Here’s why showing up at the gate just 15 minutes before takeoff is a bad idea

When Stephen Oualline and his daughter arrived at the gate in Kona, Hawaii, for their Alaska Airlines trip San Diego, they were told that the plane had already departed. After a rebooking and an unplanned overnight in Oakland, Calif., Oualline wanted the airline to reimburse him for the money he spent to get them home, but it refused. Now he wants us to help him — but can we?

Minimum airline seat standards gain momentum after surprise court ruling

As any commercial airline passenger who had to contort her body into a economy class seat knows, airline seat pitch — a rough measure of legroom — has shrunk over the last several decades, from an average of 35 inches to as little as 28 inches. Seat width has been reduced from an average of 18.5 inches to 17 inches.

Can you help me get $100,000 for my “near-fatal” in-flight injury?

When Mai Le contacted us concerning her recent “near-fatal’ injury on Hawaiian Airlines, we were surprised to hear that the airline appeared to be unsympathetic to her plight. We suspected there was more to the story — and that was a correct assumption.

How are airlines stopping the spread of Swine Flu on planes? (Hint: Begins with “p” and rhymes with “hell”)

It looks as if the airlines have no intention of loosening their inflexible change fee requirements to prevent a Swine Flu outbreak on planes. The Federal Aviation Administration has confirmed that it has begun testing hand sanitizers for flammability, and at least one source close to the agency says carriers intend to deploy bottles of the gel on their planes as flu season gets underway.

FAA official: “No mention whatsoever of the possibility that Billy Mays wasn’t wearing a seatbelt”

Laura Brown is the acting assistant administrator for communications at the Federal Aviation Administration. After the death of Billy Mays yesterday, she was quoted as saying the TV pitchman wasn’t wearing a seatbelt on a plane that made an emergency landing. I asked her about the interview and the importance of seatbelts.

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