Let’s ban emotional-support animals from the skies

Is it time to ground emotional-support animals for good?
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Should we ban overweight passengers?

Fact: one-third of Americans are obese.

Fact: No subject on this site is more incendiary — none — than overweight air travelers.

Also a fact: On my last road trip, I gained a few pounds. Well, more than a few. So now I’m not just a tall guy, I’m also a big guy. My next flight is going to be a squeeze unless I start dieting now.
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It’s time to ban the hotel minibar once and for all

Evgeny Korshenkov/Shutterstock
Evgeny Korshenkov/Shutterstock

If shelling out $10 for a small bag of M&Ms makes you feel a little scammed, then you’ll love the hotel industry’s latest trend: closing its in-room minibars.

Those tiny refrigerators, armed with sensors that seem to detect when you gaze longingly at the overpriced Pringles or chilled Diet Cokes, are doing a disappearing act. It’s about time.

During the latest round of hotel renovations, these so-called guest “conveniences” are reportedly being unplugged and unceremoniously wheeled away at a growing number of hotels. For example, when the Hilton Riverside in New Orleans upgraded its guest rooms last year, the minibars were shown the door and replaced by regular refrigerators. Some Hyatt properties, including the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Gainey Ranch, did away with theirs years ago.

But did they go far enough? Simply carting away these money traps, one by one, won’t work.
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Who would you ban from your car this summer?

lev radin / Shutterstock.com
lev radin / Shutterstock.com
I can’t remember the last time I asked you for help mediating one of my own disputes. But I could use a little help with this one.

We’re on a three-week road trip from Orlando to Philadelphia, with stops in the Florida Panhandle (we’re currently at the Holiday Inn Resort here) Atlanta and Washington. It’s all of us — two adults, three kids ages 6, 8 and 11.

Our “banned” list already includes any food that crumbles, particularly cookies and crackers. Our Hertz rental car would look like a federal disaster area, otherwise. There’s also a moratorium on loud toys, like my daughter’s stuffed bear that belts out Take Me Out to the Ballgame.

But we can’t agree on the music.
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Pet policy spat reveals fliers’ distrust of airlines

Can I come to Mexico? Pleeeeze? / Photo by Mindy - Flickr
Perrito is a 4-year-old terrier from Yelapa, Mexico, who’s proud of having made it to “El Norte” with his human companions, Raoul and Baerbel Schuhmacher. At least that’s what his Facebook page says.
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Oh, did I hurt your feelings?

Although I consider “reader mail” posts a journalistic cop-out — a favorite tool of lazy columnists who can’t think of anything else to write — I’m willing to make an exception today.

During the last few weeks, we’ve had a spirited debate about annoying air travelers. It started with the remarkable story of a passenger who was forced to stand on a cross-country flight. Then I asked you to vote on the person you don’t want to sit next to on a flight. And finally, we had a little run-off election between the top two categories: XL passengers and babies.

Along the way, it seems, I offended some of you.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been accused of ruffling a few feathers. But it’s usually a clueless airline or greedy hotel that’s ticked off, and isn’t making them squirm my job as a consumer advocate?

I don’t really want to offend my readers. But sometimes I can’t help myself.
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Who would you rather ban from the plane: jumbo passengers — or junior?

It’s come down to this: The two most annoying airline passenger types in the world are travelers who can’t fit in their seat and screaming babies, at least according to you.

Don’t you think it’s time for a runoff election?

In case you’re wondering how we got here — other than the fact that this Wednesday feature is called “That’s ridiculous!” — here’s the backstory: Last month, my editor and I got into a discussion on Twitter about annoying passengers. We asked for nominations and whittled it down to a few finalists. The top two were kids and XL fliers, and so here we are.
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Ridiculous or not? Let’s ban babies in first class once and for all

Should an airline’s first class section be adults-only? Ask passengers like James Armstrong, and you’ll hear a compelling reason for keeping babies in the back — if not off the plane entirely.

“I was on a flight from Bangkok to Beijing,” he remembers. “Royal Thai Airways.”

Just to set the stage, this is what Thai’s first class section looks like. Nice, huh?

Anyway, there was this German couple with two young children seated a few rows away. “One of the children was running about, loud and disruptive.”

And sick.
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Can things get any worse for the TSA?

To say the TSA just had a bad week would be a lot like saying Muammar Gaddafi is dealing with a little opposition in Libya.

And how.

This week’s TSA shenanigans are almost too bad to be true. I take absolutely no pleasure in reporting them, because after all, this agency is supposed to be protecting us when we travel.
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