If you were worried about the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) proposal to allow small knives on planes, you can relax—for now. The agency is postponing a policy change that would permit passenger to carry knives of a certain size, baseball bats, and golf clubs onboard planes.
According to a report from the AP, federal officials announced on Monday that the relaxed carry-on rules, which were set to take effect Thursday, will have to wait. The delay will allow the TSA to consider feedback from law enforcement and industry experts.
In a statement, the TSA said, "This timing will enable TSA to incorporate the feedback about the changes to the Prohibited Items List and continue workforce training." Originally, the agency had proposed the new rules in order to focus on more pressing security concerns....read more»
Ever wanted to tell the TSA exactly how you feel about the full-body scanners? (And no, complaining to the powerless TSA agents who screen you before every flight doesn't count.) Well, a U.S. Court is now forcing the TSA to listen to the public—so here's your chance to make your voice heard....read more»
Great European train stations stir my wanderlust. In Munich, about to catch a train, I stand under the station's towering steel and glass rooftop and study the big schedule board. It lists a dozen departures. Every few minutes, the letters and numbers on each line change as, one by one, cities and departure times work their way to the top and then disappear. I'm surrounded by Europeans on the move—businessmen in tight neckties, giddy teenagers, families, porters pushing handcarts.
For many tourists, the pleasure of journeying along Europe's well-organized rail system really is as good as the destination. Train travel isn't as flexible as driving, but it's less stressful. I'd rather watch the landscape instead of fixing my eyes on the road. On a train, I can forget about parking hassles, confusing road signs, bathroom stops, or Italian drivers. ...read more»
Find out which shoes adorn the feet of travel-industry professionals in our weekly roundup of travel news and stories.
Death to the Mini Bar
I will be so happy if the hotel mini bar goes away forever. According to the Economist, it might do just that! Marriott and Hilton are getting rid of their mini bars, as are many other hotel brands. David Samuels of The Atlantic, however, does not share my disdain for the sly little automated temptress. In Elegy for the Minibar, Samuels writes, "Despite its shortcomings, the minibar was a faithful sentry that had stayed up late and kept me company in times of danger and personal sorrow. It had never failed to deliver something—liquor, candy, clean T-shirts, fresh socks—that made me feel less alone."...read more»
If you're flying today or anytime soon, be wary: Get to the airport early. And keep close tabs on the status of your flight.
The first round of FAA-administered furloughs of air traffic control workers kicked in over the weekend, causing delays at airports across the States. The furloughs, which began on Sunday, cut staff at control towers by 10 percent.
While we can't predict exactly how the furloughs will affect travel throughout the week, flyers should be prepared for the worst: extensive flight delays, more flight cancellations, and longer lines at U.S. airports. The FAA estimates that the number of late flights could increase by 30 to 40 percent at some airports, with delays ranging from 50 minutes to two hours....read more»
I've always been pleased when I've used Hotwire to arrange hotel accommodations. Recently, I booked my London hotel through Hotwire, and again the site worked well. But when you use Hotwire or any other opaque agency, you have to embrace one basic reality: You may have to accept some compromise with your ideal. Even when you can specify the general neighborhood within a big metro area, hotel location often emerges as the key problem.
For this trip, I accepted a price of $80 a night for a "four-star" hotel in London. As with any opaque booking, Hotwire added fees and charges that brought the real price to $100 a night—still a terrific rate for a four-star London hotel. Because I was flying out of Stansted Airport, I chose the "Islington Shoreditch Benthal Green" area, which would be reasonably convenient to Liverpool Street station for the Stansted Express. The hotel I got was the Re London Shoreditch. ...read more»
Low-cost carriers. We love 'em (Southwest). We hate 'em (Spirit).
Either way, they're a fixture in today's travel landscape. And their size and influence are ever-growing.
A report issued this week by travel-technology company Amadeus provides some perspective on the LCCs' presence in the travel marketplace, including a regional breakdown.
Although it's tempting to assume that North America boasts the heaviest LCC presence—Southwest is, after all, the model that most LCCs used as a template—both Europe and the South West Pacific regions are the current leaders in LCC activity....read more»
Passport expeditor services, which can get a brand-new passport to your door in as little as 24 hours, cost a healthy chunk of money. Plus, it's not exactly easy to find a reputable expeditor, since the field is filled with agencies that don't always offer fair pricing or adequate customer service.
But expeditors aren't your only or best option when it comes to getting a passport in a pinch. Obtaining your new passport through government channels is often the easiest and cheapest way to go. Here's an overview of what to do—and who to turn to—when you need a passport in a hurry....read more»
In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, travelers are reporting increased security measures at airports and train stations around the country. Although there is no official mandate for extra security, CBS News quotes Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano who released a statement, saying, "Out of an abundance of caution, DHS continues to keep in place enhanced security measures at transportation hubs, utilizing measures both seen and unseen."...read more»