E-devices on planes could soon be OK, even on takeoff

Published: Monday, September 23, 2013 @ 6:32 PM
Updated: Monday, September 23, 2013 @ 6:32 PM

Don’t you hate that part of flying when you have to turn off your iPods, video games and everything else electronic? Well, as soon as next year, that might come to an end. The FAA is considering scaling back how many electronic devices are banned during the takeoff and landing of an aircraft.

 

The FAA is expected to give approval to use of e-books, DVD players, music players and video game systems below 10,000 feet. But, cell phones and WiFi are expected to stay on the restricted list. (Via Wikimedia Commons / Aero Icarus)

The FAA’s ban on electronic devices has come under a lot of criticism lately.

And while airlines have reported instances of electronic devices interfering with cockpit instruments, according to The New York Times:

“ ... the evidence is largely anecdotal, and regulators have never been able to establish conclusively that electronic devices interfered with flight instruments.”

 So what’s the real reason behind the ban? The Huffington Post reports:

“ ... the FAA requires airlines to conduct tests to prove that any device allowed for use is safe — but since there are so many different phones, tablets and laptops coming out every year, it’s been easier just to ban them altogether.”

 So is it just a case of “better safe than sorry?” CBS News national transportation safety expert Mark Rosenker told CBS ‘This Morning’ probably, but not when it comes to cell phones.

“Well that really is an issue, not just because potentially it could create interference with navigational devices, but we do know according to the FCC that it could interfere with cell phone towers when they’re in the air.”

The FAA panel is meeting on the issue this week and is expected to submit its recommendations by the end of the month.

The least and most affordable places to spend your holiday vacation

Published: Monday, October 16, 2017 @ 2:30 PM

Southwest Airlines Is Finally Traveling to Hawaii

As the song goes, there’s no place like home for the holidays. But if you prefer to get away, there are plenty of cheap holiday trips you can take.

To help you pinpoint where to spend your Thanksgiving or Christmas without breaking your budget, GOBankingRates looked at six factors in popular destinations: the cost of hotels, holiday flights, food, drinks, transportation and entertainment. Read on to learn about the best and worst places to visit during the holidays.

Least affordable places to visit during the holidays

If you’re looking for cheap Christmas vacations or Thanksgiving getaways, cross these cities off your list of prospective destinations. We found that visiting these places can put a big dent in your budget during the holidays.

Honolulu

Honolulu is one of the most expensive tourist destinations in the U.S. Winter is the peak tourist season, making it one of the least affordable places to visit during the holidays. During Christmas, the average nightly hotel rate is $241 — the third-highest among the most expensive places in our rankings.

Flights aren’t cheap, either, but you’ll actually find lower fares during Christmas than Thanksgiving.

» Fido’s first trip: Disney visitors can bring dogs to some Walt Disney World hotels

Kihei, Hawaii

This city on the southwest shore of the Hawaiian island of Maui offers great beaches and surfing. It’s not a cheap place to visit for the holidays, however.

Lodging is especially expensive during Christmas, when the average nightly hotel rate jumps to $362 from $190 during Thanksgiving. In fact, Kihei has the second-highest lodging costs during the holidays in our rankings.

You’ll also have to shell out more for food here than in most other cities on our list. At $44, the average daily cost of meals makes Kihei the fourth-least affordable on our list.

Sydney

Christmas might seem like an ideal time to visit Sydney because it’s actually summer in this Australian city south of the equator. But December is peak tourist season here, which means prices are higher and crowds are bigger.

The cost of traveling to Sydney is what puts the city among the most expensive holiday destinations on our list. The average fare for a flight from Atlanta during Christmas is $2,666, with the average Christmas flights from Los Angeles costing $1,609.

» Warning: State Department discouraging travel to Cancun, Los Cabos

Park City, Utah

If you want to visit a world-class ski resort during the holidays, Park City, Utah, might be at the top of your list. Winter is peak season in this haven for skiers, who relish the city’s annual snowfall of 300 inches to 400 inches. But if you are looking for an affordable Christmas vacation, Park City isn’t it.

