About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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With all of the awful

With all of the awful changes in airline fare rules in most cases set to go into effect on January 1, 2003, it’s worth noting that America West has not crossed over to the dark side. Combined with an outstanding elite program, they just may earn some of my business next year.

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An interesting article

An interesting article suggests that CAPS, the government’s terrorist profiling system used in aviation security, is less effective than random screening. Since you know if your carry-ons have been manually inspected, you’ve been questioned, you’re asked to stand in a special line, or if you’ve been frisked, you know your CAPS profile — or at least you know what you aren’t, which makes it very easy to defeat CAPS, even if the profile itself is always kept secret.

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Bureaucrat openly defends the practice

Bureaucrat openly defends the practice of payoffs. At trial, a Philadelphia plumbing inspector describes taking money from plumbers whose work he was checking as “tipping” which is simply “part of the trade.” Angry and unapologetic, a former Philadelphia plumbing inspector yesterday defended accepting cash from plumbers whose work he checked. Joseph O’Malley told a federal jury that these “tips” never influenced him and, under probing questioning by a prosecutor, gave a candid portrait of a workday that sometimes included hours spent in a local pub or cruising around Roosevelt Park to rack up mileage on his car. Testifying in his defense in the racketeering and extortion trial of eight former inspectors, O’Malley called “tipping” a “part of the trade” that city plumbers learned as apprentices. “Is there any question that when you got paid by…

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Bad decision-making at the TSA.

Bad decision-making at the TSA. The Transportation Security Administration awarded a $28 million contract for a private screening program at Kansas City airport to a bankrupt firm that was fired by Southwest Airlines. Before the TSA, the airlines contracted for security and when the security firm didn’t follow all federal standards, instead of penalizing the security firm or taking away the security firm’s license so the airline couldn’t use them, the government fined the airline(s) that hired them. Here, the government awards a $28 million contract to the same firm Southwest fired for incompetence — and the same firm that Southwest was in essence fined Southwest for hiring. (Thanks to LoneStarMike of FlyerTalk.)

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