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BUSINESS
March 2, 2014 | By Hugo Martin
A food fight is breaking out in the airline industry. Airline seats and fares are so indistinguishable among the nation's major airlines that carriers often try to promote other services - such as onboard entertainment, food or airport lounges - to win over new passengers. “It's always been a fight for airlines to decommoditize what is largely a commodity,” said Seth Kaplan, a managing partner of the trade magazine Airline Weekly. Take for example, Virgin America, the California-based airline that recently announced a posh new menu for first-class fliers.
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BUSINESS
March 16, 2014 | By Hugo Martin
Legislation that would let airlines advertise fares without adding in fees and taxes has the support of - you guessed it - the nation's airline industry. The bill introduced March 6 by Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) and Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) would negate a rule adopted in 2011 by the U.S. Department of Transportation that requires airlines to advertise the full cost of tickets, including fees and taxes. The Department of Transportation has already fined the nation's airlines thousand of dollars over the last three years for violating the so-called full-fare advertising rule.
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BUSINESS
March 3, 2013 | By Hugo Martin
Airline fees are among the most annoying aspect of commercial flying, but the biggest gripes among passengers are uncomfortable seats and tight legroom. That was one of the key findings of the latest survey of more than 2,000 people in the U.S. by the travel review site TripAdvisor.com. After uncomfortable seats and hefty passenger fees, the travelers who were surveyed said unpredictable flight delays, long security lines and obnoxious passengers were the biggest annoyances. The most irritating fees, according to the survey, are charges to check bags, carry bags into the cabin, upgrade to a better seat, print a boarding pass and buy in-flight extras.
BUSINESS
March 2, 2014 | By Hugo Martin
A food fight is breaking out in the airline industry. Airline seats and fares are so indistinguishable among the nation's major airlines that carriers often try to promote other services - such as onboard entertainment, food or airport lounges - to win over new passengers. “It's always been a fight for airlines to decommoditize what is largely a commodity,” said Seth Kaplan, a managing partner of the trade magazine Airline Weekly. Take for example, Virgin America, the California-based airline that recently announced a posh new menu for first-class fliers.
BUSINESS
February 19, 2012 | By Hugo Martin
The latest federal statistics that measure the performance of the nation's airlines offered some good news for passengers and some bad. First the good news: In 2011, the airlines set new records for the lowest rate of lost or mishandled baggage and the lowest rate of passengers bumped from overbooked flights. In 2011, the department received 3.39 reports of mishandled bags per 1,000 passengers, the lowest rate since the Transportation Department began keeping track of lost bag reports in 1988.
WORLD
December 5, 2013 | By Barbara Demick and Yuriko Nagano
TOKYO -- Although she is a seasoned traveler who frequently flies the route between Tokyo and Hong Kong, Kazuyo Ito confessed to some preflight anxiety as she checked in Thursday for Japan Airlines Flight 29. "It is a little scary," said the 59-year-old housewife, when asked about China's threat to stop aircraft that refuse to identify themselves when flying through a large swath of the East China Sea. FOR THE RECORD: China air...
NEWS
September 16, 1990 | Associated Press
Continental Airlines passengers who travel through Newark International Airport will be offered free stationery and postage to write troops in the Middle East. "We're hoping a lot of people will take time between their coffee and boarding to jot a little note," Continental spokeswoman Andrea Pass said. The airline says 35,000 passengers travel through the Newark airport each day on its planes.
BUSINESS
December 22, 2009 | By Hugo Martín and Kim Geiger
Responding to horror stories of stranded passengers, federal regulators say they will begin levying hefty fines on airlines that leave travelers grounded in planes on the tarmac without food, water or the option to disembark. The new regulations, announced Monday by U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, require airlines to provide access to bathrooms as well as food and water on domestic flights within two hours of a delay. After three hours, passengers must be offered a chance to disembark.
OPINION
December 29, 2009 | By Scott Nason
The Times' Dec. 22 editorial on the federal government's rule requiring airliners that sit on the tarmac for more than three hours to disembark passengers was surprisingly astute -- surprising because the sensible observations and conclusions that The Times expressed have been so rarely understood or articulated in this emotion-charged debate. Ever since a very few but very public events -- in December 2006, February 2007 and then one flight this past summer in Rochester, Minn. -- many have made "fixing" this problem a cause celebre.
NEWS
August 29, 1998 | From Times Wire Services
Passengers on commercial airlines can now check in a can of Mace or pepper spray with their luggage, but they face penalties if they carry the self-defense spray on board with them, the Federal Aviation Administration said Friday. The agency adjusted its regulations in response to numerous requests from flight crew members and passengers who said they want a means of self-protection once they arrive at their destinations.
