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Once, when King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden was flying to the United States on Pan American World Airways, a special request he made caught the crew by surprise. After dinner, the king pushed back his seat, stretched his legs and summoned a flight attendant. And then his majesty asked for a cigar. Pan Am doesn't stock cigars; smoking them on an aircraft is prohibited. But this was no ordinary first-class passenger.
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.
International air travelers will soon join U.S. domestic passengers in paying higher fares because of soaring fuel costs, an international airline trade group said Friday. The world's major airlines agreed to boost ticket prices between 5% and 8% at a three-day meeting in Geneva that ended Friday, the International Air Transport Assn. said in a statement. The higher fares, which are expected to go into effect starting Oct. 1, are subject to government approval in many countries.
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.
After mistakenly sending an 11-year-old girl from Los Angeles to Florida instead of to Detroit, America West Airlines has decided that it will no longer let children fly alone on flights that make en route stops. The Phoenix-based carrier said Thursday that starting Sept. 10, children between 5 and 11 who are flying without adult accompaniment will be booked only on nonstop flights. Children under 5 must be accompanied by an adult.
December 12, 1988 | GARRY ABRAMS, Times Staff Writer
The prospect of six hours without a cigarette still gives James J. Tabacca a twinge--even though his craving for nicotine may mean going to jail. Tabacca, whose last name is the Italian word for tobacco, is the 34-year-old Los Angeles mortician who flew into a legal tangle last Dec. 30 when he became embroiled in a plane-wide dispute over a smoking ban on a transcontinental flight.
December 22, 2009
New rules on delayed flights Under a directive announced by the Transportation Department, starting in April domestic airlines must: Allow passengers to return to the terminal if they have been stranded on the tarmac for more than three hours. The only exceptions are if safety or security reasons prohibit the plane from returning to the gate or if air traffic controllers advise against it. Provide food and water and access to a working bathroom after a plane has been delayed for more than two hours.
January 8, 2002
Re "Airline Defends Banning Bush Guard From Flight," Jan. 4: An Arab American Secret Service agent alleges bias when he attempted to board a flight. Should individuals, even those in law enforcement, be allowed to board an airplane with a firearm? My response is unequivocally, no. The first and obvious problem, as noted by the pilot of the American Airlines flight, is determining the validity of identification. With the large number of police agencies and varying identification documents, can we ask pressured airline security to separate the real from the bogus?
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.
January 23, 2010 | By Hugo Martín
Based on the numbers, America's major airlines are doing a better job of getting us to our destinations on time and with our luggage in tow -- assuming we can get on the flights. Not only is the rate of lost luggage lower than it has been in years, the on-time performance for the nation's biggest airlines reached a record 88.6% in November, the best rate since the Bureau of Transportation Statistics began keeping track of the numbers in 1987. But there is a growing trend that spells trouble for travelers: More passengers are getting bumped from flights.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
May 31, 2013 | By Hugo Martin
A Texas woman who claims she was injured by spilled coffee on a Continental Airlines flight is suing for $170,550. The suit by Lourdes Cervantes asks a U.S. District Court in Houston for a jury trial to seek damages against United Continental Holdings Inc., which took over when Continental merged with United Airlines. In the suit, Cervantes said the incident took place on a flight from Madrid to Newark, N.J., with Houston as the ulimate destination. She claims in the court document that a flight attendant was placing a hot cup of coffee on the seat-back tray in front of her when the passenger in the seat in front reclined, sending the coffee spilling onto her lap. Cervantes said she suffered second-degree burns on the inner thighs, resulting in permanent scarring and disfiguration.
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.
May 22, 2013 | By Terry Gardner
Given a choice between flying next to a crying baby or a smelly passenger, 63% of fliers would choose the crying baby over the stinky seat companion. This was one of several interesting findings of the 2013 EquiTrend Study by Harris Interactive , which in March polled 2,276 adults who agreed to be surveyed.  According to the survey, 58% of fliers who fly once a year or more are willing to pay for extra legroom on a flight of three hours or more, while 33% will pony up fees for more space on less than two-hour flights.
May 16, 2013 | By Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times
Grouse all you want about airline baggage fees, but the numbers don't lie: You are slowly learning to accept them as a painful but necessary part of the flying experience. In fact, the overall satisfaction with air travel has increased to the highest level since 2006, according to the J.D. Power & Associates airline satisfaction study for 2013. On a 1,000-point scale, satisfaction with airlines reached 695 points, up 14 points from 2012, according to the survey of more than 11,800 airline passengers.
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