June 2005

Struggling U.S. airlines are descending on Capitol Hill seeking help with pension costs, but they are not presenting a united front. Earlier this month Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines warned lawmakers that pension costs could push them into bankruptcy and pension default — like United Airlines — if Congress does not act.

A federal agency collected extensive personal information about airline passengers although Congress told it not to and it said it wouldn’t, according to documents obtained Monday by The Associated Press.

If you travel enough, sooner or later you will fall victim to the ever-popular traveling syndrome unofficially known as “hyperboeingtinitus,” “the funk,” or more commonly known as jetlag. It is the feeling of severe lack of energy, weird sleeping patterns, always feeling tired, no vigor, depression and about a day or two of being in a daze. As far as I know, nobody has ever died from jetlag, but sometimes you feel as if you are dead inside.

If the nation’s 429 commercial airports are too crowded, there is an alternative, aviation visionaries say: using a new generation of microjets, with two engines and just five or six seats, as air taxis or charters to connect the 5,400 airports scattered around the country that now have no scheduled service at all.

Traveling with kids, little kids, can be a hassle. They’re hard enough to transport in a car, but almost impossible in an airplane, all the paraphernalia that infants and toddlers need — extra changes of clothing, blankets, diapers, bottles, cribs, strollers, safety seats, booster seats, toys and more.

Fathers everywhere have passions. They have dreams of flying and driving race cars, they have hobbies like model trains and music, and some wish they could have lived in the Old West. Once upon a time, dreams like these might have remained just that: Dreams. Back then, passions went unfulfilled, yearnings unrealized. Today, living these aspirations is only a few steps of planning away.

Cingular Wireless wants to maintain a ban on cell phone calls aboard airplanes, according to a published report. USA Today reported yesterday the company has taken that position in a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA and the Federal Communications Commission are looking at lifting the ban on in-flight calls and then using new technology.

When Marilyn McLean can’t reach her South America cruise because of a blizzard, her tour operator, Grand Circle, suggests that she cancel her vacation and make a claim through her travel insurance. But her insurer, Trip Mate, pays her only $200, which doesn’t even begin to cover the $7,546 she spent. Now Grand Circle says it can’t help her. Will McLean lose her cruise? And how can you prevent this from happening to you when you travel?

Security checks where travelers are patted down will end for many people at 10 more airports by summer’s end, the government said Wednesday. Passengers will see “puffer” machines that can detect explosives residue when people walk through. Airport screeners will not have to pat down people to make sure they are not carrying hidden bombs.

An unoccupied home can be an invitation for burglars. Here are ten steps that you ought to think about taking before leaving home this summer. Beginning now, and continuing through the vacation season, an American’s chances of becoming a crime victim are higher than at any other time of the
year.