The Carnival Breeze blew out of port without us

Laura Filippi and her daughters boarded their Southwest flight thinking they had plenty of time to arrive in Florida and board the Carnival Breeze for their seven-day cruise.

After all, it is just a two-hour-and-35-minute flight from Baltimore to Ft. Lauderdale. Normally, that would be totally adequate. But when their plane developed mechanical issues, the whole schedule went awry.

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Southwest goes the extra mile to return a library book

Jon Clahan thought his recent flight from Indianapolis to Dallas, the first leg of his Caribbean vacation, would be a good opportunity to catch up on his reading.

Little did he know he was about to lose a library book – and that, thanks to the airline, his reading would catch up with him.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.
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Is this enough compensation? My Rapid Rewards expired and I can’t get them back

Rachel Cabarcas’s timing isn’t the best. No, not because she has an expired awards problem she’s sharing with us today, but because if she’d waited a little longer, then this probably wouldn’t have been a problem.

And what, exactly, is the problem? Her Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards are no longer valid, and she’d like them back.

As some of you probably know, Rapid Rewards no longer expire. But they used to.
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Frequent flier program changes you can root for

If you’ve ever asked what the fuss over frequent-flier programs is about, then you know that the answer can be complicated.

Airlines love them because they’re worth billions of dollars in business. They also mean the world to many passengers, because at a time when airline amenities are evaporating faster than jet fuel spilled on a hot tarmac, perks such as upgrades and preferential treatment are just about the only things that make air travel tolerable.

So when two major airlines recently decided to upgrade their loyalty programs, they caught this skeptic’s attention.

Delta Air Lines has eliminated the expirations on its frequent-flier miles. And Southwest Airlines has completely revamped its legendary Rapid Rewards, adopting many of the features of competing incentive programs.

The response from customers offers fresh insights into the volatile relationship between air travelers and airlines, but it also presents us with new opportunities to fly smarter.
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Weekend survey: Do maintenance problems make you reluctant to fly?

Do Southwest Airlines’ recent maintenance problems, which led to widespread aircraft inspections, make you think twice about flying?

If you’ve been paying attention to some of the media coverage (and how can you not?) you might be forgiven for thinking the sky is falling. Or, at least, that planes are falling out of the sky.

Truth is, no one has died — yet.
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Buh-bye, bag fees? What the Southwest-AirTran merger really means for passengers

This morning’s big news — some observers have even called it “shocking” — is that discount carriers Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways are headed to the altar in a $1.4 billion merger.

I’ve already received numerous questions about what this will mean for passengers. The answer? It’s a good news/bad news situation, probably.

But let’s begin with a short video (above) from earlier this year, when Southwest took aim at AirTran for its baggage fees. This was part of a series of commercials in which Southwest tweaked its bride-to-be. Funny, how things change. They must have known back then that a merger was a possibility. And yet …
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Are baggage fees turning us all into Southwest passengers?

clip0001One of the most compelling arguments against excessive luggage fees is that they were actually hurting the airlines’ bottom line — that by adding these extras, travelers were turning to carriers like Southwest and JetBlue, which don’t charge for the first checked bag.

But it turns out that’s not true.

Airline analyst Robert Herbst, who runs the site, reviewed the data and found baggage fees haven’t hurt legacy airlines. In fact, Southwest may be hurting itself by not charging more fees.

“Southwest has attempted to use their no-fee policy in media advertisement to entice passengers away from their ‘charge-for-everything’ competitors,” he says. “Some industry commentators have suggested these ancillary fees are pushing traffic from the old legacy airlines over to Southwest.”
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And the award for most irresponsible airline goes to …

United Airlines, according to Green America a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to creating a socially just and environmentally sustainable society.

The Chicago-based airline came in eighth place, earning a “C-” for its human rights record, “Ds” for its labor and ethics and governance practices and an “F” for its environmental policies.

Southwest Airlines took the top spot, although its grades are nothing to write home about, either: straight “Cs” with the exception of a “B+” for its environmental practices.

So what did the airlines do to deserve this?
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