Federal government wraps up quiet year for traveler protections

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Government fines against airlines for consumer rule violations are on track to hit a six-year low as the U.S. Department of Transportation’s enforcement actions shift from punishment to preventing infractions. With only a few weeks left in 2014, the DOT has issued 23 consent orders that assess $2.6 million in penalties — $4.5 million less than last year. That’s the same number as in 2009.
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Who really benefits when airlines are penalized?

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Although the U.S. Department of Transportation fined seven airlines a total of $1.7 million last year for violating its controversial tarmac-delay rule, most of it went straight to the U.S. Treasury. Why isn’t the money awarded to the passengers who sat on planes for hours before taking off?
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Want a better trip? Pack these smartphone apps

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If you don’t think technology can improve your trip, meet Judy Williams. When she and her husband recently checked into the Radisson Blu Hotel in Zurich, a clerk asked them to sign the dotted line on a room rate hundreds of dollars higher than their online confirmation.
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