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JetBlue 2-Day Sale with Fares from $29

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JetBlue fired up one of its short-term, big-savings sales this morning.  Book a flight anywhere they fly for prices that start at $29 each way.  You have to buy the tickets by midnight on Wednesday for travel between April 13 to June 16.  There are blackout dates for some destinations and sale fares to other destinations are available only on specific days of the week. 

Restrictions be damned.  Spontaneous getaways seem pretty viable when, for the price of two movie tickets and some popcorn, you can fly away.

Ann Shields is a senior online editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo courtesy of JetBlue Airways

Airport Device Follows Fliers' Phones

USA Today |  Today's smartphones and PDAs could have a new use in the nation's airports: helping passengers avoid long lines at security checkpoints. The Transportation Security Administration is looking at installing devices in airports that home in and detect personal electronic equipment. The aim is to track how long people are stuck in security lines. Information about wait times could then be posted on websites and in airports across the country.

"This technology will produce valuable data that can be used in a variety of ways," TSA spokeswoman Lauren Gaches said, noting it could help prevent checkpoint snarls.

But civil-liberties experts worry that such a system enables the government to track people's whereabouts. "It's serious business when the government begins to get near people's personal-communication devices," said American Civil Liberties Union privacy expert Jay Stanley.

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British Airways Cabin Crew to Strike After Talks Fail

New York Times / Reuters |  A three-day strike by British Airways cabin crew will go ahead from Saturday after talks with management collapsed, Britain’s Unite union said Friday.

The strike, which is likely to disrupt travel plans for thousands, presents a major headache for the ruling Labor party weeks before a general election because Unite is its biggest single financial backer.

“The strike that is planned for midnight tonight will go ahead as will the other strike we have announced,” Tony Woodley, Unite union joint general secretary, told reporters.

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United Door-to-Door Baggage Service Just $25/Bag

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United Airlines is conducting an exciting short-term experiment: If you book their Door-to-Door Baggage Service before 5 p.m. this Friday, they’ll arrange to pick up and deliver up to 9 pieces of luggage for $25 each.  The service can be booked up to 10 days in advance of a domestic trip, so even if you’re not flying for a few days, you can book it now.  The $25/bag fee covers one-way travel (so $50 roundtrip) and is only available in locations served by FedEx.

To get an idea of just how great a value this is, consider that United currently charges $25 for your first checked bag and $35 for a second bag.  (Think bypassing the airline and shipping directly through FedEx may be a deal?  Think again.  The company charges upwards of $230 to overnight one 50 lb. bag from New York to Los Angeles. Costs drop significantly with 2nd- or 3rd day delivery, but still don't merit savings enough to live out of a carry-on bag.)

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Continental to 86 Food Service in Economy

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The last holdout in airline food service on domestic flights, Continental Airlines, has announced that there’s no more free lunch.  When the airline makes the service change to the economy class cabin beginning this fall, you can expect nothing but a bag of mini pretzels with your diet soda. 

Continental does plan to offer economy fliers “high quality, healthy food choices for purchase,” however, and will continue to ply domestic BusinessFirst and first-class passengers with complimentary meals, as well as all passengers on trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific flights.

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Paperless Boarding Takes off at United

CNN |  More air travelers may soon be scanning their smartphones instead of paper slips at airport gates.

United has become the latest airline to offer mobile boarding passes for customers equipped with Web-enabled mobile phones or devices, such as iPhones or BlackBerrys.

United passengers traveling within the United States, Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands can now log on to mobile.united.com to check in for their flights via their smartphones.

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Flight Attendants Union Wants Combat Training

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USA Today | Flight attendants press for hand-to-hand combat training as anti-terror measure The Association of Flight Attendants is pushing Congress to fund combat training as part of a four-point plan that the union says would improve security inside aircraft cabins. The Los Angeles Times reports the union "hopes that lawmakers will include money to put some of their ideas into action under an upcoming funding bill for the Federal Aviation Administration."

According to the Times, the attendants' four-point plan includes: "Mandatory hand-to-hand combat training for all crew members"; portable communication devices that would allow attendants to speak with pilots during emergencies; a standard maximum size for carry-on luggage "so that flight attendants can look for suspicious passengers instead of struggling with oversized bags"; and the ability to shut down in-flight Wi-Fi "during high-threat periods to prevent terrorists from communicating with collaborators on the ground."

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Photo courtesy of iStock

Airlines Will Cancel Flights to Avoid Delay Fines

NBC News - Dallas, Ft. Worth |  Passengers may soon be seeing more cancellations on airport departure boards. Several airlines, including Fort Worth-based American and Houston-based Continental, say they will cancel flights rather than risk paying stiff penalties for delaying passengers on the runway.

Continental's CEO told investors Tuesday that the airline will opt to cancel flights rather than chance being fined. Aviation consultant Denny Kelly expects other airlines to follow suit.

“I think all of them will cancel flights,” he said. “They'll do it partially because they think they are going to punish passengers, and if they punish them, someone will get this legislation removed.”

Under new federal guidelines that take effect next month, airlines can be fined up to $27,500 per passenger if a plane is stuck on the tarmac for longer than three hours.

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$10 Flights on JetBlue—Today Only!

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MONDAY: To commemorate its 10th birthday, JetBlue is offering $10 tickets on remaining seats on flights between New York City’s JFK Airport and the first 10 cities it served.  You must book the flights today but you can fly today and tomorrow between JFK and Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Orlando, Fort Myers, and West Palm Beach FL;  Buffalo and Rochester NY;  Oakland, Calif.; Burlington VT; and Salt Lake City.

That’s a quick turnaround, but impulsive behavior flourishes when spring is in the air.

For more information or to book, please visit JetBlue.com before midnight.

Ann Shields is a online senior editor at Travel + Leisure.

Image courtesy of JetBlue Airways

Obama to Nominate Ex-Army General to Head TSA

Washington (CNN) |  President Obama has tapped a former Army general to lead the Transportation Security Administration, sources have told CNN.

Obama plans to nominate Robert A. Harding, a retired major general with 33 years in the Army, to become the TSA administrator, sources said. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will announce the nomination Monday with Harding by her side, according to one administration official.

"The TSA administrator is the most important unfilled post in the Obama administration," one administration official said. "Mr. Harding has the experience and perspective to make a real difference in carrying out the mission of the agency."

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