Airlines claim passengers are overtaxed — but are they?

To say that air travelers spend as much time complaining about fees and surcharges as they do flying might not be much of an exaggeration. And now the airline industry wants you to add another complaint to that list: taxes.
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The EU passenger rights law that won’t help you

Are the EU rules enough for passengers? (Elliott/Flickr)
Here’s another episode in the “Our Lawyers Interpret EU 261 Differently” drama that has been playing itself out on this site since the controversial European passenger-rights law passed in 2004.
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Which airline passengers drive you the craziest?

As any new parent knows, air travel with young kids isn’t always easy. But few experiences come close to the Suelings’ Thanksgiving flight from Westchester County to Atlanta on Delta Air Lines.

After the family boarded, their children, ages 3 and 1 1/2, began “crying, screaming and hitting,” according to Christopher Sueling. His wife, Melissa, tried to calm her baby by nursing her, but it didn’t work.

“The flight attendants were just standing there, looking pissed off,” he says.

The jet taxied out to the runway, but then stopped and returned to the gate. The Suelings were told to get off the plane and that they needed to write to Delta if they wanted their money back. They even took a snapshot (see image, above) to document their ejection.
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Why won’t airlines cover stolen computers?

Here’s a question I get all the time: Why won’t an airline cover a lost or damaged computer in my checked luggage?

My answer is always the same: because!

Well, it’s been that way since the Wright Brothers flew a kite at Kitty Hawk. Every airline contract specifically says it doesn’t cover lost or stolen electronics, among other things.

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Passenger forced to stand for a seven-hour airline flight

At nearly seven hours, US Airways flight 901 is one of the longest domestic nonstop airline flights. And Arthur Berkowitz knows how long it takes to get from Anchorage to Philadelphia down to the minute. That’s because he says he had to stand for most of the flight when he returned to Philly last July.

Why would anyone stand for that long? Because he says a morbidly obese passenger seated next to him was spilling into his personal space, making it impossibly to sit in his assigned seat, and the flight was completely full.

“I didn’t fly from Alaska to Philadelphia on flight 901,” he says. “I stood.”

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Here we go again! Another tarmac stranding incident — beware of outraged talking heads on TV

It seemed eerily familiar: A JetBlue aircraft, a freak storm, passengers stranded on an aircraft for hours — and all happened near the media capital of the world.

Except that it wasn’t Valentines Day 2007, the infamous ice storm that cost JetBlue its golden reputation, made a small-minded mainstream media obsessed with tarmac delays and led to tough but largely unnecessary new government rules on tarmac delays.

It was happening right now, in real time.
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TSA watch: Are screeners preying on sick passengers?

The latest TSA horror story comes by way of Lori Dorn, a human resources consultant in New York.

Dorn, a breast cancer patient, was flying to San Francisco, when she was pulled aside by a TSA agent and told she would have to undergo a pat-down.

“I told her that I was not comfortable with having my breasts touched and that I had a card in my wallet that explains the type of expanders, serial numbers and my doctor’s information and asked to retrieve it,” she explains on her blog. “This request was denied.”
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Do-good passenger slams elite seatmate in open letter

minneapolis airport“I’m sorry your Silver Elite status on Northwest Airlines didn’t qualify you for a first-class upgrade on your recent flight from New York to Minneapolis,” Kevin Winge quips. “All of us, your fellow passengers, shared in the incredulity you expressed so vocally to the gate agent when informed that you would be flying coach.”

Winge is the executive director of Open Arms of Minnesota, a nonprofit organization that provides nutritious meals to people living with diseases, so he knows a thing or two about entitlement. And I think he’s succeeded in writing an open letter that could apply to every annoying airline passenger we’ve ever shared a plane with.
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