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The Middle Seat

Last Build Date: Wed, 25 Apr 2018 00:37:50 EDT

Copyright: copyright © 2018 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

At Southwest Airlines, the Minutes After Disaster Struck

Tue, 24 Apr 2018 18:35:19 EDT

How top management, using updates from the cockpit and passengers’ phones, put the emergency-response plan into action in Philadelphia and Dallas.

Which Airlines Go Cheap on Wine?

Wed, 18 Apr 2018 18:22:03 EDT

What you get in business class can vary widely depending on the airline, and even on whether you’re on the ground or in the air.

The Travel Credit Cards That Carry You Farthest

Fri, 13 Apr 2018 10:03:43 EDT

Rewards deals have gotten sweet enough that it may make sense to have extra cards to score extra points.

The Secret Other Reason Basic Economy Is Everywhere

Sat, 07 Apr 2018 08:44:55 EDT

Delta, United and American think they’ve found a way to make sure business travelers keep paying higher prices.

The Rare Case Where Airlines and Passengers Both Win

Sat, 31 Mar 2018 12:34:22 EDT

What the surge of nonstop coast-to-coast flights says about the state of flying in the U.S.

On Your Next Trip, Leave the Pets at Home

Tue, 20 Mar 2018 17:52:55 EDT

Flying on airlines with your four-legged family members really isn’t a smart idea, Middle Seat columnist Scott McCartney writes.

Is This the Start of Better Airport Shopping in the U.S.?

Wed, 14 Mar 2018 18:12:17 EDT

Major airports around the world have essentially become shopping malls with gates. Now, the U.S. is finally starting to catch up, with airports finding ways to improve duty-free stores in the same way they upgraded restaurants and basic amenities like power outlets.

A New Antidote for Noisy Airports: Slower Planes

Wed, 07 Mar 2018 17:04:08 EST

How 30 extra seconds and a few more gallons of fuel could make a big difference for neighbors plugging their ears in Boston and other cities.

Airport Security Screening Goes to School

Wed, 28 Feb 2018 17:39:09 EST

At Northeastern University’s homeland security institute, volunteers go through mock airport screening over and over to help perfect video-surveillance software designed to automatically track passengers and their belongings through security checkpoints.

Why an American Airlines Monopoly Works for Charlotte

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 00:18:31 EST

In contrast to many cities luring low-cost competitors to their airports, Charlotte, N.C., has stuck with a dominant carrier, accepting high prices in exchange for plentiful flights.

How Much of Your $355 Ticket Is Profit for Airlines?

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 19:30:05 EST

For airlines, it still takes a lot to make a little. Tickets cover costs, but baggage fees, seat fees, reservation-change fees and just about every other nickel-and-diming that aggravates customers are what boost the bottom line.

Crack Your Flight's Complicated Code-Share

Wed, 31 Jan 2018 20:12:42 EST

Headaches happen when airlines put their names on another carrier’s flight. Here’s how to avoid confusion with seat assignments and more.

Why Flying Has Never Been Safer

Wed, 24 Jan 2018 18:51:16 EST

Technical improvements, new regulations and changes in corporate culture, combined with plain luck, help explain why last year was the safest year ever for air travel, with zero passenger airline fatal accidents world-wide.

Hate Basic Economy Fares? More Are Coming

Wed, 09 Aug 2017 23:08:04 EDT

Passengers may grumble, but Delta, United and American like the early results of the restriction-heavy tickets enough to expand them.

That Airline Seat You Paid for Isn't Yours

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 17:05:15 EDT

Frustrated fliers discover that paying for a preferred seat on a flight guarantees them nothing.

A New Perk for Frugal Business Travelers

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 12:05:16 EDT

Upside Travel, a new company from Priceline’s founder, bets you’ll book their flight and hotel packages if there’s a form of cash in it for you.

Hope for Faster Airport Security

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 11:52:24 EDT

Two changes in the screening process now being tested could end nuisances like laptop bans and the 3-ounce rule.

The Best and Worst Coach Seats on U.S. Airlines

Wed, 14 Jun 2017 20:32:56 EDT

The space between seats on planes has never been tighter, though some carriers are resisting taking more legroom away.

Even Elite Frequent Fliers Find Fewer Perks

Wed, 07 Jun 2017 20:09:43 EDT

Flying 100,000 miles a year won’t guarantee regular upgrades to business or first class anymore, Scott McCartney writes.

Should You Beware the Air You Breathe on Planes?

Wed, 31 May 2017 21:00:58 EDT

Despite the occasional odd odor, the air quality in cabins may actually be better than you think, Scott McCartney writes.

