May 2005

As you dream about your next vacation and look at photos of the hotel and beaches on the Internet, can you trust that the photo is reality? It depends. Many hotels are doctoring the photos they post online. Some may just accentuate their amenities, while others may be downright lying.

The announced merger of America West and US Airways is not good news for the airline industry. A fellow commentator described the proposed merger as an attempt to connect two one-legged men and create a healthy person. But I think it’s worse than that. This American West/US Airways creature has two left feet.

America West Holdings Corporation and US Airways Group, Inc. today announced an agreement to merge and create the first full-service nationwide airline, with the consumer-friendly pricing structure of a low-fare carrier.

If Sydney’s heart is its expansive harbor, then its soul can be found in its lush parks and fascinating museums. Best of all, exploring both is
affordable – even, at times, free.

Michelle-Shari Kruss’ sister-in-law is legally blind, so she makes an airline reservation with the help of an assistant. But the aid types the wrong name for her, setting off a chain of events that end when she’s told her airline ticket is basically worthless. Whose fault is it? What should this passenger have done differently, and how can you make sure you don’t fall into the ticket name trap?

The government is late in coming up with a plan ordered by Congress to avoid diverting international flights because of concerns about their passengers. Twice in the past week, Boston-bound planes from Europe were diverted from their destinations when a passenger’s name was found to be similar to a name on the “no-fly list” of people considered threats.

Terry RileyWith over 100 million Americans vacationing in the United States, plus
millions more coming from overseas this summer on holiday, this should turn
out to be another good season for American criminals. No one really knows for sure why this is the case. It could be that in the
winter, fewer victims venture out. It could be that winter weather
conditions make the successful execution of a crime more difficult.

An airline catering company must take major steps to clean its Honolulu location or risk the unit’s closure after U.S. health inspectors found live cockroaches, dirty utensils and an oozing, pink slime earlier this year, according to a letter released on Tuesday.

A room at the Marriott may cost only $150, but the final bill looks a lot different once you have handed your car keys to the valet, used the high-speed Internet connection and eaten the $11 oatmeal. Late fees on credit cards have jumped. So have many mutual-fund fees. Two young economists, Xavier Gabaix and David I. Laibson, have come up with a name for this practice: shrouding.

Have the airline employees who are currently threatening to strike lost their minds? Don’t they know that their industry is facing a financial crisis? Many passengers are asking me these questions lately, and while I do not represent any specific airline or union, I do have some answers. I also have some tips for passengers who may be confronted with any type of airline strike. There gets to be a point where enough is enough, and when employees reach that point, consequences are put on the back burner.