The Week: Most Recent Air Travel recent posts.en-usMon, 10 Dec 2012 11:01:00 -0500http://theweek.com Recent Air Travel from THE WEEKMon, 10 Dec 2012 11:01:00 -0500The FCC: Lift the ban on using gadgets during takeoff (and landing)<img src="" /></P><p>It's one of the more annoying aspects of flying: Anytime the cabin doors close and the plane prepares for takeoff, all those texting sessions, Kindle reads, and Words With Friend games must be put on hold until the captain gives the go ahead to use "electronic devices" 10,000 feet in the air later. Flight attendants don't like the rule anymore than we do; it seems there's always one entitled flyer who sanctimoniously refuses to have his browsing habits stifled by what he sees as an archaic rule.</p><p class="p1">Luckily, a change could finally be on the horizon, at least if the <strong>Federal Communications Commission...</strong></p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/chris-gayomali" ><span class="byline">Chris Gayomali</span></a>Mon, 10 Dec 2012 11:01:00 -0500The airport boarding gate that instantly detects explosives<img src="" /></P><p>The efficacy of current airport security measures &mdash; which require travelers to clumsily remove their shoes, belts, and more in the name of safety &mdash; is understandably debatable. To address some of the issues with trying to keep air travel safe, electronics company Hitachi, together with researchers at the University of Yamanachi, have developed a tangible solution that seamlessly sniffs out airplane-destroying bombs when you scan your ticket at the boarding gate. Here, a concise guide:</p><p class="p2"><strong>Why at the boarding gate?&nbsp;</strong><br />Japanese researchers claim that flight safety could be "drastically...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffThu, 04 Oct 2012 15:38:00 -0400Why are seats coming loose on American Airlines' planes?<img src="" /></P><p>American Airlines passengers are pretty rattled... literally. Over a span of three days, rows of seats have come loose on three of the airline's Boeing 757 jets &mdash; in mid-air. The airline says it will inspect eight other 757s with similar seats to make sure they don't have problems. The Federal Aviation Administration is also investigating. But what exactly going on with these planes? Here, a brief guide:<br /><br /><strong>What happened on these planes?</strong><br />While the jets were in flight, a row of seats on each of the planes &mdash; one going from Vail, Colo., to Dallas, one from Boston to Miami, and another from...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffTue, 02 Oct 2012 16:00:00 -0400Coming soon: Adults-only sections on airplanes<img src="" /></P><p>It's no secret that frequent fliers and crying babies are a volatile mix. One low-cost airline, AirAsia, is trying to keep these incompatible groups of passengers apart by offering an adults-only "Quiet Zone" on long-haul flights. Is this a sensible way to keep everyone happy, or a form of anti-baby discrimination that unfairly makes life harder for already frazzled parents? A closer look at the no-baby policy:<br /><br /><strong>How will this program work?</strong><br />AirAsia, which is based in Malaysia with additional hubs in Thailand and Indonesia, will set aside the first seven rows of its economy class as a "Quiet Zone."...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffWed, 26 Sep 2012 13:12:00 -0400Smaller seats, more passengers: Inside United Airline's painful new plan<img src="" /></P><p>As rising fuel costs erode profits, United Airlines has come up with a claustrophobia-inducing way to boost income: Installing thinner, lighter seats onto some of its planes so it can cram in more passengers. Here, a brief guide we've managed to squish into less than a page:<br /><br /><strong>How many more people is United packing in?</strong><br />The seats, which United will begin installing next year, use a polyester padding &mdash; supposedly ergonomically superior to bulkier traditional foam cushioning. The new smaller seats let United add one row to the 12 to 15 rows in the economy sections of its 152 narrow-body Airbus jets...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffFri, 24 Aug 2012 12:52:00 -0400Pedophilia panic: Barring single men from sitting next to kids on planes<img src="" /></P><p>An Australian man, Daniel McCluskie, is lashing out at Qantas Airlines, saying the company humiliated him by forcing him to move because he was seated next to a 10-year-old girl traveling without her parents. The story surfaced days after reports that another man, a firefighter named Johnny McGirr, had been forced to trade seats with a woman on another carrier, Virgin Australia, because he had been seated next to two unaccompanied boys, ages 8 and 10. Is it wrong to treat passengers as if they're a potential sexual threat to kids simply because they're men? Here, a brief guide:<br /><br /><strong>Why is McCluskie...</strong></p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffTue, 14 Aug 2012 14:22:00 -0400How did sewing needles end up in Delta's food?<img src="" /></P><p>A handful of business class passengers on four Delta Air Lines flights from Amsterdam to the U.S. got an unpleasant surprise when they bit into their hot turkey sandwiches on July 15: Sewing needles. The needles &mdash; about an inch long and sharp on both ends &mdash; are only known to have injured one passenger, Minneapolis-bound James Tonjes. "I'll be very honest, the first bite, I thought, 'Boy, this is pretty good,'" Tonjes said of his sandwich. "It was the second bite that got me." The FBI and Dutch police have launched criminal investigations, and Delta and airline caterer Gate Gourmet are...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffWed, 18 Jul 2012 12:46:00 -0400The airport security scanner that knows what you ate for breakfast<img src="" /></P><p class="p1">"If the TSA's full body scanners make you nervous," says Marc Georges at <em>Mashable</em><em>,</em> "the Department of Homeland Security's new molecular scanner may have you locking yourself at home and ordering in for the rest of your life." The government has teamed up with a subcontractor to produce a new laser scanner that can detect "traces of drugs or gun powder on your clothes," says <em>Gizmodo</em>, as well as the egg sandwich you had for breakfast and the adrenaline level in your body &mdash; all "without you knowing it." The new scanner is reportedly slated for use in airports and border crossings, but could...