The Best (and Worst) Frequent-Flier Programs

Thu, 18 May 2017 04:25:58 EDT

Southwest and JetBlue outperform larger U.S. and foreign competitors with more generous programs, while American lags behind again, Scott McCartney finds.

What to Expect for Summer Travel

Wed, 10 May 2017 23:41:20 EDT

Bargains abound overseas, but you’ll likely have to spend more in the U.S., with a strong dollar and Trump administration rules among the factors, Scott McCartney writes.

How Airlines Shrank Coach

Wed, 15 Apr 2015 19:28:34 EDT

The Middle Seat: U.S. airlines’ shift to smaller, single-aisle jets for many domestic flights packs in first- and business-class seats but leaves fewer coach seats and cheap fares.

Why More Airports Are Luring International Flights

Wed, 08 Apr 2015 20:37:52 EDT

In Houston, Bush Intercontinental and Hobby airports are swiftly expanding to compete for overseas travelers and drive down fares.

The Best Way to Find an Airfare Online

Sun, 05 Apr 2015 23:43:28 EDT

Booking a flight gets more complicated with Expedia’s mergers and Google’s entry into the fray, Scott McCartney writes.

Is More Entertainment Worth Less Legroom on Your Flight?

Wed, 25 Mar 2015 20:38:12 EDT

New systems in bulky boxes eat away at the space in front of your seat, Scott McCartney reports.

The Best Summer to Go to Europe

Mon, 23 Mar 2015 10:48:41 EDT

Exchange rates make trips to Paris, Rome and other popular spots friendlier for U.S. travelers, writes Scott McCartney.

The Story Behind Your Flight Cancellation

Wed, 11 Mar 2015 19:12:20 EDT

The Middle Seat: Scott McCartney breaks down the flights airlines are likeliest to spike first and the fastest ways to get where you’re going.

The Guide to Round-the-World Tickets

Thu, 07 Aug 2014 14:14:08 EDT

Fliers find more options for taking the circular route home, with plenty of stops along the way.

When an Airplane Needs a Taxi

Sun, 26 Jan 2014 19:02:50 EST

New devices aim to boost fuel efficiency and save passengers time at the airport gate.

The Low-Tech Security Risk: Pickpockets

Thu, 20 Sep 2012 14:32:51 EDT

The age-old problems of pickpocketing and purse snatching are alive and well in several popular tourist destinations, police and other experts say.

Airlines Threaten to Cancel Flights

Thu, 11 Mar 2010 11:52:10 EST

Airlines are threatening to cancel scores of flights in response to new rules that give fliers more rights.

Airline Fees Are Here to Stay

Tue, 23 Sep 2008 17:59:00 EDT

Though oil prices are falling, airline passengers aren't likely to see any fee relief.

Cuts in Service Bring a Little Relief

Tue, 16 Sep 2008 11:17:00 EDT

Big changes in the nation's air traffic this summer are starting to improve fliers' experience.

Bigger Airlines Worse With Bags

Fri, 12 Sep 2008 18:11:00 EDT

The big airlines are the ones most likely to lose your luggage. Over the last decade, United, American and Delta have the worst baggage-handling records among major airlines.

Minimum Stays Are Revived

Thu, 21 Aug 2008 18:35:00 EDT

Get ready for a wave of airline rules requiring you to stay at your destination a minimum number of days or over a Saturday night -- if you want the cheapest tickets. The move is an effort to force business travelers to pay more for flights.

Is Your Boss Spying on Your Upgrades?

Wed, 13 Aug 2008 20:20:00 EDT

Companies trying to cut travel costs are stepping up efforts to enforce corporate travel policies. A new breed of electronic tools let travel managers ferret out offenders without having to manually scour expense reports.

The Latest Hot Spot Is on the Plane

Tue, 05 Aug 2008 20:40:00 EDT

Delta will provide Wi-Fi access throughout its entire domestic fleet. Airlines have debated for years over what new technology to install in planes and the winner appears to be Internet hot spots. For travelers, this can be a mixed blessing.

A Posher Domestic First Class

Wed, 30 Jul 2008 20:37:00 EDT

In 2004, United launched an experiment converting all flights for its most-important routes into a premium service called United p.s. Many passengers love the service, and it shows that U.S. travelers will pay extra for a better seat, even if it isn't the cheapest fare.

How US Airways Vaulted to First Place

Wed, 23 Jul 2008 19:04:00 EDT

Last year, US Airways was worst among major airlines in on-time performance in the U.S. So far this year, it's No. 1. It's proof that even under adverse conditions, airlines can run on-time if they are well-run. Here's what US Airways is doing right.

