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Changes Coming For Airline Travelers in 2018

by Countable | 1.3.18

What’s the story?

A variety of changes are coming for airline travelers in the new year. Here’s a quick rundown of what you can expect if you take to the skies in 2018, per the Wall Street Journal.

More seats, less room: Airlines, including American, United and Southwest, will be adding planes with more seats, but the seats will be smaller at only 30 inches wide.

ID changes: Only 27 states plus the District of Columbia are currently compliant with a 2005 law requiring states to update their identity verification procedures when issuing driver’s licenses. Starting as soon as January 22 airport authorities could stop accepting driver’s licenses in New York, Michigan and Louisiana. Other non-compliant states have an extension until October. Travelers should bring passports to be safe.

No more boarding passes: For those states with ID compliance, or for those passengers with passports, the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) will be expanding their use of PreCheck machines, which allow you to check in with just ID instead of needing a boarding pass.

Stricter rules for carry-ons: All electronic devices larger than a cellphone are expected to be removed from carry-ons and placed in bins when bags are scanned to allow x-ray of bag contents to be more accurate.

No more checking ‘smart’ bags: Some travelers now check so-called ‘smart bags’, which contain GPS tracking devices and other location technology, but the lithium batteries are now considered a fire hazard by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Major carriers, including American, Delta, Southwest, Alaska and others will only allow checking of smart bags if the batteries are removed, rendering their tracking capabilities inoperable. Similarly, ‘smart bags’ can be carried on, but only if the batteries are removable.

Premium Economy class: Travelers who put a premium on having more space will now be able to purchase seats in ‘premium economy’ class on American and Delta. Think of it as business economy class before lie-flat beds. Those tickets will cost between $700 to $2000 more than the ever-shrinking economy seats.

Facial scans for international travelers: Despite privacy concerns, TSA is expanding a pilot program involving biometric facial scans of travelers through international terminals to all U.S. airports to aid in identity checks.

What do you think?

Will you be traveling by air in 2018? Which of these changes will affect you? Do you support these changes if they impact safety or ticket cost, or not?

Tell us in the comments what you think, then use the Take Action button to tell your reps!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Pixabay / Creative Commons)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(16)
  • Mary
    01/03/2018
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    Oh hell Yes! Let's cram more bodies into the tin can. People can barely move now. I cannot believe adding more will increase safety. Even in a normal landing it can take 20 minutes or more to get off the plane. Imagine an emergency. Does anyone in the world of business think about nothing but outrageous profit. Greed!

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  • Donna
    01/04/2018
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    I thought the airline industry was part of the service economy. What part of service do they not understand? Passengers are already frazzled by the time they get on the plane due to the cattle car treatment we get at the security checks and during the actual boarding process. Cramming even more people into the same amount of space seems inhumane to me. Didn't Congress just propose legislation to improve the conditions at breeding farms for puppies? How about applying that same mentality to the treatment of humans by airlines? It should not always be profit above all else.

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  • Dara
    01/04/2018
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    Deregulation of this industry was the worse thing for passengers, safety, and cost. Oh that’s right the Nixon administration was responsible for this decision. All airline companies and republicans saw was money in their pockets. Deplorable.

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  • Sam
    01/03/2018
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    Pilot here, and many of these new regs are not unfounded. Lithium batteries are a big concern, especially after the Note 7 debacle. In addition, you get what you pay for is especially true in this industry, so if the quality of air travel is to improve, we must stop buying he cheapest tickets, which encourages their behavior towards the sardine effect.

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  • IllWill
    01/03/2018
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    More seats, but less space?!? Seems like these airlines are just trying to pack us into these planes as if we’re just cargo. It’s pretty clear that they have little respect for their customers. They’re just trying to squeeze an ever larger amount of money out of us. More profit for the airlines, less comfort for everyone else unless you’re willing to pay $700 to $2000 more!

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  • Timothy
    01/04/2018
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    The hell with it. If I can’t get there by car or train, I’m not going.

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  • Catherine
    01/03/2018
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    What are we passengers going to do! What happened to the friendly sky’s? I used to fly at least twice a year internationally but not much fun anymore. Our passenger rights need to be respected it can’t be all about profit for the airlines!

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  • Diana
    01/04/2018
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    I’m ok with almost everything except less seating space. I’m only 5’1” and I feel squeezed in. I can’t even imagine how a taller or bigger person must feel. And it’s practically impossible to get up and move around because the aisles are so narrow. . Also I wish we’d go back to fewer fare classes and all inclusive fares. All this nickel and dimeing is causing chaos at the airports. The foreign airlines are far superior to the US ones

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  • Danielle
    01/06/2018
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    Antitrust laws need to be applied to the airline industry. Just three companies own all the airlines we have access to and they can do whatever they want. Soon, only the rich will be able to fly. This is unconscionable. You need to address this issue.

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  • Paul
    01/07/2018
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    As if the TSA’s treatment isn’t degrading enough. Open wide for another generous serving of corporate airline greed at the expense of the traveler; but eat slow, there’s plenty more where that come from.

