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No Labor Day Pilot Strike
Pilots for American Airlines say "don't worry" about your Labor Day travel
plans. Even though talks reached an impasse this week over pilots' wages
following the American-Reno Air merger, the Allied Pilots Association says
its members won't repeat their February sick-out. Now, talks have stalled
again. But the pilots say the differences can be worked out and they're
meeting with the airline next week.
New F.A.A. Bad Weather Policy
Labor strife is one reason for delay, but this summer it's mostly bad
weather holding up flights. And this week, the F.A.A. took action...it's
changing parts of their bad weather policy to help planes get up and down
more quickly. What's the biggest difference you're likely to see? Well,
from now on, air traffic control will give passengers estimated departure
times when a flight's held on the ground. That's expected to start
happening over the next several weeks.
Remember when getting away from it all meant leaving that polluted city
behind? Well, not anymore. According to environmental groups, many vacation
spots have worse ozone problems than nearby cities. Take Cape Cod. Midway
through the summer, the Cape had 11 dirty air days...but Boston tallied
only four. Nevertheless, Jayne Mardock of the Clean Air Network says, this
shouldn't keep you at home.
Mardock: "The message is not 'don't go on vacation,' the message is, you
know, we have a pretty national problem here and we need to have national
solutions to clean up the air. Because we should be able to go to the Cape
Cod and have it be clean and pristine and it isn't right now."
You can link to the dirty air report at www.cleanair.net. Mardock also
recommends www.epa.gov/airnow for real-time ozone reports across the United
States and www.nescaum.org for
detailed information on the northeast U.S.
Frequent Flyer News
And there's more good news for frequent flyers this week. United Airlines
is removing most expirations dates on miles for its Milage Plus members.
American recently did the same for its customers. But with United...if you
take two domestic flights or one international trip by the end of the year,
they'll reinstate all your expired miles from last year. But don't forget
to call United first and let them know what you're up to.
Cell Phones on Planes?
And finally, just weeks after a British Airways passenger was arrested in
England for using his cell phone, American Airlines has decided it's
okay...sometimes. Now, you can use a cell phone or two-way pager...but only
while the plane is parked at the gate.
And that's this week's Travel Update.
by Cheryl Glaser
Hepatitis A Alert
Hundreds of motorists on the East Coast may have been exposed to hepatitis
A. An infected worker at the Texas Steakhouse on Interstate 95 near
Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina handled food and may have passed the
disease on to as many as 2000 travelers over the weekends of July 31st and
Customs Delay Relief
International travelers know delays are routine at customs checks...and for
those pulled out of line and searched, the wait can last many hours. But
starting October first, agents must first convince a federal magistrate in
order to hold a traveler more than four hours. If you're cleared of
suspicion, customs officials promise to help you back on your way.
New Baggage Scanners
And while suspicious people are getting new treatment, the Federal Aviation
Administration is worried that suspicious luggage is not. A new technology
designed to scan baggage is going unused at major airports. Airlines say
the equipment is too slow. But the F.A.A. wants the machines to scan as
much as 20 percent of all airport luggage.