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffFri, 13 Jul 2012 07:51:00 -04008 passengers dubiously booted off Southwest flights<img src="" /></P><p class="p1">When passengers are kicked off planes, it's usually for aggressive or offensive behavior, like being drunk or berating the flight attendant. But Southwest Airlines "has become synonymous with people getting kicked off flights for ridiculous reasons," says Katie J.M. Baker at <em>Jezebel</em>, picking on passengers with low-hanging pants, exposed cleavage, and politically opinionated T-shirts. Here, a look at eight cases of passengers who have been escorted off Southwest flights for questionable reasons:&nbsp;</p><p class="p1"><strong>1. Showing too much cleavage </strong><br />In June, Southwest told a customer wearing a loose cotton dress and...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffFri, 15 Jun 2012 17:35:00 -0400Should airlines charge a fee for oversized carry-ons?<img src="" /></P><p class="p1">Everyone knows that sinking feeling of boarding a flight to find that all the overhead bins are bursting with huge bags, many of which are suspiciously larger than regulation size. And then there is the bottleneck at the gate-check, where airline agents identify oversized bags and then drag them into the belly of the plane. Well, it appears that airlines are finally preparing to do something about oversized carry-ons. "Some domestic airlines are weighing the idea of discouraging passengers from lugging oversize carry-on bags onto planes by imposing a $25 charge," says Joe Sharkey at <em>The New York...</em></p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffThu, 07 Jun 2012 07:33:00 -0400The latest outrage-inducing airline fee: $25 for a window seat?<img src="" /></P><p>Everyone knows airplanes' middle seats are the worst. And of course, the airlines realize it, too &mdash; and are looking to profit off of our reluctance to be sardined. An increasing number of carriers are reserving window and aisle seats for frequent fliers or passengers willing to shell out an extra $25 or more&nbsp;each way. This makes it harder, or at least more expensive, for families, friends, and couples to sit together. Here, a guide to what could be your next summer travel headache: <br /><br /><strong>Why charge for window seats?</strong><br />Airlines have become shameless when it comes to wringing extra cash out of...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffWed, 23 May 2012 13:59:00 -0400Are airplane seats dangerously small for fat Americans?<img src="" /></P><p>Under safety standards written more than 60 years ago, airplane seats must be designed to accommodate a 170-pound passenger. The trouble is, Americans have grown <em>much</em> larger in the decades since the rules were established, and some engineers are starting to question whether airline seats are strong enough to protect overweight travelers, according to <em>The New York Times</em>. Is flying unsafe for obese passengers? Here's what you need to know:<br /><br /><strong>How heavy are we?</strong><br />Today, the average man weighs 194 pounds, making him 24 pounds heavier than the passengers for whom the seats were designed. The average woman...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffWed, 09 May 2012 15:28:00 -0400Ryanair's 7 most ridiculous cost-saving ventures<img src="" /></P><p class="p1">Dubbed "the Walmart of the skies," Ryanair embodies the once-glamorous airline industry's new reality as a cattle-car delivery system. Searching high and low for any way to undersell its competitors, the Irish airline, led by outspoken CEO Michael O'Leary, takes a no-frills approach to the extreme. And judging by Ryanair's&nbsp;popularity, fliers are willing to tolerate a little hardship, and perhaps sacrifice a smidgeon of dignity, in exchange for cheaper tickets. Here, Ryanair's seven craziest tightwad proposals:</p><p class="p1"><strong>1. Urging flight attendants to lose weight</strong> <br />With fuel costs rising, Ryanair is&nbsp...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffThu, 05 Apr 2012 16:23:00 -0400Will airlines finally stop forcing fliers to turn off their iPads?<img src="" /></P><p>Alec Baldwin is hardly the only air traveler who doesn't like it when a flight attendant announces that all electronic devices must be powered down prior to takeoff. Experts and frequent fliers have long suspected that the rule &mdash; which ostensibly prevents our gadgets from interfering with the plane's complex equipment &mdash; is unnecessary, and might have been created just to torture us. After all, pilots are allowed to use iPads in the cockpit, so why can't we? Well, happier flights might be on the horizon: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is giving the rules a "fresh look" to...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffTue, 20 Mar 2012 18:00:00 -0400Petty controversy: Alec Baldwin vs. American Airlines<img src="" /></P><p><strong>The petty controversy:</strong> Call it "Words with Friends-gate."&nbsp;On Tuesday,&nbsp;<em>30 Rock</em> star Alec Baldwin said via Twitter that an American Airlines flight attendant had "reamed" him out for playing the popular Scrabble-like game on his smartphone while his plane sat at the gate. The airline&nbsp;said on Facebook&nbsp;that an indignant Baldwin refused to turn off his device, got up and&nbsp;"slammed the lavatory door so hard, the cockpit crew heard it and became alarmed." Baldwin, who was kicked off the flight, "was extremely rude to the crew, calling them inappropriate names and using offensive...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffWed, 07 Dec 2011 18:32:00 -0500The girl barred from flying because her purse was considered a lethal weapon<img src="" /></P><p>The TSA may have shot itself in the foot once again. Vanessa Gibbs, 17, was recently stopped at a Virginia airport by a Transportation Security Administration official because her purse was decorated with a gun motif. TSA agents flagged the handbag as a security risk, and the resulting delay caused Gibbs, who is pregnant, to miss her flight from Norfolk, Va. to her home in Jacksonville, Fla. Instead, Gibbs was diverted to Orlando, sending her waiting mother into a panic. Here's what you should know:</p><p><strong>What does this purse look like?</strong><br />On the front of the small brown bag is a miniature revolver dotted...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffMon, 05 Dec 2011 13:15:00 -0500