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Airlines Suing TSA for Cheating on Controversial New Security Fees

August 1, 2014 at 8:30 AM | by | Comments (0)

As you know because you've been following along, the new TSA fees that we've been trashing since 2010 went into effect earlier this month. They had been jammed up for years by airlines - more on that below - but the administration finally managed to get them passed. The old caps, which had been set at $2.50 per flight segment with a $10 roof for a four-flight round trip, were abolished.

Would you believe that TSA may have taken advantage of the new situation to collect fees even higher than what Congress allowed? That's the argument being made by airlines, who are now suing the security agency. Game on.

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If You Flew Yesterday, You Paid More for Your Ticket and Here's Why

July 22, 2014 at 4:48 PM | by | Comments (0)

There's no shortage of domestic and international travel politics stories floating around. There's the potential for a new Cold War because of the MH17 downing. There's the 24 hour FAA ban on flights into Tel Aviv. There's even the ongoing nonsense about how airport security officials are threatening to confiscate electronics that run out of battery power during trans-Atlantic flights, which is something that happens literally all the time.

But this story about hiking airline security fees is - rightly - driving people absolutely out of their minds. We flagged this for you last month as a heads up, but we've actually been tracking these legislative efforts since 2010. The Obama administration has tried to raise the fees that travelers pay for security through the normal budget process, outside the normal budget process, and probably at least once via occult wizardry. Every time it was justified as a way to make people travel more, which is not a very good argument because it's not how supply and demand works.

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Breaking: Airlines Cancel Israel Flights 'Until Further Notice'

July 22, 2014 at 12:03 PM | by | Comments (0)

BREAKING

Update: 12:30pm EST, July 23: Although yesterday's FAA ban on flights to Israel was originally only for 24 hours, it has been extended to last another 24 at the least. This only applies to US airlines, so flights to Israel on El Al out of JFK are still operating normally.

Update: 1pm EST: FAA has issued a notice (NOTAM) prohibiting US airlines from flying to or from Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Int’l Airport for up to 24 hours.

Update: 12pm EST: US Airways, United and American Airlines now join Delta in temporarily suspending Tel Aviv flights.

At approximately 11am EST today, Delta updated their Israel travel adivsory from a warning that flights may be disrupted, to the fact that their flights from New York-JFK to Tel Aviv will not be operating at all "until further notice."

The stoppage is a temporary hiatus necessitated by escalating violence in Israel; the final straw comes with the report of a rocket attack in the vicinity of Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport. Naturally the danger calls to mind last week's Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 tragedy, caused by a ground-to-air missile. While airlines continue to divert their flight paths clear of Ukrainian air space, there are other war zones to consider.

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Japan Just Opened a Wizarding World of Harry Potter of Their Very Own

Where: Osaka, Japan
July 21, 2014 at 4:06 PM | by | Comments (0)

While the world is still buzzing from last month's debut of the new Diagon Alley park at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, Japan is celebrating their own piece of the pie.

On July 15, 2014, Universal Studios Japan opened their own version of the original Harry Potter park, Hogsmeade, which first swung open its doors in 2010 in Orlando.

All told, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter cost Universal Studios Japan ¥45 billion ($442.2 million) to construct, but they're hoping it'll rake in ¥5.6 trillion ($55 billion) over the next 10 years.

Universal Studios Japan debuted in 2001 and quickly became the second most visited amusement park in Japan, after Tokyo Disneyland. This Hogsmeade addition may be missing one or two things (like the Dragon Challenge Roller Coaster) from the Orlando park, but it makes up for the edits with a few new additions (and the park's "Jaws" area is still intact!).

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Happy Birthday, Aviation: Many Airlines Celebrating Major Anniversaries in 2014

July 21, 2014 at 12:44 PM | by | Comment (1)

Ever heard of the St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line? We're guessing probably not, but the Smithsonian sure has; the seaplane carrier is classified as the world's first airline, which inaugurated commercial air service in 1914 when it took off with one paying passenger. It may have been a short journey (only 23 minutes!), but the Airboat Line's impact extends to today as commercial aviation has become a $2.2 trillion dollar industry, employing over 57 million people.

In 2014, the world celebrates 100 years of commercial air travel, but that's not all.

In this last century, airlines and airplanes have evolved into a fact of everyday life for travelers, and some of the pioneering companies will mark milestones this year. Here's who to wish "happy anniversary":

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A Complete Survival Guide to Diagon Alley at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

July 16, 2014 at 4:10 PM | by | Comments (0)

Magic is seriously in the air this month, as we've been in Orlando for an early preview of the newest addition to Universal Orlando: Diagon Alley at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Last week was the official Grand Opening, but here you'll find all the juiciest tips for enjoying the most exciting amusement park debut of the year.

Thinking of heading to the new Diagon Alley at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter park at Universal Studios Orlando? You better be ready to sweat, wait in long lines, and yet enjoy it all along. But still, it's a good idea to do your homework for something like this, which will see record visitors for the next few months (at least!) and which will try your spending power to the max.