Yearning for the Glam Days of Flying

Wed, 16 Jul 2008 11:17:00 EDT

The 1960s Broadway revival "Boeing Boeing" channels a feeling of nostalgia for the bygone days when flying was enjoyable. With the hassles and unpredictability of air travel today, more and more fliers long for what flying once was.

Flying This Summer Isn't Any Better

Thu, 10 Jul 2008 21:39:00 EDT

After last summer's travel nightmare, airlines and the federal government promised that things would be better this year. But, so far, summer travel is still a mess -- a result of bad weather, financially strained airlines and major air-traffic congestion.

Another Reason Fliers May Feel Like Victims

Mon, 07 Jul 2008 23:53:00 EDT

Many foreign airlines refund taxes, fees and fuel surcharges on canceled nonrefundable tickets. But the U.S. levies the taxes at the point of purchase, refunding only if the fare is fully refundable.

For Fliers, 'Open Skies' Start Is Slow

Thu, 26 Jun 2008 14:22:00 EDT

Ending government limits on flights between the U.S. and Europe was supposed to ignite lots of new competition and offer consumers cheaper fares across the Atlantic. Headlines heralded a "boom in trans-Atlantic travel." But so far, the "Open Skies" treaty has stimulated only a couple of new flights.

A Battle Looms for the Overhead Bins

Wed, 18 Jun 2008 17:19:00 EDT

As airlines prepare to start collecting fees on checked luggage, they are also getting ready to strictly enforce limits on carry-on baggage, worsening the battle for overhead-bin space.

Flying Stinks -- Especially for Airlines

Thu, 12 Jun 2008 21:17:00 EDT

Few consumers know how much they are paying for gas when they fly on an airline. It turns out to be shockingly high at today's prices -- well more than half the cost of the average ticket on many routes.

What Airline Cutbacks Mean

Fri, 06 Jun 2008 18:16:00 EDT

As airlines thin fleets and trim routes, travelers can expect full planes and ever-higher fares. Video

How to Travel Smart This Summer

Tue, 27 May 2008 21:48:00 EDT

The biggest change that vacationers will find at the airport this summer is the additional costs to travel before you take off. As the summer travel season kicks off this week with crowded airports, packed planes and nervous travelers, here are some tips to make it all easier.

AMR's Bag Fee Just the Beginning for Travelers

Thu, 22 May 2008 10:53:00 EDT

Before you get too upset about airlines slapping a $15 fee to check just one piece of luggage, know this: Oil prices are just killing airlines. And until prices come down, travelers can expect more of the same.

Letting Fliers Buy Protection Against Delays

Wed, 21 May 2008 11:39:00 EDT

Summer travelers worried about getting stranded at an airport because of storms, missed connections and canceled flights have new ways to protect themselves -- for a fee.

Getting in Line: Fliers Self-Sort at Security

Tue, 13 May 2008 17:47:00 EDT

In an effort to ease traveler anxiety and maybe even improve airport security, the TSA is rolling out a new setup where fliers are asked to self-segregate into different screening lanes depending on their security prowess. But not everyone is a believer.

Flying Foul: Passengers Behaving Badly

Wed, 07 May 2008 17:08:00 EDT

People do things on airplanes that they would never do in other public settings. They pluck eyebrows, polish nails, pick noses and worse. One reason may be the decline in air service.

Airlines Address Long Waits -- Sort Of

Thu, 01 May 2008 19:25:00 EDT

Airlines and airports say they have new procedures to prevent prolonged delays aboard airplanes, and the number of planes left sitting for three hours or more has recently declined. But there's a trade-off: more cancellations.

Fuel Costs Affect Travelers' Options

Tue, 25 Mar 2008 00:35:00 EDT

As oil prices rise, airlines are cutting less-profitable flights, leaving travelers with fewer options at higher prices – and undermining unique operations such as the Las Vegas "midnight hub" operated by US Airways.

Virgin Puts Biofuels on Maiden Voyage

Tue, 11 Mar 2008 15:53:00 EDT

Airlines are under mounting pressure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. As a result, airlines are now realizing that environmental issues may be the greatest threat to the future growth of air travel.

Pilot-Tower Tapes Trigger Debate

Mon, 25 Sep 2006 15:18:00 EDT

British Airways' decision to continue a fully loaded L.A.-to-London flight despite losing an engine seconds after takeoff -- surprising air-traffic controllers -- renewed attention on an age-old issue in aviation: safety versus economics.