Banks, airlines deserve no credit for card tricks

cardkeysOn second thought, maybe you should leave home without it.

For years, I’ve been telling travelers to pay with plastic and so have my buddies in the vacation punditry business.

Credit cards protect you from unscrupulous travel agents and tour operators. They hold companies accountable for substandard cruises, flights and hotel rooms. Plus, you can rack up more frequent-flier miles than you’ll ever be able to spend.

But what if the very payment system everyone swears by was quietly helping itself to your money, a few bucks at a time, when you travel? What if companies were quietly tacking new fees onto your bill when you were away?

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Tarmac delays ground the fight for passenger rights

The approach of cold-weather season reminds me of tarmac delays.

Like the Northwest Airlines flights grounded during a 1999 blizzard at Detroit’s Metro Airport, leaving passengers without water or working toilets for more than seven hours. Or the JetBlue Airways customers stranded for nearly half a day during an ice storm in New York back in 2007.

But what if those were the only memories that cold weather evoked?

No skiing. No eggnog. No chestnuts roasting on the open fire. That would be absurd, wouldn’t it?

No more absurd than what has happened to the “passenger rights movement.” In the past few months, a series of headline-grabbing tarmac delays has helped a couple of influential lobbyists convince the media and a few elected officials that tarmac delays are the No. 1 passenger rights problem in America.

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