Jaunted's Quick and Dirty Survival Guide for Diagon Alley:

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Have You Seen These 'HappyOrNot' Airport Opinion Raters?

July 16, 2014 at 6:52 AM | by | Comment (1)

Have you seen any of these HappyOrNot Machines in your travels? Apparently these little feedback kiosks have been kicking around at airports across the globe, as well as everywhere else from pizza places to other retail locations.

It’s all part of the plan to gather thoughts and opinions regarding the airport experience, as officials look to improve upon the traveler experience. There’s usually a question, and then some simple smiley faces—or sad faces—and corresponding colors to share your feelings.

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Airports and Airlines Step Up to Ensure Your Phone is Fully Charged

July 15, 2014 at 8:35 AM | by | Comments (0)

Until mobile devices somehow magically charge themselves throughout your journey—you’re going to need a spot to plug in and charge up at the airport. The concourses and terminals have gotten a little bit better at adding ports and plugs, and now it seems like there’s a push overseas to add even more spots to charge up before your trip.

With that pesky new requirement regarding devices to be operational at airport security airports in London are pushing to get more options available to flyers.

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Royal Caribbean Heads Towards Land with New 'TourTrek' Venture

July 10, 2014 at 9:57 AM | by | Comments (0)

Royal Caribbean is taking their business out of the water and onto the land, as they’re working on starting up some kind of tour company spinoff.

At this point details are limited, but they did confirm things on a recent blog post; however, we’re wondering if that was only because Travel Weekly kind of beat them to sharing the news.

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75 Original Photos of Diagon Alley and the Hogwarts Express, at Universal Orlando

July 9, 2014 at 12:35 PM | by | Comments (0)

Magic is seriously in the air this month, as we've been in Orlando for an early preview of the newest addition to Universal Orlando: Diagon Alley at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Yesterday was the official Grand Opening, but here you'll find all the juicy photos of the most exciting amusement park debut of the year.

Seven hours was the average wait time to experience all Universal Orlando's new park had to offer yesterday, during The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley's Grand Opening. That's actually not much of a surprise considering the wait was closer to 8 hours during the 2010 debut of the sister park, Hogsmeade, which now joins Diagon Alley to form a Potter powerhouse of experiences, shopping, rides, and refreshment at Universal Orlando and Islands of Adventure.

Don't let the 7 hours intimidate, however; that's just first day frenzy. Although what Universal has created with Diagon Alley is a stupefyingly tremendous world straight from the JK Rowling novels and resulting films which everyone should see, waits for the Gringotts ride and more should settle to a manageable 2 hours-ish as the summer progresses.

What you won't have to wait for are photos of the new park, as we've got full, original photo galleries of over 75 images from our own visit. Enjoy:

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'Standing Seats' Idea Still Hanging Around as New Study is Released

July 8, 2014 at 11:30 AM | by | Comments (0)

Remember when Ryanair announced a few years ago that it was going to experiment with "standing seats" on its flights? The airline said it would be able to offer tickets at extremely low prices, but ultimately the idea got shot down by a regulator, mostly due to concerns over seat belts and safety.

Despite those questions, we found the idea peculiar yet intriguing, especially for commuter flights of an hour or less, say, from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles, Philadelphia to New York, New York to Boston, etc. Would it be so bad to stand for 45 minutes if the cost was significantly less? A new study released this week has once again brought up the concept, finding that airlines that remove seats in favor of a "standing section" could fit 20% more passengers and offer significant discounts on tickets - as much as 44%.

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A Complete Look at Virgin Atlantic's Hotly High Style Vivienne Westwood Uniforms

July 7, 2014 at 3:17 PM | by | Comments (0)

The Virgin Atlantic look is sharp, iconic, sizzling; there’s no denying the head-turning appeal of a crisp white blouse tucked into a scorching red pencil skirt, topped off with red heels. But, with the celebration of the airline’s 30th Anniversary this year, it’s about that time for a snazzy refresh so as to continue “flying in the face of ordinary,” as the airline’s slogan goes. For this, Virgin Atlantic paired with UK designer and punk powerhouse Vivienne Westwood. The new uniforms were just unveiled July 1 in London, and will roll out for all Virgin Atlantic staff, from cabin crew to flight crew, and desk agents to Clubhouse hospitality.

Alas, a flash of the new uniform as it swishes down the airplane aisle isn't enough to appreciate the detail. Aside from the fact that it’s now easier to care for with a new tech “nano finish" (the earlier uniform was dry clean only) and yarn made from recycled plastic bottles, there are small secrets hidden in every dart and under each lapel, telling the story of the collaboration between England’s flag-carrying airline and one of the country's most iconic fashion influences.

Although the uniforms don’t officially take flight for the entire Virgin Atlantic fleet until September 1, keep an eye out for a preview on your next VS flight; crew have been heading to the airline’s Base near Gatwick Airport to pick up their full looks since this past weekend. Here's what to look for:

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