August 2007

Chris ElliottYou’ve probably heard of the government’s controversial “no-fly” list. Maybe you know someone who’s on it. Maybe you’re on it. But that list, which has snared everyone from a Marine serving in Iraq to a four-year-old, is a topic for another time.
Today, I’m talking about a different kind of “no-fly” list: yours.

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Severe weather in the U.S. Midwest and Southeast overnight bedeviled air traffic, knocked out power to large sections of Chicago, Illinois, and pushed rivers and streams out of their banks.

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Last week brought the news that TPG Capital, a private equity firm based in Texas, has offered $450 million for the purchase of Midwest Air Group, the regional carrier based in Milwaukee. And who do we find on the “passive investors” list? None other than Northwest Airlines, the terror of the Midwest. Charlie Leocha smells something fishy.

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The Justice Department is giving Britain’s largest airline a break, even as it faces one the largest antitrust fines in years. Representatives of British Airways are scheduled to plead guilty Thursday to two counts of conspiracy and face a likely fine of $300 million for colluding with rival Virgin Atlantic over fuel surcharges on international flights.

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Joan Cole’s airport shuttle bus is a no-show. A customer service agent finally tells her to take a cab and promises to pay Cole’s fare. But now Gray Line, the company that was supposed to pick her up, is ignoring her request for a refund. What should she do?

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Hurricane Dean churned toward a second dangerous encounter with Mexico on Wednesday, as government officials warned residents of Veracruz and other coastal towns to prepare for its arrival.

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Tripso has a new columnist. His name is Tim Leffel and he has some miles on his shoe leather. Tim has been around the world three times, has lived in Istanbul, Seoul and Bangkok, and has dispatched travel articles from five continents. After spending 15 years in out-of-the-Zway places, Tim has some advice for the wayfarer: Think local.

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Hurricane Dean weakened today into a Category 3 storm after slamming into Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula as a Category 5 monster capable of inflicting catastrophic damage. The hurricane is expected to cross Yucatan and re-enter the gulf as a Category 2 storm.

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People say U.S. airlines are among the worst in the airline industry. Stack them up against their international competitors and they fail the tests of customer service, amenities and overall friendliness. Why is that? Why can’t American carriers compete? James Wysong has some ideas.

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