Now Boarding: Monday travel updates

Mondays will now be Travel Hats news and updates in the travel world! Hope everyone on the East & West coast are staying dry.

Super Bowl Travel Scams(and World Cup and other major sporting events): So you would all know better than to respond to a random e-mail or snail mail offering a too-good-t0-be-true promise of cash and two tickets to the Super Bowl. But sometimes the offers are more subtle: two supposedly free tickets and hotel room, but you pay the airfare. Then you show up to a fairly terrible hotel room, paid the airfare, and then…no tickets! Be wary of this kind of incredible package deal for big events and work through reputable travel agents.

Weather to blame for Ethiopian Airlines crash: 23 bodies have been recovered after an Ethiopian Airlines flight from Beirut, Lebanon to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, crashed into the Mediterranean Sea. Officials investigating said that terrorism was unlikely and noted that the stormy weather conditions probably contributed to the crash. 82 passengers and 8 crew members were on board. Witnesses reported a fireball falling from the sky shortly after takeoff in the early morning hours. While various African airlines have had shaky safety records, Ethiopian Airlines had a fairly safe history.

British Airways Strike revisited?  British Airways cabin crew members are starting the vote again on whether to strike while British Airways ramps up training for new pilots, engineers and baggage handlers to replace those should a strike occur. Workers are upset because financial difficulties with the airline has created a pay freeze, reduction of cabin crew on long-haul flights and switch of 3,000 employees to part-time status. The union, Unite, has promised not to strike during the upcoming Easter holiday.

Airlines increase checked baggage fees: Now that airlines have realized that checked baggage is its most promising revenue, they have began to raise those fees. United, Continental and Delta each raised their fees to $25 for the first bag and $35 for the second. Shipping companies have encouraged passengers to send their luggage by UPS, Fed Ex and the US Post Office to ensure its arrival and without the hassle of paying and hauling it through the airport.

Airlines upsell products: Paying for baggage, drinks, and food already irritating travelers? Soon airlines may begin charging for everything as a luxury measure, including blankets, pillows, gourmet food, entertainment, wireless connection and preferred seating, according to airline experts. Soon, airlines may sell seats at-cost and earn its revenue from upselling products and services on board, including its own version of SkyMall and eliminating the middle man.

China Eastern Airline computer glitch sells tickets for $2.90: Lucky customers who were online at the right time scored dirt-cheap tickets of 20 yuan, or $2.90, due to a computer glitch. That’s less than a cab fare across Beijing. China Eastern will honor the tickets, even though some of them were scheduled during the busiest travel season of the year, during the Chinese New Year.

Japan Airlines files for bankruptcy. Japan’s biggest airline is declaring bankruptcy after months of anticipation. The government plans to keep its planes flying, however, though many cuts will be made to do so. According to BusinessWeek, “the plan calls for about 15,600 job cuts, or a third of JAL’s work force, by March 2013 and will require the airline to halve the number of its subsidiaries which span everything from hotels to credit cards.”

Tax Tip: Donating miles to a charity are not tax-deductible.

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