BUSINESS
December 16, 2013 | By Hugo Martín
If you are a parent who lets your children scream and go nuts on a plane, congratulations - you top the list of most annoying etiquette violators in the air. Parents who travel with loud children are considered more annoying than passengers who kick the in front of them and travelers with foul odors. Even fliers who take off their shoes and socks in the air-tight cabin are less offensive, according to a survey of 1,001 Americans by the travel website Expedia. Annoying children and their parents were ranked by 41% of those surveyed as the most annoying airplane etiquette violators.
WORLD
December 5, 2013 | By Barbara Demick and Yuriko Nagano
TOKYO -- Although she is a seasoned traveler who frequently flies the route between Tokyo and Hong Kong, Kazuyo Ito confessed to some preflight anxiety as she checked in Thursday for Japan Airlines Flight 29. "It is a little scary," said the 59-year-old housewife, when asked about China's threat to stop aircraft that refuse to identify themselves when flying through a large swath of the East China Sea. FOR THE RECORD: China air...
NEWS
November 22, 2013 | By Jon Healey
Giving voice to the outrage felt by many, my colleague Paul Whitefield blasted the Federal Communications Commission for considering a new rule that would allow airline passengers to use their cellphones in flight.  "Now I may have to hear the Valley girl on my left and the punk rocker on my right describe their BFF who's so LOL and their bitchin' night in Vegas? I'm gonna have to hear Grandpa Earl regale his kid with stories of his prostate problems?" an exasperated Whitefield (although that may be redundant)
BUSINESS
October 31, 2013 | By Hugo Martín and W.J. Hennigan
Score one for the weary air traveler. Ever-increasing baggage fees, vanishing leg room and invasive security screening measures have made air travel hellish for millions of passengers. Now the government is giving fliers more screen time with their gadgets. The Federal Aviation Administration announced Thursday that it will ease restrictions on the use of portable electronic devices during takeoffs and landings. Within a few weeks, travelers will be able to operate their iPads, Kindles and even smartphones throughout a commercial flight, though phone calls will still be banned.
BUSINESS
October 13, 2013 | By Hugo Martin
An arms race is heating up among airlines battling to lure passengers with a taste for luxury. Etihad Airways fired a volley in the war recently when it announced that it is offering the services of nannies and onboard chefs on long-haul flights from Los Angeles. The chefs will serve made-to-order meals only for customers in the “diamond first class” seats, but the “Flying Nannies” will help clean, pamper and entertain children throughout the plane. “It's all about how to differentiate yourself for regular travelers,” Etihad president and chief executive James Hogan said about the new services.
BUSINESS
July 14, 2013 | By Hugo Martin
With Madrid-based Iberia Airlines, you can now bag it and tag it yourself. The airline claims it is the only carrier to let passengers print out luggage tags at home. Seattle-based Alaska Airlines tested the idea of home tagging for passengers flying from Seattle to Hawaii last year but has not continued the program. Alaska, along with several other carriers, lets passengers print out luggage tags from airport kiosks. Iberia passengers can print their luggage tags at home and download their boarding passes onto their smartphones.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 28, 1999
A passenger on a weekend flight to Atlanta has been ordered held in custody on charges of assaulting four people. Hung Cong Duong, 30, of Vietnam was held after his arraignment Monday afternoon in Las Vegas. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Aug. 6. FBI spokesman Kevin Caudle said Duong was on a Delta flight from Los Angeles to Atlanta early Saturday when he became upset that a flight attendant would not serve him before other passengers.
BUSINESS
January 29, 2001 | From Reuters
Citing record delays and a sharp increase in complaints, leading Senate advocates for better airline service are unimpressed with industry efforts to voluntarily resolve consumer problems and plan to introduce legislation today to ensure passenger rights. "The airlines have had their chance," said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) in an interview about a yearlong industry initiative to boost service in key areas, including providing information on fares, scheduling and delays.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 6, 2013 | By Harriet Ryan, Shelby Grad and Carlos Lozano
San Francisco International Airport was closed after a Boeing 777 operated by Asiana Airlines crashed while landing on Saturday. It's unknown when the airport will reopen. Photos taken by a passenger on the plane shows people on the runway with smoke coming from the aircraft. In a brief phone interview, a passenger from the flight who didn't want to give his name told the Los Angeles Times that most of the passengers on the flight were unharmed. “I just want their families to know,” he said.
BUSINESS
June 3, 2013 | By Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times
The "nude scanners" are gone. The full-body scanners that used X-rays to create what look like nude images of passengers have been packed away and removed from airports across the country. The 250 or so machines were removed about two weeks ago, before the June 1 deadline set by Congress. But privacy advocates aren't satisfied, noting that the Transportation Security Administration is still using full-body scanners that employ a different technology. "They've never made a case that these scanners are better than using metal detectors or swabs to detect the use of explosives," said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a research center that sued the TSA in 2010 over the use of all full-body scanners.
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