Make us your home page

Column: News nuggets flying below the radar

Monday it was a $7 pillow-and-blanket charge on JetBlue. On Tuesday, Delta revealed plans to equip its entire domestic fleet with wireless Internet service by next summer.

Changes in the shaky airline business arrive in torrents these days, so fast they're easy to miss. Here are a few news nuggets flying under the radar, including a budding protest over drink charges, an airline that locals are lobbying to come back and a carrier that couldn't run on time.

A Peasants' Revolt: New beverage fees at US Airways — $2 for water and soda, $1 for coffee and tea — are running into some resistance. A Las Vegas gate agent delivered a sarcastic speech Friday about "inauguration day'' for the new policy, says air fare expert Rick Seaney, who was waiting for his flight to Dallas. The agent urged passengers to buy drinks in the airport terminal.

A reader of the blog "Upgrade: Travel Better'' reports US Airways passengers are rebelling by paying with $20 bills, knowing flight attendants don't have change. They get the drinks free, he says. The union for flight attendants charged US Airways is turning jets into "flying vending machines.''

Baby Come Back: Many travelers are fed up with airlines, but USA3000 Airlines customers are pleading for the discount carrier's return to St. Petersburg-Clearwater International. USA3000 will end its 23 weekly flights from the airport after Aug. 18 as part of a larger retreat from Florida.

The airport began asking customers Monday to sign letters urging USA3000 to come back when the economy improves. By Tuesday afternoon, officials collected 950 signatures at tables in the airport terminal and 120 e-mails to

Dubious Distinction: Five Tampa International flights by Delta Connection carrier Comair ran chronically late in June, according to a monthly Transportation Department report. The list included New York/LaGuardia and Hartford, Conn., flights that arrived late in Tampa 90 percent of the time.

A Comair spokesman said the flights were late afternoon departures that flew through busy Northeast U.S. airspace. For the month, two-thirds of all Comair planes arrived at Tampa International late — 15 minutes or more after the scheduled time.

Steve Huettel can be reached at or (813) 226-3384.

Column: News nuggets flying below the radar 08/05/08 [Last modified: Thursday, August 7, 2008 12:01pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. SeaWorld shares drop Monday to 2017 low after disclosure of federal subpoena


    The Orlando parent company of SeaWorld and Busch Gardens theme parks saw its stock drop 3.5 percent Monday to $15.10, its lowest price of this year.

    Killer whales perform at Shamu Stadium at SeaWorld in Orlando in 2011, before public pressure was placed on the theme park company to curtail its orca shows.SeaWorld has since announced an end to the traditional killer whale entertainment  at its theme parks. [AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack]
  2. Rick Scott appoints longtime ally Jimmy Patronis as Florida CFO

    State Roundup
    Rick Scott appoints Jimmy Patronis (background) as CFO. [STEVE BOUSQUET | Tampa Bay Times]
  3. Local gas prices plummet as Fourth of July holiday travel approaches


    TAMPA — Local gas prices are enjoying an unseasonal dip around the $2 mark just in time for the hectic Fourth of July holiday travel weekend.

    The price of regular unleaded gasoline has dropped to $1.99 at a Rally station on Pasadena Ave. South and Gulfport Boulevard South, South Pasadena.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  4. Air bag recalls, lawsuits lead Takata to file for bankruptcy


    Shattered by recall costs and lawsuits, Japanese air bag maker Takata Corp. filed Monday for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the U.S., saying it was the only way it could keep on supplying replacements for faulty air bag inflators linked to the deaths of at least 16 people.

    Japanese air bag maker Takata Corp. CEO Shigehisa Takada bows during a press conference in Tokyo on Monday. Takata has filed for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the U.S., overwhelmed by lawsuits and recall costs related to its production of defective air bag inflators.
[(AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi]
  5. Airbag maker Takata bankruptcy filing expected in Japan, U.S.


    DETROIT — Japanese airbag maker Takata Corp. has filed for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the U.S., overwhelmed by lawsuits and recall costs related to its production of faulty air bag inflators.