A few days ago, a Transportation Department official bristled when I suggested that its recent fines against airlines were little more than warning shots. It turns out the DOT isn’t done making its point.
Archives for August 2009
This may come under the “careful what you wish for” category. We have all grumbled under our breath (well sometimes, no-so-under-our-breath) about passengers carrying oversized luggage aboard plane as carry-on luggage. Rep. Lipinski (D-Ill.) is proposing a law mandating the maximum size of bags a passenger can carry on board.
As many travel articles and posts have noticed, airlines are making an increasingly large part of their revenue from change fees. Which, while sometimes irritating, is certainly their right.
From a travel agent perspective, it’s certainly not our favorite part of the business. It’s hard to tell a client who is frustrated over a fee that first, it’s not our rule, and second, and second, that we have to charge an additional service fee on top of that. (Even in the rare cases, mostly on international tickets, that airlines do pay commission now, they do not pay anything on change fees.)
But what makes me craziest about the change fee rules is this: Airlines don’t always follow them.
Last summer I wrote about the Customs and Border Patrol’s (CBP) program to randomly search and seize laptops, digital cameras, cellphones and other electronic devices at the border, without warrants, reasonable suspicion or probable cause.
A year later, CBP agents are still searching and confiscating laptops; no warrants, no reasonable suspicion, no probable cause.
If you don’t think that’s a problem, ask …
• Nabila Mango, a therapist, who apparently had data from her cellphone erased by CBP while they searched it.
• Bill Hogan, a freelance journalist, who had his laptop confiscated for about two weeks.
• Maria Udy, a marketing executive, who after more than two years, is still waiting for her laptop to be returned. [Read more…]
Lufthansa may drop cargo fleet if night flight ban
If night flight is banned at Frankfurt’s airport, Lufthansa may stop flying cargo.
The German state of Hesse, home to Frankfurt, approved in 2007 plans to expand the airport, but one condition was that flight movements were limited to an average of 17 per night between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. to cut down on noise.
“Everything that goes toward a single-digit number (of flights allowed per night) would mean that it no longer pays off to have our own cargo fleet,” [CEO Carsten Spohr] said.