Flights to nearby Salt Lake City are actually cheaper than flights to most other places in our rankings. However, lodging costs can put a big dent in your travel budget if you plan to visit Park City during Christmas.

The average nightly hotel rate jumps from $116 around Thanksgiving to $534 around Christmas — the highest lodging cost of any place in our rankings. Daily transportation costs of $87 also are the highest on our list, and only Orlando, Fla., has higher entertainment costs.

Cape Town, South Africa

Winter is actually summer in South Africa, which makes it the peak season for tourists. As a result, it can be expensive to visit Cape Town during the holidays.

Flights are the biggest cost of visiting this cosmopolitan city on Africa’s Atlantic coast. It costs more to fly to from Los Angeles to Cape Town during Thanksgiving — $1,341 — than any other city on our list. During Christmas, the price jumps to $1,952. And a flight from Atlanta to Cape Town during Christmas costs $2,262.

Food and alcohol also are expensive. The average daily cost of meals is $48, and the average daily cost of drinks is $24.

» How to spend $25 or less on one week of groceries

Most affordable places to visit during the holidays

You don’t have to spend an exorbitant amount on a Thanksgiving or Christmas vacation. If you visit these affordable destinations, you can save money on your holiday travel.

Washington, D.C.

A trip to the nation’s capital can be an affordable Christmas vacation. Plus, you can avoid the crowds that are there at other times of the year. The average nightly hotel rate drops to $85 during Christmas from $97 during Thanksgiving. Christmas flights to Washington, D.C., also are cheaper than Thanksgiving flights and flights to most other cities in our rankings.

While there, you can visit holiday markets and see the National Christmas Tree near the White House, the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree and the National Menorah.

Seattle

A trip to Seattle during the cold, rainy winter might not seem ideal. But if you’re looking for cheap holiday vacations, you should consider Washington’s largest city.

Holiday flights to Seattle are cheaper than to most other cities in our rankings. Although lodging costs aren’t exorbitant, they aren’t super cheap. The average nightly hotel rate during Thanksgiving is $142, and the average rate during Christmas is $140.

Chicago

Chicago offers an affordable holiday getaway, but be prepared to bundle up in the Windy City if you go during the cold months of November or December.

You’ll be rewarded for braving chilly temperatures with low average nightly hotel rates of $87 during Thanksgiving and $85 during Christmas. And holiday flights to Chicago are among the cheapest in our rankings.

San Francisco

San Francisco might not seem like it would be near the top of a list of cheap Christmas trips because it has a reputation for being expensive. However, The City, as locals call it, can be more of a bargain in winter.

You can find cheap Christmas flights to San Francisco from Los Angeles — just $96. And the average nightly rate for a hotel during both Thanksgiving and Christmas is $121.

San Francisco’s transportation costs are among the lowest in our rankings, and you can see the city’s most popular tourist attractions for free. Those include Pier 39 and the Golden Gate Bridge (if you cross by foot or bicycle). Don’t forget to grab some free chocolate samples at Ghirardelli Square.

Playa del Carmen, Mexico

For cheap Christmas vacations at the beach, look no further than Playa del Carmen, Mexico — the most affordable place to visit during the holidays. Located in the most eastern part of Mexico, this popular tourist destination has incredibly inexpensive food, transportation and alcohol costs, as well as the lowest entertainment costs of any city in our rankings.

72-hour sale: Southwest Airlines offers round-trip flights for as low as $100

Published: Tuesday, October 10, 2017 @ 3:35 PM

Southwest Airlines Having Major 72-Hour

During one of their more popular sales of the year, Southwest Airlines is again offering customers non-stop round-trip flights for less than $100. 

>> Read more trending news 

Dozens of the carrier’s shortest routes are available for $49 each way. Other non-stop one-way fares are offered for $79, $99 and $129 for longer flights. Some international flights are also being offered at extreme discounts.

