Spirit Airlines announced last week that beginning November 6, passengers arriving at their departure gate with a carry-on bag would be charged $100. If the passenger paid for the carry-on when they booked the ticket, the fee would drop to a who-could-possibly-object $30. For a carry-on bag!
New fees like these continue to be tacked on to airfares—and not just by cut-rate airlines like Spirit—plus travelers who actually pay for and check suitcases have to suffer through the vile rugby scrum at the baggage carousel. Options, like the ScotteVest, the jacket that conceals a Radio-Shack’s worth of gadgets, exist, but, um, our international editor Mark Orwoll looks better in it than I would.
LuggageForward.com, a baggage expeditor that uses UPS, FedEx, and DHL, offers prices that are (still) attractively competitive. Pay them $99 to pick up a 50-lb. suitcase a few days before your flight and it’ll be waiting at your domestic destination when you arrive. If Luggage Forward doesn’t get it there on time, they pay you up to $200.00 per day per item, up to $500. (The company also serves international destinations. And can transport awkward items like skis, bikes, surfboards, and golf bags.)
Would everybody please stop picking on the TSA for a cotton-pickin' minute?! Hey, no question the airport-security agency has taken a pummeling from critics lately, especially over accusations of theft. A report by ABC's Nightlinelast week was particularly damning when an iPad stolen from an airport security checkpoint was tracked down to the home of the TSA agent on-duty at the time. And now comes another dust-up. But this time the TSA claims it had nothing to do with it.
Southwest Airlines—which once upon a time, sprang earnestly from a place called Love Field—is inspiring more ill will again.
A Tennessee woman has filed an $800,000 suit against the airline—$300,000 for medical damages, and $500,000 in punitive damages—after she says she was scalded by hot water during a flight from Nashville to Houston.
Arrash "Ash" Durrani, sexy model, aspiring actor, and maker of groovy T-shirts, may be too-cool-for-school, but passengers on Tuesday's United Airlines Flight 473 from Chicago to Orange County, California, schooled him anyway when the apparently drunken California man began harassing others around him during the flight. Concerned passengers shouted at him to sit down, then ultimately tackled him to the floor of the aisle and sat atop him for hours until the plane landed safely at its destination, John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana.
For anyone who’s felt a certain despair when setting out for a transcontinental flight—after being offered nothing but a cardboard box of crackers, cheese and deli meat that most 2nd graders would find gastronomically unsatisfying—there is a vivid outlet for your culinary bitterness.
Airlinemeals.net actually started 10 years ago, when frequent flier Marco t'Hart decided to upload some shots of terrible meals he’s had (if not eaten) aloft, and invited other travelers to do the same.
Today the site has grown 26,000 images strong, and is reportedly getting more attention from airline catering companies, which are sifting through the reviews to help improve in-cabin dining—and which no doubt will enable coach-class food critics even more.
In an effort to save money on fuel costs, American Airlines requested, and subsequently received, permission from the FAA, to allow its pilots to replace their often bulky kitbag (a 35-pound paper-based reference manual pilots tote around with them at all times) with iPads. The iPads would be loaded with all the documentation the kitbags contain, but take up far less space and, at about 1.5 pounds, make their loads much lighter. AA said that this reduction in weight will save the airline as much as $1.2 million, based on current fuel prices.
Let’s just hope that the pilot doesn’t forget to charge it before takeoff…or get too distracted by a game of Angry Birds.
Joshua Pramis is the social media editor and resident tech aficionado at Travel + Leisure. Follow him on Twitter: @joshuapramis
Is it true, or a myth? We tackle 7 conventional travel tips to reveal which will actually save you money on your next vacation.
1. If you have enough frequent flyer miles for your next flight, use them.
Myth. It isn't always a good value to cash in your miles. First, use the 1.4-cents-per-mile rule to calculate the value of an award ticket. If the cash price is considerably cheaper than the award ticket calculation, save your miles. For example, if a flight will cost you $300 cash or 50,000 points, you'll get more value out of paying cash since the 50,000 points equal about $700. You'll want to use those points on a ticket that's around $500 or more.
For the next year, I'm only flying Virgin Airlines. Why? Their frequent flier who has the most Elevate status points by August 7, 2013 wins a Virgin Galactic suborbital space flight. A free trip to outer space! How cool, right? Enter into the running by . . .