Is this really an “extraordinary” circumstance, Norwegian Air?

Normally, someone like Camille Burgan wouldn’t care what is, or isn’t, an “extraordinary” circumstance.

But, as you probably guessed, this isn’t a normal situation. Burgan is embroiled in an EU 261-related dispute, and there’s money at stake — roughly $1,200.

When is the best time to book your vacation?

When’s the right time to book your next vacation? At the peak of travel-planning season, that’s a common question. This is the time of year when everything from holiday trips to spring-break cruises are being pulled together. But the best answer — besides a noncommittal “it depends” — usually is “as soon as possible.”

Salt Lake City acquires a new taste for adventure. Have a bite.

This sure doesn’t feel like Salt Lake City.

My kids had no idea what that meant when I said that as we were strolling the streets of Utah’s capital. They weren’t here decades ago when I saw the old Salt Lake City, a less vibrant and interesting place than the one they were experiencing.

How to tell if you have a qualified travel agent

Yarisa Smith knows she has a good travel agent.

“He’s made cruises and European trips special,” says Smith, a manufacturer’s representative from Dallas. “His itineraries and attention to detail have made every trip flawless. He’s even managed to successfully intervene when acts of God have waylaid my plans.”

Yet you might not know by looking at Clark Mitchell, who works for Dallas-based Strong Travel, whether he’s the real deal. Yes, his agency is cited as a source for its travel expertise by mainstream news outlets. It also prominently lists its membership in Virtuoso, an exclusive travel agency consortium.

But until now, there’s been no instantly recognized certification that says an agent is legit. That may be about to change.

The DOT has fined fewer airlines this year. Should you be worried?

If it seems as if airlines are getting away with more passenger-unfriendly behavior, maybe it’s because they are.

The Aviation Consumer Protection Division of the Department of Transportation (DOT), which is responsible for enforcing federal consumer-protection regulations, is on track to punish significantly fewer airlines this year, issuing 18 consent orders for $3.1 million in civil penalties. By comparison, the DOT had 29 orders worth $6.4 million for 2016, which included a $1.6 million fine against American Airlines for violating its tarmac delay rules handed down in mid-December. Barring a last-minute flurry of penalties, 2017 will be a much quieter year for the department.

In time for the holidays, a seasonal primer on luggage etiquette

It’s the season of the squeeze.

That should require absolutely no explanation, but just in case: Picture thousands of stressed-out holiday travelers in airport terminals, train stations and bus terminals, bundled up in winter clothing, all piling into a claustrophobia-inducing cattle-class cabin.

With luggage.

Is your blood pressure rising yet? Mine, too.

This search engine for fare errors could be the worst idea ever

Burying the news is a time-honored tradition in American journalism. Just wait until the day before a major holiday to share information someone is reluctant to publicize, like a CEO resignation or a company “restructuring,” and hopefully no one will notice.

So when I saw the press release about an airline “error fare search engine” launching just a few hours before the American Thanksgiving holiday, I suspected someone was trying to deep-six the news.

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