Articles filed under Todd, Gail

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  • The 'War of the Rows' continues on airplanes Sep 7, 2014 6:00 AM
    The 'War of the Rows' isn't new. It's been going on ever since the government deregulated the airlines. To increase profits, the airlines went after our 'bottom' lines. They made seats smaller and reduced legroom. They packed passengers in so tightly you couldn't scratch your nose without elbowing your seat partner. And now passengers are losing it when someone pushes their seatback into its fully reclined state and lands inches from the aft passenger's lap.

     
  • Idea to shorten TSA lines could be worth $15,000 Aug 2, 2014 5:45 AM
    Did you hear the TSA needs your help? Apparently, they can’t figure out how to improve airport security lines, so they want you to do it. And if they choose your solution, you could collect as much as $15,000. But there’s a catch. Getting your idea registered is a lot like waiting in one of those security lines at the airport.

     
  • Tips for stress-free flying with little kids Jul 5, 2014 6:00 AM
    Pack distractions. Bring your own food. Make friends with your seat neighbors. Flying with children can be a rewarding experience, but it can also be a nightmare. There are a few tricks you can learn to head trouble off at the pass.

     
  • Carry-on bags a difficult issue for some travelers Jun 6, 2014 5:15 AM
    Have you noticed it’s getting harder to pack it all in? I’m not taking about the itinerary where you keep track of where you are by the day of the week. I’m talking about your suitcase. Ever since the airlines began charging fees for checked luggage, passengers have been trying to pack more into their carry-on and it’s causing many passengers to “carry on” in an entirely different way.

     
  • Alternatives to coach might not be that bad May 3, 2014 5:45 AM
    In case you missed it, a teen jumped the fence at San Jose International Airport and stuffed himself into the wheel well of a plane with less space than a middle economy seat. He planned to go to Africa. Instead, 5½ hours later he landed in Hawaii, alive. Experts said it was impossible. At best, temperatures would dive to a minus 60 degrees and there would be virtually no oxygen at that altitude. The boy survived. And he’s not the first to travel in wheel-well class.

     
  • In-flight entertainment rises to a whole new level Apr 6, 2014 5:01 AM
    If you were lucky enough to be on a certain Virgin-Australia flight from Brisbane to Sydney recently, you would have boarded to the chorus from the musical, “The Lion King.” And it wouldn’t have been piped in music or a bunch of spring break juniors singing off key. It would have been the actual cast from the production playing in Sydney. Talk about taking in-flight entertainment up a notch.

     
  • Grounded: Bad weather leads to bad behavior by air passengers Mar 1, 2014 5:30 AM
    If you were at O’Hare International Airport earlier this month when the snow was blowing sideways, you were more apt to fly into a rage than the wild blue yonder. O’Hare wasn’t the only place this winter where bad weather caused passengers to fly off the handle when they couldn’t fly on an airplane. Airports around the world have had trouble weathering the crowds.

     
  • Luckily, pilots landing at wrong airport is rare Feb 1, 2014 5:45 AM
    Do you know the way to San Jose? Apparently a passenger didnít a few years ago. She ended up in California when she should have landed in Costa Rica. But thatís not as bad as when a pilot lands at the wrong airport. Which is what happened to Southwest Airlines a few weeks ago. And it isnít the first time pilots have lost their way.

     
  • How can you get sleep on an airplane? Jan 11, 2014 5:30 AM
    Today, trying to get some zzz's on a plane seems like a losing battle. What with sleeping in an upright position, squeezed between passengers and belly-up to the seat in front. And forget about the cozy blanket. But there are ways to make to flying a little more conducive for sleep.

     
  • A gift for your physical and mental health: a spa vacation Dec 1, 2013 6:00 AM
    A good gift for travelers? A spa vacation. Columnist Gail Todd recommends a few that will promote good mental and physical health, and alleviate holiday stress.

     
  • Thanksgiving holiday the perfect time to travel overseas Nov 2, 2013 6:00 AM
    Who needs turkey for Thanksgiving? Travel columnist Gail Todd always makes the same thing for the American holiday: overseas travel reservations. She says it's a good and less expensive time to travel abroad.

