrambling to make up the difference. Prices are up 5.5 percent in the past month, and 33 percent in the past year. That's an extra $34 billion in fuel costs for the world's airlines....read more»

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

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A few weeks ago I wrote about the growing trend of airports hiring private security contractors to perform passenger screenings. Well, it's safe to say that trend has ended.

TSA chief John Pistole put out a brief statement saying he will end the private screener program. Here's his explanation:

"Shortly after beginning as TSA Administrator, I directed a full review of TSA policies with the goal of helping the agency evolve into a more agile, high-performing organization that can meet the security threats of today and the future. As part of that review, I examined the contractor screening program and decided not to expand the program beyond the current 16 airports as I do not see any clear or substantial advantage to do so at this time. The airports that currently use contractor screening will continue to be regulated by TSA and required to meet our high security standards."...read more»

Air: Security - Man Tying Shoes (Photo: Thinkstock/Creatas)

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As promised, the TSA is testing out new body scanner software that produces a generic, gender-neutral silhouette rather than a detailed X-ray image of passengers' naked bodies.

According to the Washington Post, the new software displays a red box on the silhouette to identify potential concealed items. Passengers are then screened to determine what set off the scanner. If nothing is detected, the scanner displays a green "OK." The Post says the scanners are coming to Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C., and Hartsfield Jackson Airport in Atlanta. Msnbc says the new software will also be tested in Las Vegas.

Regardless of what you think about the scanners and the TSA, you have to give the agency some credit here. TSA chief John Pistole told a Senate subcommittee in November that he was pushing for this sort of technology, and now we know he wasn't just paying lip service to those of us concerned about the body scanners' invasions of privacy.

This is all well and good, but does it actually change anything?...read more»

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

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**Update: According to FlightAware.com, over 9,000 flights have been canceled between today and tomorrow, as of 1:30 p.m. FlightAware is showing 6,417 cancellations today, and 2,994 tomorrow. Hardest hit airports are Chicago O'Hare, Dallas Ft. Worth, and the New York-area airports. American alone has canceled over 700 flights today. You can keep up with the cancellations here.

Our winter of discontent continues. USA Today's Ben Mutzabaugh reports airlines have already canceled upwards of 3,000 flights due to the latest winter storm. That includes 1,949 flights proactively canceled for Tuesday and another 1,191 for Wednesday.

Tallying up all the cancellations from this year's winter storms has become a dizzying mathematical quandary. But with 3,000 cancellations already and likely many more to come, this storm should put winter's total at around 20,000....read more»

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