With everyone is saying “Thank you” today, what better time to think about what comes next?
In this season of gratitude, American consumers are feeling left out in the cold.
And with good reason.
“Consumers to businesses: Thanks for nothing!”
What annoys you the most about air travel?
Is it the chaos that awaits when you pull up to the curb at the airport terminal this time of year? How about the indignity of being screened by the TSA? Or maybe just knowing that you’re paying more but getting so much less?
Now take a deep breath and say it with me: “Thank you.”
As we approach Thanksgiving, I, for one, am feeling grateful.
So is Mary Jo Baas, a consultant from Milwaukee. She sees the upside in the deep cuts in services and amenities, particularly in economy class.
“Hey airlines, thanks for nothing!”
Next week is one of the busiest of the year for air travel. And the last thing you probably want to see at the airport when you fly home for Thanksgiving is a long line — especially one that’s preventable.
“5 reasons I’m opting out of the TSA’s scanners (and you should, too)”
TSA Administrator John Pistole was busy making the rounds during Thanksgiving week, trying to assure holiday air travelers that their screening experience would be better than last year.
Which it was, thankfully.
That’s probably because the agency backed off some of its more absurd practices, like forcing children to take off their shoes. (Ever heard of a two-year-old shoe bomber? Neither have I. Richard Reid was 29 when he tried to take down an American Airlines flight to Miami.)
“TSA Watch: Pistole tries to soothe holiday travelers as agency silences gun talk”
Today is, by some estimates, the busiest air travel day of the year. Here’s what to expect if you’re flying.
No significant delays have been reported yet, although there are a few potential challenges that you should know about.
“Holiday air travelers coming home today — here’s what to expect”
The TSA body-scan/pat-down crisis isn’t over — yet.
Yes, National-Opt Out Day is history, with both sides incorrectly declaring victory. But this Sunday is just as busy as Wednesday, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. (By some estimates, it is the busiest travel day of the year.)
“TSA trouble: It’s not over yet”
How do you survive what, even under ideal circumstances, is a dreadful day to be flying?
“How to survive a flight on National Opt-Out Day”
Flying somewhere this Thanksgiving? You might want to read this first.
This probably isn’t going to be like past Thanksgivings.
• The full-body scanners issue hit a critical mass this morning when a technology blog released images taken from one of the machines in Orlando and obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. People are upset about the pictures.
• The controversy over the new pat-down procedures for those who refuse to be scanned also climaxed this morning when Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told a newspaper, “if people want to travel by some other means,” they have that right. In other words, don’t fly if you don’t want to be patted down or scanned.
• TSA didn’t exactly help when it announced it will formally investigate John Tyner, the San Diego-area passenger who who left Lindbergh Field under duress on Saturday morning after refusing to undertake a full body scan. TSA says the investigation could lead to prosecution and civil penalties of up to $11,000.
• AAA added fuel to the fire when it predicted a double-digit increase in the number of Thanksgiving travelers. It projects the number of Americans traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday will increase 11.4 percent from 2009, with approximately 42.2 million travelers taking a trip at least 50 miles away from home. (Fortunately, 94 percent of these trips will be by car.) Separately, the Air Transport Association has said it expects 24 million air travelers this Thanksgiving, up 3.5 percent from a year ago.
I’ve also just learned that several consumer rights activists, including Ralph Nader, have taken a stand against the new body scans and pat-downs, raising the possibility that even more air travelers will participate in Opt-Out Day on Nov. 24, when passengers are being asked to refuse to walk through the machines.
If even a small number of air travelers turn down the scans on Nov. 24, which is one of the busiest travel days of the year, it could significantly slow an already overburdened air transportation system — maybe even bring it to a standstill.
What to do?
“Thanksgiving air travel disaster!”
Booking a flight online may be convenient, but it’s far from problem-free. Just ask Charles Bornheim, whose son is holding an extra airline ticket he booked through Orbitz.
Bornheim is trying to get a refund, but is having no luck. Airlines can be pretty unforgiving with their refund policies, and at some point when you’re booking online, you have to take responsibility for your own actions.
But is this a case where no one is really to blame — and should I try to help him secure a refund?
“Can this trip be saved? My 17-year-old booked a ticket on Orbitz — actually, two tickets”