Downgraded: Willingness of friends and loved ones to give you a ride to the airport
Airports’ inventive enthusiasm for new fees rivals that of the airlines, as we’ve seen when airports try to add fees to previously free services like shuttle buses. The latest entry: A passenger dropoff fee. London-Luton Airport will charge a £1 toll to cars bringing passengers to the departures area, with a 10-minute time limit. Dropoff at a parking shuttle bus stop remains complimentary. Birmingham charges double the fee for a 15-minute time window. Great, now they’re not just charging the traveler, but also the family or friends. I realize that this is a way to manage traffic as well as raise money, but I honestly hope we don’t see this set of fees proliferate. (Thanks, Rick!)
Downgraded: Tort law remedies for trapped passengers
A passenger who sued American Airlines for being stuck on a plane on the tarmac for 9 and a half hours (ouch) had her case dismissed by the court. Her charge of false imprisonment didn’t stick.
Private jets are out. What’s in: Pimped out corporate buses.
Upgraded: Short-term discounts booking Delta or Northwest miles
Delta and Northwest are temporarily reducing the number of miles you need to book frequent flier tickets to international destinations on Delta, Northwest, or KLM. It’s only through April 20, and only for travel abroad, so move quickly. See here for Northwest, or here for Delta. Another sign that traffic across the oceans isn’t exactly brisk… (And remember, you can get bonus miles through April 15 — again, hurry! — for converting your Northwest WorldPerks miles to Delta SkyMiles.)