The Navigator

Are airlines about to charge your kids more?

If your blood pressure spikes when you think about the words “kids” and “plane” in the same sentence, as you just did (sorry about that), then this story may have a calming effect.

True, there’s no faster way to start a brawl on a flight or an online chat room than by putting the two together. Some passengers feel the interior of a plane should be a designated quiet zone; others treat it as a playground. It’s a conflict as old as commercial aviation.
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FAA funding bill may mean big changes for fliers – or none

An impending fight in Congress this spring over the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill could affect your next flight, for better or worse.

Trade associations call the appropriations bill the most important piece of legislation in the travel industry. The last one, passed in 2012, not only funded the FAA but also turned tarmac-delay rules into law and established an advisory committee for Aviation Consumer Protection.
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No more lost luggage? It’s not science fiction

Lost luggage may soon become as rare as lost airline tickets — or, at least, you’d think so when you talk to someone like Randal Collins.

Collins, a flight attendant based in Chicago, left his iPad on a recent flight. He had tagged it with a $25 device called Tile that emits a wireless signal up to 100 feet. It also uses a network of other Tile users to help owners find missing objects.

The tablet proved to be elusive, first tracking at his arrival gate. By the time he showed up to claim it, the plane had been moved to a hangar. Collins reported the iPad missing, and a few weeks later, another Tile user picked up its trail, displaying its likely location in a terminal at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.
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Beware of travel industry doublespeak

It’s for your own good.

Travelers are hearing these words more often than ever, and they are being applied to increasingly unwelcome scenarios. The latest example: being unable to access WiFi in your hotel without incurring an added charge. In August, the American Hotel & Lodging Association and Marriott filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission asking the government for permission to block wireless devices in hotels.
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Should airlines be re-regulated?

The days of a freewheeling, lightly regulated airline industry, in which a carrier can charge whatever fees and fares it pleases, may be nearing an end.

A confluence of events is pressuring government regulators to take action that, depending on your point of view, will make air travel less expensive or interfere with a free market, driving ticket prices higher.
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What to do about the ‘circumstances beyond our control’ excuse

The excuse had a familiar ring to it.

Craig Zimmett’s daughter, Alissa, was supposed to fly from Miami to Gainesville, Fla., but she didn’t. Instead, her commuter flight took an unexpected detour to Jacksonville, Fla., after pilots were erroneously notified that some airport communication systems in Gainesville had stopped working. The airline said these circumstances were beyond its control.
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