Friday, October 9, 2015

POSTED: Monday, November 7, 2011, 2:27 PM

Much of the criticism of what happened when hundreds of passengers were stuck overnight at Hartford's Bradley International Airport has been directed at the airport itself, not the airlines. Once travelers got off planes, after more than seven hours on the tarmac for some, they found the airport itself poorly equipped to handle the situation. Read more in an AP story here about the scrutiny this has meant for the airport.

POSTED: Monday, November 7, 2011, 11:57 AM

Many air travelers have heard about this story, or caught it on television, but we thought it was worth repeating here because of the way it turned out. Seems a woman lived inside SFO (San Francisco International) for eight days after she didn't have enough cash or a credit card to pay US Airways fees for two bags on a flight to Idaho. It's not completely clear from the story on ABC's Good Morning America why it took more than a week to resolve the problem. A nearby church eventually offered to help with the mounting expense of the ordeal, and US Airways apologized for the situation. But you wonder why that could not have happened sooner, and why it always seems to take media attention or the threat of it -- in this case with a senior officer of the airline appearing on camera to apologize -- to make things better. After a short commercial break at the beginning, watch the ABC News video here ...   

POSTED: Friday, November 4, 2011, 3:29 PM

What is out-of-town travel going to be like over the Thanksgiving week, usually one of the busiest periods of the year? Read more about it in today's Inquirer story.

POSTED: Wednesday, November 2, 2011, 4:05 PM

UPDATED: The independent journalism Web site ProPublica has produced a long and thorough story examining how the Transportation Security Administration has glossed over the dangers of radiation emitted by one of its primary airport screening devices. In the past, experts advised against using the devices in settings like airports, but the zeal for finding new screening methods for detecting explosives hidden on the body has apparently trumped those concerns. Here is the ProPublica story, and sorry for a bad link previously. 

UPDATE:  Here is a followup story: TSA Administrator John Pistole told Congress the agency would study the dangers of X-ray scanners again.

POSTED: Tuesday, November 1, 2011, 11:38 AM

This AP story by transportation writer Joan Lowy about the weekend's tarmac stranding in Connecticut has such a great lead (or 'lede" in journalism parlance) that we had to use it for the headline. Obviously, some airlines and their customers suffered more than others because of poor planning or bad luck, and federal watchdogs will be investigating. More detail can be found here ....

POSTED: Tuesday, November 1, 2011, 11:25 AM

We don't know about you, but one of our least-favorite aspects of airline flights these days is the boarding process, depending on the airline. Southwest's traditional method -- no reserved seats, board in check-in order unless you paid a lot or fly a lot -- may be a cattle call to critics but still seems to be the simplest and least hassle-free. This front-page New York Times story really struck a chord because it accurately describes how different airlines try different methods, giving priority to frequent-fliers, certain credit-card holders, those who pay extra for the best seats or who knows what -- and then create a scramble for overhead bin space for the poor schmucks without special status. Read it here and marvel once more about the joys of air travel. 

POSTED: Monday, October 31, 2011, 5:41 PM

It's not only airlines today that are helping their bottom lines by adding fees for services that once were included in the ticket price. Hotels, especially upscale resorts, have been doing some of it for years, with such things as a charge for that wall safe in your room whether you use it or not. Now NYU professor Bjorn Hanson, a longtime hotel analyst, finds in a study that hotels are adding even more fees. Read more about it here ....

POSTED: Monday, October 31, 2011, 1:05 PM

Qantas, Australia's flag carrier and a highly regarded international airline, got a black eye over the weekend with a shutdown of its entire worldwide operation in a labor dispute. The Australian government ordered Qantas to restart, which was underway today. Read more here ...

About this blog
Tom Belden has been reporting about Philadelphia International Airport and other air travel subjects for more than 20 years, writing columns for The Inquirer's Travel and Business sections. His reporting (with colleague Craig McCoy) on baggage handling problems in Philadelphia have been credited with helping to improve the system. His previous blog was called Road Warrior. He can reached at Reach Tom at

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