     
  • Oh, the places you can’t go during federal shutdown Oct 4, 2013 6:00 AM
    “We’re supposed to be camping in Yosemite this weekend,” complained my daughter, who has been laying out sleeping bags and cooking gear for the past two weeks. “Now it looks like we’ll be camping in the backyard.” Apparently, her trip canceled. Not because of bad weather, sick kids or flight problems. It’s because of a canceled government.

     
  • Surprises on flights drive passengers buggy Sep 1, 2013 5:00 AM
    Last week, Joel Woloshuk discovered he was flying with a bunch of maggots. He wasn’t using derogatory terms to refer to his seat mates. He was talking about the added protein he received in a sandwich at Atlanta’s International Airport. Literally, it was maggots. He discovered them while flying to Miami. He even took pictures of the little buggers enjoying his sandwich. This isn’t the first time these insects curbed a traveler’s appetite at 35,000 feet.

     
  • Skip a tip and you might pay for it later Aug 4, 2013 5:12 AM
    Tipping has really heated up. Tip jars grace the counters of fast-food restaurants and coffee shops. Tips are expected. Itís no longer an arbitrary thing subject to the discretion of the guest. Even for poor service, you better cough up 15 percent to 20 percent or you might have an angry waiter chasing you down the street.

     
  • Space on planes will get even more cozy Jul 7, 2013 5:11 AM
    Looks like the airlines are about to put the squeeze on us again. Iím not talking about charging more for checked luggage, or raising the price of an in-flight sandwich. Iím talking about the close encounter with your seat partners becoming even chummier. American Airlines announced plans to add more seats and cut the leg room in coach on some of their Boeing 737s and MD-80 jets. And other airlines promise similar changes.

     
  • Using appliances in Europe can be a power struggle Jun 9, 2013 6:00 AM
    While most of Europe now has a common currency, they’ve yet to develop a common current. The United States operates appliances on a 110 voltage. So does Canada, Mexico and most of Latin America. Most of Europe uses a 210 voltage. So cross the pond and you may be shocked — literally — when you plug your 110-voltage hairdryer into their outlet. Your dryer will heat up like it’s on steroids and then, “pop.” It will probably never heat again.

     
  • Airlines, passengers extra cautious about security May 5, 2013 5:00 AM
    Airline personnel and security agents take anything sounding remotely like a threat seriously with good reason. But sometimes it gets out of hand. Several years ago there was the passenger who caused a flight to abort and return to the gate by repeating "Bye, Bye airplane" during the safety demonstration. The passenger was considered a safety risk and removed from the flight. A reasonable response? Perhaps. Except the passenger was 18 months old.

     
  • Packing on the pounds can be costly for travelers Apr 7, 2013 6:00 AM
    Did you hear about the weighty subject created by a small airline based in Samoa? Apparently Samoa Air figured out a way to get their pound of flesh. Literally. They've started charging travel fees by the pound — both body and baggage are figured into the cost of a ticket. This isn't new. Small commuter carriers often have strict weight-control policies.

     
  • Travelers love to share stories of terrible trips Mar 4, 2013 6:43 AM
    People have the best time sharing their worst time. Go to any cocktail party, and you’re apt to hear what a terrible experience someone had on his last flight. But little annoyances can drive people to the edge. If a flight is delayed an hour, passengers become irate. Run out of coffee on a two-hour flight and someone will write a hate letter to the airline. But let it turn into a two-day sojourn, and it makes them members of an elite crowd of survivors, which gives major bragging rights.

     
  • Tips for keeping germs at bay at 35,000 feet Feb 3, 2013 6:00 AM
    Recently while flying back to Chicago from Cancun, Mexico, I was seated behind a couple wearing masks — the Lone Ranger style. Only they weren't trying to hide their identity. They were trying to avoid catching the flu that has become epidemic this winter. And with good reason. Half the passengers on the plane were coughing, sneezing or looking like death was imminent and in some cases would be welcome.

     
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