Study shows TSA fines unevenly imposed

by Jon Surmacz on June 28, 2005

Study shows TSA fines unevenly imposed — Travelers who carry banned items through airport security don’t simply risk losing a favorite Swiss Army knife. They also face potentially big fines — and these penalties can vary sharply from airport to airport, according to an analysis of federal airport-security data. At the airport in Manchester, N.H., last year, for instance, nearly 700 people were fined for carrying prohibited items, while at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport — which had nearly 12 million more people passing through security during that time — just 35 penalties were issued. (WSJ)

Comment from Leslie Friedman — The TSA would go a long way toward making people feel more kindly toward the agency if it were to make available (for a charge) postage-paid padded envelopes so that people could mail their Swiss Army Knives, etc., home to themselves. Most people simply forget what they’re carrying in their pockets that may be subject to seizure — although the TSA doesn’t help itself by its lack of consistency regarding what is or isn’t allowed through checkpoints at different U.S. airports.
Hot topic on the forums: Small economy class seat; big body

Boy injured in another Florida shark attack — A 16-year-old boy was bitten by a shark Monday in the Gulf of Mexico, two days after a shark killed a 14-year-old girl off the Florida Panhandle, authorities said. Craig Adam Hutto of Lebanon, Tennessee, was fishing with his brother on a sandbar about 60 yards off Cape San Blas when he was bitten about 11:30 a.m. Monday, said Gulf County government spokeswoman Paula Pickett. (CNN)

Comment from Christopher Elliott — Uh oh, could this be another Year of the Shark Attack? (And is it better than hurricanes taking aim at Florida one after the other?)

Hotel rates climbing this summer — Leisure travel is expected to be robust this summer. Unfortunately for vacationers, so are hotel rates. Some forecasters predict an average 4.5% hotel price increase this summer over last, though resort rates during prime periods could soar 20%. The reason: record demand. Summer travel is forecast to be up 4.7% over 2004, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. But changes in booking patterns are driving the increases, too. Travelers are making reservations earlier, which allows hoteliers to be bolder in their pricing. (USA Today)

Online maps lead travelers astray — Online mapping services were supposed to be a godsend for business travelers when they were introduced a few years ago. But for motorists like Diane Taub, the devil was in the turn-by-turn directions. Ms. Taub, a computer tutor from Merrick, N.Y., has become lost using every major Web site, including MapQuest, MSN Maps and Directions, and Yahoo Maps. The maps became a problem when she relocated to New York from Miami recently. (The New York Times)

Travel scam artist sought — again — Durham police are once again searching for a man they say bilked a pair of Durham residents out of more than $3,700 last week. Beverly D. Perry, 53, of Linwood Avenue, was arrested last month in connection with a cruise involving a bride-to-be and her wedding party. (Herald)

Convenience, but not for everyone — New technologies, including airport check-in kiosks and Web-based reservations systems, have been heavily promoted by the travel industry as conveniences for customers. Unfortunately, they are not convenient for all customers. Self-service airline terminals can be difficult or impossible to use for people with mobility, visual or hearing impairments. The same goes for hotel kiosks. (The New York Times)

Newark TSA screeners get high marks — Security screeners at Newark Liberty International Airport are among the best in the nation when it comes to passing annual tests on checkpoint and bomb-detection machine procedures, according to the Transportation Security Administration. (AP)

High oil prices threaten Northwest, Delta — Delta Air Lines Inc. and Northwest Airlines Corp. are the two U.S. airlines most at risk of falling into bankruptcy by surging energy costs, analysts said on Monday. Few industries have been as hard hit as airlines by spikes in oil prices. But now, as prices continue to spiral, there could be a winnowing down in the industry in the United States, where carriers posted $10 billion in losses last year alone. (Reuters)

Atlanta woman bids for US Airways — An Atlanta-area woman said yesterday that she planned to file a competing bid this week for US Airways, one that rivals the merger proposal made by America West Airlines. Sallijo Freeman claims to represent an overseas investment group that wants the entire operation. (Post-Gazette)

Northwest near impasse with unions — Northwest Airlines Corp. threatened to seek an end to contract talks with its mechanics for the second time in as many months, after rejecting a union proposal with a 16% pay cut, the workers’ union said. The airline said last week it was 10 minutes away from asking the National Mediation Board to declare an impasse in the talks, the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association told members June 24 on its Web site. (Bloomberg)

Correspondents: Richard Wong, Carrie Charney, Leslie Friedman, John Frenaye, Mary Staley, Stephanus Surjaputra.

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