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

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

The Los Angeles Times reports that a combination of rising fuel costs and increasing demand have sent fares spiraling upward—to the tune of almost 15 percent for travel this summer.

According to the Times' Hugo Martin, "As the summer travel season approaches, airline industry experts predict that soaring fuel prices and a sharp pickup in passenger demand will push airfares up 15% over a year earlier — to levels not seen since before the economic downturn."...read more»

Airport security check sign (Photo: iStockPhoto.com/Stephen Finn)

Tired of checking your dignity at the security gate? Here are your (limited) options....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.

USA Today's Ben Mutzabaugh reports that Virgin America, which recently added Chicago and Dallas to its route map, is eyeing two other major U.S. airports: Newark, and Washington, D.C.'s Reagan National.

But in the case of Reagan, Virgin America CEO David Cush tells Mutzabaugh, there's more involved than just getting gates. Currently, Reagan operates under a perimeter restriction, meaning flights are limited to those traveling 1,250 miles or less from the airport. This point is to reduce aircraft noise over residential areas, and limiting the distances flown keeps larger (and louder) planes out of Reagan.

But Virgin's network is focused largely on the West Coast, meaning non-stop routes to places like San Francisco, the airline's home city, would be all but impossible. The government has issued 12 perimeter exemptions over the years, and there's hope that more are forthcoming. Presumably, Virgin would only launch service to Reagan if an exemption were granted....read more»

Couple eating ice cream in Spain

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

As I do every month, I'm tracking several dozen peak-season routes from the U.S. to major European cities, including Paris, London, Madrid, Rome, and Dublin. If you're still shopping around for summer Europe travel, this month's report doesn't bode well. Here are my findings:...read more»

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

After hinting at it for months, the Department of Transportation (DOT) may finally be ready to issue a policy requiring airlines refund bag fees for late or lost bags.

According to the Associated Press, "The government will release details of the [bag fee] rule later this month but has yet to say when it would go into effect.

"The rule will address baggage as well as other proposed changes, including payments to bumped passengers, no-penalty cancellations and improved fee disclosure."...read more»

Frontier planes at the airport (Photo: Airbus S.A.S. )

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

Frontier announced it is lowering—yes, lowering—its change fees, effective today. It will also implement several other customer-friendly policy changes.

In a release, the airline said, "For tickets purchased on or after April 13, 2011, Frontier will reduce the change fee from $100 to $50 on Economy fares." The airline will eliminate fees for changes made prior to the day of travel on its Classic fares, which are in the middle of its three-tier fare structure....read more»

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

If you're a TSA-watcher, then the agency's problems at Newark Liberty International Airport need no introduction.

But just in case, recall the security breach days after the underwear bombing attempt, the security checkpoint robbery scheme operated by a TSA supervisor, the knife in the carry-on bag ... you get the idea.

Well, enough is apparently enough.

According to the Star-Ledger, Newark's TSA managers acknowledged that this series of gaffes have "produced a lack of faith in our ability to provide world class security." The TSA recently held two meetings on the topic of Newark's poor record of late, and produced a document containing a long list of recommendations for improving performance....read more»

Woman shopping online (Photo: Image DJ/Index Open)

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

After nine months of waiting, the Department of Justice (DOJ) finally approved Google's $700 million acquisition of Cambridge, Massachusetts-based ITA Software. ITA provides fare search technology for numerous major metasearch airline websites. Google will presumably use ITA technology to integrate airfares into its search results,

In the intervening nine months, however, opponents of the deal campaigned heavily against it, notably through the group FairSearch.org, which counts among its members TripAdvisor and Expedia (both of which are sister sites to SmarterTravel). FairSearch argued that Google would gain access to its ITA customers' proprietary data, and could withhold ITA innovations from those companies, thus giving it an unfair advantage over its competitors once it launched a fare search tool of its own....read more»

Plane Flying Under Rainbow (Photo: Thinkstock/Hemera)

We often get queries from readers who just want to get away, but are looking for inspiration beyond cookie-cutter options. That's where we'd like to better serve you, the undecided traveler....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 will return its repaired planes to the skies this weekend, ending what has been a long, long ordeal for the carrier. According to BusinessWeek, four of the planes removed from operations will be reinstated Saturday. A fifth plane will be held back for additional, previously scheduled maintenance.

The planes were part of a group of some 70-plus older Boeing 737s flagged for inspection after a hole opened up in the top of an aircraft last week. The five planes held out for repairs were found to have subsurface cracks in the fuselage. These cracks are believed to be the primary factor that led to the hole in the plane....read more»

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