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Inquirer Daily News

Archive: April, 2010

POSTED: Monday, April 26, 2010, 12:45 PM

Spirit Airlines has been pilloried by politicians and the media for its new scheme of fees for carryon bags and now wants to set the record straight about what it says the effect is really going to be on customers, the Travel Weekly trade paper says. Spirit says it's written to the U.S. senators who have proposed legislation that would forbid airlines to charge for carryons, a rule that (seems to me) is really micromanagement of something that airline customers can figure out for themselves and decide if they want to pay a fee.

Spirit may be right that its customers prefer handling baggage problems, such as overstuffed overhead bins, with this kind of rule. But in my April 12 Winging It column, I reported on how befuddled the air-travel shopper can get in trying to figure out just how much a Spirit flight will really cost.

POSTED: Monday, April 26, 2010, 10:41 AM

The cancellation of huge numbers of flights for a week because of volcanic ash hurt more than just airline travelers. Travel Weekly, the trade paper for travel agents and others in the business, has a detailed article on how tour operators, travel insurers, cruise lines and hotels were affected.

POSTED: Monday, April 26, 2010, 10:15 AM

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating what could have been a tragedy at Bob Hope Burbank, Calif., Airport last week -- a near-collision of a Southwest jet landing at the same time a Cessna was cleared to land on a cross runway. Read details here ...

POSTED: Monday, April 26, 2010, 9:17 AM

Today's Winging It column covers a lot of ground in looking at the pressures all airlines have faced the last couple of years, resulting in fewer available seats for sale and higher fares this year. Particular attention is paid to Southwest, which is about to expand travelers' choice to fly to Boston from PHL but cut its service to other cities. Read it all here ...

POSTED: Friday, April 23, 2010, 9:32 AM

Europe's skies are clear of the volcanic ash cloud today (only Iceland and northern Scotland are now affected), making it time to speed up improvements to an antiquainted air-traffic control system that made the situation worse, officials say. Read on here...

POSTED: Friday, April 23, 2010, 8:37 AM

Inquirer airline reporter Linda Loyd has a good report today about how US Airways' Philadelphia hub may be better off now that the airline has called off talks with United about a merger. CEO Doug Parker said in a statement yesterday that US Airways still has good future, despite his fervent belief that it would be better off combining with another airline. Read  more here ....

POSTED: Thursday, April 22, 2010, 2:28 PM

Those tarmac-delay rules are going to take effect a week from today after all. The U.S. Department of Transportation just announced it had turned down requests by airlines to be exempted this year from tough new rules for treating passengers and returning to the terminal when flights would be delayed on an airport tarmac for three hours or more.

UPDATE: Here is a detailed AP story from Washington about DOT Secretary LaHood's decision.

US Airways had made one of the five requests, for an exemption for PHL, because of runway construction at New York's JFK Airport and the fact PHL shares airspace with the NY-area airports. The other airlines had requested exemptions for JFK, LaGuardia and Newark. Background on the issue can be found in my April 5 Winging It column.  US Airways already has said it has made plans to return to the terminal any flight that was delayed by 2 1/2 hours.

POSTED: Thursday, April 22, 2010, 2:12 PM

With the price of oil on the rise, substantially, in recent months, airline fuel costs have hurt most carriers' first-quarter earnings. Now www.farecompare.com CEO Rick Seaney has detected some carriers attempting, and then withdrawing adding fuel surcharges for domestic flights. Seaney tracks what is happening on fares and fees as well as anyone around. Here's a link to his latest note about the fuel surcharges.

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 tbelden@phillynews.com. Reach Tom at tbelden@phillynews.com.

Tom Belden
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