The next time you’re in a hotel, whether it’s a cheap day-rate one for your sad little affair or a luxurious business suite that the company has unwittingly paid for, check to see whether the mattress has an “allergy free” cover on it—it’s a codeword for “bedbug-proof.” Also, if you see trained beagles roaming the hotel sniffing out mold, there’s a good chance the “mold” is another codeword for “bedbug.” Hotels are quietly doing their best to locate and exterminate the insects to protect themselves from particularly vengeful lawsuits—but since an infestation can occur anywhere (it has nothing to do with “cleanliness” or sanitation), it’s a tough battle to win.
United Airlines CEO Glenn Tilton is determined to wring added lucre from his now-profitable airline. Tilton is considering 250 unpopular ideas, such as charging economy-class passengers a fee to avoid receiving their luggage last, and spinning off United’s already wounded frequent flier program, Mileage Plus.
United appears to be following a strategy set by Air Canada, which gained billions of dollars after it emerged from bankruptcy in 2004 by spinning off its maintenance division and frequent-flier program into separate businesses, analysts say.
United is already one of our more entertaining airlines when it comes to stories—they’ve rerouted direct flights without telling ticket holders, given us duct tape heroics, and hire Disney executives to improve customer service (we hope that means pilots dressed up as giant huggable pilots). Now comes news that they’re pledging to reduce waiting times for baggage from nigh-infinity to 25 minutes, as part of a comprehensive new “Customer Commitment” pledge to improve customer service and avoid Federal intervention.
I was flying [British Airways] from Amsterdam to London Heathrow to Denver on July 28th. When I landed I waited by the luggage carousel for my bag, well as you can sure guess, it never turned up. I was told by BA, that they found my bag they apologized and assured me it would be delivered to my home the following day. Seven days later the luggage finally showed up. [More]
Many airlines are charging travelers for having overweight bags, but a KNVX investigation found that 90% of the scales were malcalibrated. And when they accompanied an Arizona Department of Weights and Measures inspection of United Airlines scales, they found all but one to have errors.
Airport skycaps have been admittedly screwed over in recent years. Airlines have imposed $2 curbside check-in fees, but none of that money goes to the skycap. Most people don’t know that, and don’t tip.
Two young baggage handlers who are accused of stealing everything from cigarettes to laptops to credit cards were arrested last week in two separate incidents that have airport officials looking into whether those thefts were just the tip of an iceberg.
Your lost baggage is worth a bit more due to a new rule issued by the Department of Transportation. They’ve raised the liability limit from $2800 to $3000, in an effort to keep pace with inflation. The new limit will go into effect Feb. 28, 2007 and it is estimated that the new rule will cost airlines an additional $2.6 million per year in payouts to passengers. —MEGHANN MARCO
The dumpster near the George Bush Intercontinental Airport contained dozens upon dozens of suitcases. Many were rifled through and missing valuables, including presents, camcorders and computers.
Mellisa May attended an AIDS conference and stuffed her luggage to the brim with free condoms. Disaster struck at the airport, as she tells the New York Times.
New government statistics released today show a 25% increase in passengers reporting lost luggage during August.
An anonymous reader sent us a curious little email yesterday evening. She claims that she has found an easy and environmentally safe way to discard of broken electronics, doo-dads and gizmos: pack them in her check-in luggage and wait for TSA monkeys to steal them.
If you’re looking to go out of town this weekend and plan on purchasing last-minute luggage online, look elsewhere than eBags for your portage needs.