Good morning, travelers. Here's a look at travel-related material from The Globe and wires.
*Recently, airlines have received lots of attention for moving longtime standards -- baggage, food, drinks, even pillows and blankets - from the "included" pile into the "for an additional fee" pile. But travel industry analysts say the other giant in the travel game -- the hotel industry - has become even worse at adding on miscellaneous fees and surcharges.
Industry analysts say that 2007 was the peak year for the introduction of add-on hotel fees and surcharges. And last year, US hotels raked in record revenue, taking in $1.75 billion, up from $550 million in 2002, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The nickel-and-diming can be small (such as $5 for the hotel to accept a package for you) to rather large (think: mandatory valet parking for $50 a night, a notorious fee charged in San Francisco). Other charges include resort, business center, and groundskeeping fees, charges for having a safe in your room even if you don't use it, and charges from minibars with sensors that bill you if you just move something and then add a "restocking fee" for the hotel employee who must replace your $5 bag of M&Ms.
Not all hotels charge such fees, and Boston hotels are not considered excessively bad in this add-on game, according to analysts. (Las Vegas is notorious, say hotel analysts.) (Globe staff)
Here's a link to the rest of the story.
*Passenger traffic aboard all airline flights in the United States will drop nearly 9 percent this year due to recession compared with 2008, when they carried 679 million people, the government said. The Federal Aviation Administration estimate would represent the largest decline in annual domestic capacity since the industry was deregulated in 1978. Major airlines slashed capacity by more than 8 percent when demand plummeted in the year following the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington. The FAA also said the number of passengers boarding international flights on US carriers is expected to drop 2.4 percent. American carriers have scaled back transatlantic routes due to a sharp drop in business travel. The global financial services meltdown has hurt travel between New York and London, industry officials have said. (Reuters)
*Atlantic Southeast Airlines, a unit of SkyWest Inc. and one of nine regional carriers for Delta, said it has grounded 60 of its 112 50-seat Bombardier CRJ200 jets after an internal audit raised safety concerns. The groundings, which represent nearly 40 percent of ASA's fleet, were expected to cause some flight delays for passengers flying ASA. It could take 36 to 42 hours to complete the inspections, company spokeswoman Kate Modolo said. (In New England, the carrier flies out of Providence, Manchester, N.H., Portland, Maine, and Burlington, Vt., according to the airline's website.) The paperwork audit raised questions about whether the engines on Bombardier CRJ200 jets had been properly inspected according to guidelines provided by the engines' manufacturer, Modolo said. The company reported the problem itself to the Federal Aviation Administration and grounded the planes so they could re-inspected as a precautionary measure, she said. (AP)