London, England (CNN) | In the name of improved security a hacker showed how a biometric passport issued in the name of long-dead rock 'n' roll king Elvis Presley could be cleared through an automated passport scanning system being tested at an international airport.
Using a doctored passport at a self-serve passport machine, the hacker was cleared for travel after just a few seconds and a picture of the King himself appeared on the monitor's display.
Adam Laurie and Jeroen Van Beek, who call themselves "ethical hackers," say the exercise exposed how easy it is to fool a passport scanner with a fraudulent biometric chip.
Travel Daily News | Continental Airlines announced the expansion of its mobile boarding pass service to London’s Heathrow Airport, becoming the first carrier to offer paperless boarding passes on nonstop flights from the United Kingdom to the U.S.
The service allows customers to receive boarding passes electronically on their mobile phones or personal digital assistants (PDAs) and eliminates the need for paper boarding passes.
The suspension is set to expire on March 8, barring the reaching of an agreement before then, both sides said in a Frankfurt labor court.
"The judge was very clear," airline spokesman Klaus Walther said. "He recommended the union to stop the strike action and to return to the negotiation table."
New York Times - Associated Press | Thousands of travelers scrambled to find flights, trains, hotel rooms or rental cars on Monday after Lufthansa pilots began a four-day walkout over job security that grounded at least 800 flights and upended travel across the continent.
Deutsche Lufthansa AG quickly rushed to get a court injunction to halt the strike and send 4,000 pilots back into their cockpits before more harm was done to passengers and shareholders.
The court in Frankfurt said a decision could come as soon as Monday night. (...) The strike disrupted travel plans for some 10,000 passengers worldwide.
CNN (Washington) | To the list of instructions you hear at airport checkpoints, add this: "Put your palms forward, please."
The Transportation Security Administration soon will begin randomly swabbing passengers' hands at checkpoints and airport gates to test them for traces of explosives.
Previously, screeners swabbed some carry-on luggage and other objects as they searched for the needle in the security haystack—components of terrorist bombs in an endless stream of luggage.
eTurbo News | If you've ever been hit with a surprise fee when you rented a car or booked an airline ticket and found yourself saying, "There ought to be a law," I have some good news for you: There is. Or at least, there could be.
There could be two laws, actually. The Clear Airfares Act is a Senate bill that would require airlines and online travel agencies to disclose any additional fees before you buy a ticket. And the End Discriminatory State Taxes for Automobile Renters Act would prohibit states or localities from collecting a discriminatory tax on motor vehicle rentals.
Just one problem: Neither of these bills have been passed.
But these proposed rules could make your next trip better, and they deserve our attention.
Los Angeles Times (Associated Press) | Next time you think about flying standby on American Airlines, be prepared to give the gate agent your name and $50.
The days of hanging around the agent's desk, hoping for a free switch to an earlier flight are over at American for many passengers.
The nation's second-largest airline said Wednesday that starting with tickets bought on Feb. 22, only elite frequent fliers, travelers in first or business class, military personnel and people who bought pricey coach tickets will be allowed to fly standby for free.
Everyone else switching flights on their day of travel will have to pay $50 to get a confirmed seat.
According to Joesentme.com, a subscription travel site that reported the move last Friday, the airline based its decision on consumer surveys. Joe Brancatelli, the site’s publisher, raised a skeptical brow. “American executives run focus groups on blankets?,” he said. “You think they’d look for customer focus group data on what fliers think about American’s worst-in-the-nation on-time performance, its atrocious baggage-handling ability or the hideous condition of its planes.”
Have you heard of Momondo.com yet? I’m always scouting for affordable flights, like every savvy traveler these days, and recently came across this Copenhagen-based aggregator (U.S. searches make up one-third of its market).
Whenever I encounter a site like this, I’m skeptical—how can this site really be better than the rest?—but it’s hard to argue with Momondo’s credentials. It claims to search more than 750 airfare sources (U.S. competitor Kayak covers roughly half that), including low-cost carriers, consolidators, aggregators, fledgling and major airlines. And when traveler advocate Arthur Frommer tested the top American agreegators—including Kayak, SideStep, and FareChase—only to find that the European Momondo consistently found fares that were 20 to 40 percent less.
Bloomberg News | Air passengers should be made aware of the health risks of airport body screenings and governments must explain any decision to expose the public to higher levels of cancer-causing radiation, an inter-agency report said.
Pregnant women and children should not be subject to scanning, even though the radiation dose from body scanners is “extremely small,” said the Inter-Agency Committee on Radiation Safety report, which is restricted to the agencies concerned and not meant for public circulation. The group includes the European Commission, International Atomic Energy Agency, Nuclear Energy Agency and the World Health Organization.