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  • Azrael
    01/04/2018
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    Follow the money

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  • Sheryl
    01/07/2018
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    Airplane travel has just crossed the point for me where it’s just not worth it anymore. I will visit on Skype & travel on the Travel Channel. Count THIS as the tipping point where airlines lost the average passenger.

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  • HockeyGuy
    01/08/2018
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    Airlines MUST be regulated!!! They have proven and continue to prove they are in business to make money while screwing the general public!

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  • Michael n angie
    01/16/2018
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    READ, WEEP, PRINT AND KEEP! This should be on the front page of every newspaper. Charley Reese's Final column! A very interesting column. COMPLETELY NEUTRAL. Be sure to Read the Poem at the end.. Charley Reese's final column for the Orlando Sentinel... He has been a journalist for 49 years. He is retiring and this is HIS LAST COLUMN. Be sure to read the Tax List at the end. This is about as clear and easy to understand as it can be. The article below is completely neutral, neither anti-republican or democrat. Charlie Reese, a retired reporter for the Orlando Sentinel, has hit the nail directly on the head, defining clearly who it is that in the final analysis must assume responsibility for the judgments made that impact each one of us every day. It's a short but good read. Worth the time. Worth remembering! 545 vs. 300,000,000 People -By Charlie Reese Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them. Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits? Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes? You and I don't propose a federal budget. The President does. You and I don't have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does. You and I don't write the tax code, Congress does. You and I don't set fiscal policy, Congress does. You and I don't control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does. One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one President, and nine Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country. I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank. I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a President to do one cotton-picking thing. I don't care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator's responsibility to determine how he votes. Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party. What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits.. ( The President can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.) The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the speaker of the House?( John Boehner. He is the leader of the majority party. He and fellow House members, not the President, can approve any budget they want. ) If the President vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to. [The House has passed a budget but the Senate has not approved a budget in over three years. The President's proposed budgets have gotten almost unanimous rejections in the Senate in that time. ] It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted -- by present facts -- of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can't think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist. If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair. If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red. If the Army & Marines are in Iraq and Afghanistan it's because they want them in Iraq and Afghanistan .. If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it's because they want it that way. There are no insoluble government problems. Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power. Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like "the economy," "inflation," or "politics" that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do. Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible. They, and they alone, have the power. They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses. Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees... We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess! Charlie Reese is a former columnist of the Orlando Sentinel Newspaper. What you do with this article now that you have read it... is up to you. This might be funny if it weren't so true. Be sure to read all the way to the end: Tax his land, Tax his bed, Tax the table, At which he's fed. Tax his tractor, Tax his mule, Teach him taxes Are the rule. Tax his work, Tax his pay, He works for peanuts anyway! Tax his cow, Tax his goat, Tax his pants, Tax his coat. Tax his ties, Tax his shirt, Tax his work, Tax his dirt. Tax his tobacco, Tax his drink, Tax him if he Tries to think. Tax his cigars, Tax his beers, If he cries Tax his tears. Tax his car, Tax his gas, Find other ways To tax his ass. Tax all he has Then let him know That you won't be done Till he has no dough. When he screams and hollers; Then tax him some more, Tax him till He's good and sore. Then tax his coffin, Tax his grave, Tax the sod in Which he's laid... Put these words Upon his tomb, 'Taxes drove me to my doom...' When he's gone, Do not relax, Its time to apply The inheritance tax. Accounts Receivable Tax Building Permit Tax CDL license Tax Cigarette Tax Corporate Income Tax Dog License Tax Excise Taxes Federal Income Tax Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA) Fishing License Tax Food License Tax Fuel Permit Tax Gasoline Tax (currently 44.75 cents per gallon) Gross Receipts Tax Hunting License Tax Inheritance Tax Inventory Tax IRS Interest Charges IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax) Liquor Tax Luxury Taxes Marriage License Tax Medicare Tax Personal Property Tax Property Tax Real Estate Tax Service Charge Tax Social Security Tax Road Usage Tax Recreational Vehicle Tax Sales Tax School Tax State Income Tax State Unemployment Tax (SUTA) Telephone Federal Excise Tax Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Taxes Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax Telephone Recurring and Nonrecurring Charges Tax Telephone State and Local Tax Telephone Usage Charge Tax Utility Taxes Vehicle License Registration Tax Vehicle Sales Tax Watercraft Registration Tax Well Permit Tax Workers Compensation Tax STILL THINK THIS IS FUNNY? Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago, & our nation was the most prosperous in the world. We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids. What in the heck happened? Can you spell 'politicians?' I hope this goes around THE USA at least 545 times!!! YOU can help it get there!!! GO AHEAD. . . BE AN AMERICAN!!! SEND THIS TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW Like · · Share · 2 hours ago via mobile ·

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  • Lisa
    06/16/2018
    ···

    Glad that there are still deaf ears on the airline seats getting SMALLER 30” WOW is that the smallest or by 2020 is a new regulation going to take it down to 20” so only children can fly? WTF 🤨 let’s call it what it is, greed it is not in the best interest of the consumer.

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