smoking-airplane

Last week the Obama administration proposed banning the use of electronic cigarettes on airline flights, saying there is concern the smokeless cigarettes may be harmful.  Puffing on e-cigarettes is already a no-no on flights, but the government wants there to be no doubt.  The proposal would apply to all domestic airline flights, as well as scheduled flights of U.S. and foreign carriers to and from the U.S.  E-cigarettes are powered by small lithium ion-batteries and are designed to deliver nicotine to the smoker in the form of a vapor.  Experts say there is no possible harm to the public from smoking them, so this will likely be passionately debated as part of passenger rights.  (Although, it seems highly unlikely to be adopted.)  And for those of you wondering if the smoke detectors in airplane lavatories will sense e-cigarettes, I’m betting the answer is yes.  After watching this video, it seems they smell pretty bad too.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • If you’re going to be flying during the holidays this year, here’s my advice to you:  book early, then track your price on Yapta.  Delta, American, and United-Continental are all eliminating flights on some routes this fall – and into next year.  With fewer flights in the air, demand for seats will increase – and so will prices.  Airlines say they must be careful not to fly with more seats than they can fill at a time when fuel costs are high and fretful travelers could postpone trips because of a still struggling economy.
  • Airports aren’t just for flying anymore.  Many are re-branding themselves as havens of customer service, picking up the slack from the airlines which pretty much abandoned perks and comforts.  Here’s an article that highlights some of the “best oddball airport surprises and services.”
  • United Airlines is taking another step in combining its frequent flier program with Continental’s – but the changes may get a mixed reception from travelers. United is boosting rewards only for people who buy some of the most expensive tickets, instead of just those who fly the most miles. The airline says it’s trying to make those expensive tickets more attractive. Also, miles in the combined program will expire after a year and a half. That will not be a change for United travelers. Continental had no expiration date, although accounts could go inactive after a year and a half if no new miles were earned.
Airlines are paring flights on some routes this fall as well as into next year in the face of high fuel prices and an uncertain economy.
Among the cuts:
•Delta said last week it would reduce available seats up to 5% from October through December compared with the last three months of 2010, and cut them by 2% to 3% in 2012 compared with this year.
•American made reductions on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays by up to 4% starting in August. Last week it said it would cut available seats for the final three months of the year by roughly 0.5%.
•United and Continental, which are merged, say the combined airline continues “to refine its capacity plans,” and reductions likely will be 2% to 3% for domestic flights for the year.
Airlines say they must be careful not to fly with more seats than they can fill at a time when fuel costs are high and fretful travelers could postpone trips because of a still strug