Wow! There was a lot of travel-related news that happened in September, so I’ve put together a recap of some of the month’s top stories!
Hurricanes and Typhoons
Hurricane/Tropical Storm Florence pounded the U.S. states of North and South Carolina, leaving a path of destruction and flooding and more than 40 dead.
Meanwhile, Typhoon Mangkhut hit the Philippines Hong Kong and Macau. Mangkhut is the reportedly the biggest typhoon to hit Hong Kong since 1999. The death toll so far in these areas is 127 and counting.
And, there are probably more storms to come...
Bag Fee Increases
Really? When American Airlines introduced the first bag fee roundabout 2008, it cost $15 to check your bag. Other airlines quickly followed suit. Since then, fees have only gone up.
Initially, airlines said they needed to charge a fee to help with the high cost of jet fuel and other expenses, post Great Recession of 2008. Well, fuel costs have dropped since then, but the baggage fees have remained. Why? They’re a huge money maker for airlines. According to CNN Money, in 2016, airlines collected $4.2 billion (yes billion) in baggage fees. And they’re going up again. This week, United, Delta, American, JetBlue and Air Canada all announced checked baggage fee increases. Yeesh...
New TSA PreCheck Bill in Congress
Have PreCheck or Global Entry? Ever stood in an airport security line and passengers without either are allowed to go in “your” PreCheck line? Well, Congress is considering the "PreCheck is PreCheck Act of 2018". If passed the Act would limit the number of non-members that can access the TSA PreCheck security line at airports.
Wait times at airport security times have been growing (I know first-hand from a recent pass through Boston’s Logan Airport). As a result of the increased lines, non-PreCheck passengers are sometimes being allowed to go through the PreCheck lines. As a Global Entry holder, it’s irritating to see someone get to pass through the same line that you paid $100 and had to go through a background check for. Just sayin’…
So, Congress is considering a bill that would limit “non-PreCheckers” from using the PreCheck lines. The new TSA PreCheck Bill passed the U.S. House on September 4, 2018. If it passes the U.S. Senate, then it will go to the President for his signature for the bill to become law. You can follow the bill’s progress here or at Congress.gov.
Remember: The U.S. Congress has two houses – the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate. A bill has to pass through both houses before it can go to the President for him to sign the bill into law.
Throw Back: If you're old enough to remember Schoolhouse Rock, here's the YouTube link to "I'm Just a Bill" explaining how a bill becomes law!
Seat Size Regulations
Feel like every time you fly the seats just keep getting smaller and smaller? We’ve seen the incredible shrinking airline seat over the years, but Congress may be tackling that, too. According to recent articles on The Points Guy and USAToday, the SEAT Act (introduced in 2016) requires FAA to set standards for seat sizes and pitch (the space between rows) on commercial airlines.
A recent article on Market Watch stated something slightly different. Specifically, that in July 2018, in response to a 2017 Federal court order which required the FAA to address “seat shrinkage”, the FAA determined that the size of a seat doesn’t affect consumer safety, so it won’t be setting limits on seat width or pitch. Seriously?
While there doesn't seem to have been any progress lately, there's always hope! You can follow the SEAT Act bill here or on Congress.gov, just like the PreCheck bill.
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