Here’s a little uncommon sense about traveling in 2015

It’s the time of year when everyone churns out their annual predictions, quoting the same experts on 2015’s travel trends. Or, if they’ve been doing this long enough, they just cite themselves.
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Look out! More nonsense fees are coming in 2014

Aaron Amat/Shutterstock
Aaron Amat/Shutterstock
One dollar.

That’s the surprise fee Karin Melick-Barthelmess saw on her bill for an American Airlines flight from St. Louis to New York. It was listed as an “American Airlines Internet surcharge,” she says.

One dollar may not sound like a lot, but when American businesses in general — and travel companies in particular — build their entire ventures on fees like that, it is a big deal. (American raked in $266 million in ticket change fees and $255 million in baggage fees during the first half of 2013. It’s on track to collect more than $1 billion in fees for the year, with most of them coming in a few dollars at a time.)

Here’s my prediction for 2014: more nonsense fees.
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Why 2010 will be the year of the travel deal

If you thought the travel bargains were unbelievable this year, just wait until 2010.

I’m fully aware that this prediction flies in the face of conventional wisdom. I mean, how many travel experts have you seen on TV lately, warning that the deals are going, going, gone?

They’re everywhere. But they’re probably wrong.
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US Airways, United are closest to the bankruptcy cliff


It’s no secret that the airline industry has seen better days. But how bad is it this time?

Not as bad as the mainstream media would like us to believe, according to airline analyst Robert Herbst, who publishes the Web site And not so good that we shouldn’t be cautious with future bookings, he adds.

In the above chart, you’ll see a few first-quarter numbers for the major airlines as they compare to pre-bankruptcy. None of the airlines are in serious danger of coming close to the dreaded red bar.
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Slow! Slow! Slow! Slow! Slow!

A slow summer? They predicted that last year and they’re predicting it again this year. They may be right, finally.

We know, for example, that planes are flying slower in order to save fuel. We also know that motorists are driving slower — if not safer — because our government told us so. (It also informed us we were “not invincible.” Maybe it should take its own advice, at least when it comes to Iraq … but I digress.)

We’re getting pressure from all kinds of special interest groups to step on the brakes. The latest is the Governors Highway Safety Association, which today reminded us that slowing down will not only reduce the amount of money we have to spend on gas, but also could save our lives.

Wow, really?

I wouldn’t be surprise to see my friends at AAA make some reference to the summer of slow when it releases its Memorial Day forecast for travel tomorrow. After all, slow is hot.

I wonder how many travelers are interested in being trendy this summer, which is to say, getting there fashionably late?

Any takers?