Airport: Couple - Standing, Staring Out (Photo: Shutterstock/Gwoeii)

Are loyalty programs doing their job? Consulting company Deloitte thinks not, and they'd be happy to show the airlines how to improve their programs.

Underlying Deloitte's sales pitch for its services are the results of its survey of 2,500 travelers who took at least one flight during the past 12 months. Among the highlighted findings:

  • Loyalty programs were only the 19th most-important factor when choosing an airline, out of 26 attributes.
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Photo: iStockphoto

When the Justice Department and a handful of state attorneys general filed suit last week to halt the American-US Airways merger, it took most of us by surprise.

My own thinking ran something like this: "Wow, that could change everything. But surely the high-priced legal teams counseling American and US Airways had considered the possibility of a challenge to the merger and have a backup plan ready to deploy."

But in yet another surprising development in this story, it turns out there was no Plan more»

Child: Tantrum (Photo: Thinkstock/iStockphoto)

Child-free zones seem to have become a trend among airlines in the East. Last year, Malaysia Airlines banned infants in some first-class cabins. And then AirAsia set up no-kids-allowed "quiet zones" on some of its planes.

Now, add Scoot Airlines to the list of family-unfriendly Asian carriers. According to a report form The Telegraph, Singapore-based Scoot is introducing a "ScootinSilence" cabin to its fleet of Boeing 777 planes, to which passengers can upgrade for $16 AUD (about $14.40). Children ages 12 and younger will not be permitted in the ScootinSilence more»

(Photo: Airport Security via Shutterstock)

If you're returning through Chicago O'Hare from a foreign trip, newly installed kiosks in the international arrivals area will allow you to skip much of the usual desks and paperwork. Just head to one of 32 self-service kiosks, scan your passport, get your picture taken, answer some questions, and get receipt and show it to the customs official.

According to reports, the average wait time has dropped from 50 to 34 minutes, but some travelers report no wait at all. You can even ignore the customs handouts that airline flight attendants offer to passengers before landing. For now, the kiosks work only for U.S. citizens; future extension to other citizens is more»

Lojel Wave (Photo: Lojel)

What Is It: Lojel Wave hard-sided polycarbonate suitcase. The 19.5-inch carry-on version is currently the lightest hard-sided luggage in the industry, coming in at 4.3 pounds. The 24-inch version is 6.4 pounds, and the 27-inch is 7.9 pounds, which puts even the larger cases among the lightest hard-sided luggage options available. 

Price and Where to Buy: $200 to $280 on the Lojel website.

Pros: The Lojel Wave has a lot of features to recommend it, including four 360-degree roller wheels that make for impressively smooth rolling, a built-in TSA-approved lock that sits flush with the suitcase's exterior, and a three-stage locking handle, which allows you to find the right height whether you're rolling the suitcase alongside or pulling it behind more»

Allegiant Air aircraft (Photo: Allegiant Air)

Allegiant yesterday announced new service on 18 routes, bringing to 99 the number of cities served by the Las Vegas-based carrier. That's more cities than Southwest serves, but Allegiant offers a few flights a week on most routes, whereas Southwest typically operates several flights or more every day.

The new destinations include Islip, N.Y.; New Windsor, N.Y.; Syracuse, N.Y.; Charlottesville, Va.; Clarksburg W. Va.; Concord, N.C.; Oklahoma City; Tulsa, Okla.; and Manhattan, more»

Airport -  Busy check-in area (Photo: San Francisco International Airport)

Traveling over this Labor Day weekend?

If so, you'll be among 34.1 million other Americans AAA expects to be driving or flying over this year's holiday weekend. That's a 4.2 percent increase over last year and the highest number since the recession put the kibosh on discretionary trips five years ago.

Of the total, 85 percent will drive, eight percent will fly, and the rest will travel by bus, train, and so more»

Credit Card: People Passing Card (Photo: iStockphoto/Marcus Clackson)

Do you ever notice a few charges on your credit-card statement that you can't figure out? If you never do, you're lucky. According to a recent report from BillGuard, about a third of all credit- and debit-card holders report "grey" charges—and probably lots more don't report them because they haven't noticed them. Typically, grey charges are small amounts, averaging a total of $61, but they add up to a total of $14 billion a year. Grey charges are not strictly a travel problem, but because credit cards are so central to travel, this warning is especially useful. The BillGuard report cites 11 different types of grey charges. more»

American plane taxiing down the runway (Photo:  Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport)

The Department of Justice's move to shelve the American-US Airways merger surprised just about everybody in the business. And it unleashed a flood of facts, opinions pretending to be facts, and outright fluff into the public discourse. Here's my attempt to separate what's real and what isn't.

The merger will be good for consumers: pure fluff.

The various industry apologists are trying to sell the merger as beneficial, but their assertions are embarrassingly weak. more»

England: London, Couple Taking Self-Portrait (Photo: Thinkstock/Digital Vision)

Enter the Heineken Voyage Promotion sweepstakes by September 30 for a chance to win one three grand prizes: trips for two to the Professional American Football Game in London; the Australian Open in Melbourne, Australia; or the UEFA Champions League Soccer Game (location TBD). All prizes include air, hotel, and event tickets.

To participate, provide the requested contact information on the sweepstakes landing page and press "submit." Time required: 30 more»