The prices of flights are loosely tied to distance, according to USA Today.

>> Related: American Airlines to decrease legroom for passengers

Discounted flights can be purchased for travel between Oct. 31 and Dec. 19 and from Jan. 3 through Feb. 14. Travelers cannot purchase the discounted tickets for travel on Fridays and Sundays. 

The sale ends Thursday at 11:59 p.m. local time in the city of the departing flight. 

This is the second time this year the airline is offering the deal. Southwest previously offered the low fares in June.

Read more at Southwest.

(KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

Passengers upset after flight minutes from landing returns to departure airport

Published: Thursday, September 21, 2017 @ 8:28 AM

What To Do the Minute Your Flight is Cancelled

Passengers on a late night flight to Santa Fe Tuesday were confused when the plane, just minutes from landing, instead returned to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.

Passengers and those waiting at the airport for loved ones to arrive told KRQE that it was a clear, calm night. After the flight's captain told passengers they were returning to DFW but didn't give a clear reason why, passenger Leighann Gagnon said other staff told her it was because there was no one in the control tower at Santa Fe's Municipal Airport.

>> Read more trending news

While the airport's control tower is unstaffed from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m., flights can still land, and do so on a regular basis, KRQE reported.

American Airlines and airport staff clarified to KRQE that it was due to a technical malfunction at the National Weather Service, which could not provide a wind speed reading to the pilot. A wind speed reading is require by law in order to land, KRQE reported. 

Passengers were miffed that American Airlines didn't land in Albuquerque, but American officials said they don't operate out of Sunport International Airport, so that's why the flight returned to DFW.

When passengers arrived back at DFW at approximately 1 a.m. Wednesday, everything was closed and passengers were not offered a voucher for a hotel or a meal, KRQE reported. Passengers couldn't access their luggage because airport staff were not available. American Airlines officials said since it was not at fault, it could not issue vouchers per company policy.

Passengers took off for Santa Fe at 7 a.m. Wednesday. This time, the flight landed successfully at Santa Fe's Municipal Airport.

The truth about whether airlines jack up prices if you keep searching the same flight

Published: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 @ 1:54 PM

Channel 2's Consumer Adviser Clark Howard tells you how to avoid extra airline fees.

To make sure the right ads get to the people most interested in it, Google shows ads based on its users' search history. A user searching for "coffee" for example may see an ad for a coffee mug on the next page. But can airlines also harness that same personal data to increase the price of a particular flight?

Consumers may wonder whether airlines and ticketing websites raise airfares for consumers who research a specific route on their computer. However, airlines say prices change not because of a consumer's search history on a website, or their cookies, but because of inventory updates or glitches on the website, FareCompare's Rick Seaney said in an email.

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"If the airlines were to raise prices because of browser cookies (targeted individually) there would be air travel whistleblowers and senators running to microphones for legislation to prevent it," said Seaney. "What people see when they shop multiple times and prices are changing is a reflection of inventory changes, data caching techniques and the fact that prices generally get more expensive closer to departure date, even within a day."

Still, William McGee, an aviation adviser for Consumer Reports, says he's seen evidence that this pricing based on search history may not be entirely a myth.

In a 2016 study, McGee and his team conducted 372 searches on nine airline ticketing websites. The searches were simultaneous with the exact same itinerary and website but two different browsers — one with its cookies intact, another one that was scrubbed.

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McGee found that 59% of the times when the searches differed, the fares were higher on the scrubbed browser — the browser with no search history — but those higher fares often came from online travel agencies such as Orbitz. The lower fares on scrubbed browsers tended to come from meta-search sites, such as Google Flights or Kayak.

But McGee couldn't say for sure why he saw those different results.

"This is a very opaque industry," he said.

The best thing to do? Just shop around.

"Our takeaway advice is that consumers shop around, and ... if its possible, to search on at least two different browsers," he said. "If you see different results … you clearly want to go with lower ones."