Stay away from USAirways. They’ve

Stay away from USAirways. They’ve made several policy changes that make it difficult for me to fly them. If you don’t use a nonrefundable ticket, you can’t just save it and apply the value to a future purchase (less a change fee). Instead, you now have to make your change before the original flight leaves or you lose all value from the ticket. Discounted fares will no longer count towards elite status beginning January 1, 2003. Standby will no longer be permitted on nonrefundable tickets. No more free alcoholic beverages in coach on transatlantic flights. Frankly, I’ll just be choosing someone else to fly — period.

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Northwest has a new promotion

Northwest has a new promotion that can earn you up to 200,000 miles for your travel. It’s really geared to travelers paying higher fares, but there’s a few thousand miles here and there for the rest of us. Head off to the link, though, because it does require signup.

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15 Minutes of Training: the

15 Minutes of Training: the TSA violates federal law? The Transportation Security Administration’s “elite” baggage screening team — which travels from airport to airport as the TSA takes over security — started work after only 15 minutes of training. They weren’t tested or certified on the equipment. This despite a requirement in the Aviation and Transportation Security Act which requires all “security screeners” have a minimum 40 hours classroom and 60 hours on-the-job training… which would be more than enough to learn to operate the machines, but probably not enough to learn to detect explosives. Mineta’s TSA is clearly not ready for primetime. They aim to deploy more than 50,000 federal passenger and baggage screeners and install thousands of luggage-screening machines at U.S. airports before year-end — screeners who are apparently less qualified than the…

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Rental Car Discounts

More on discounted rental cars. First, do a search on Orbitz because it will do a fairly comprehensive survey of different companies and different types of cars quickly. This will ballpark a price for you that you will then want to beat. Then go to Avis.com. There are a few tricks to get better deals. First, as I’ve mentioned before, you can use the Amateur Sports Assistance Program discount (which works out to 20% most of the time for me, but sometimes as much as 50%). Just enter D002807 in the “Avis Worldwide Discount (AWD)” field. You get a discount, and Avis gives credits for free rental days to Olympic hopefuls. That’s the most useful standy code. However, some other useful ones to try are K753401 ($25/day on a compact car via British Airways —…

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Discounted travel

A brief discourse on how to find the best travel deals. Sign up for the automatic fare notification services offered by Travelocity and Expedia. You tell them what cities to watch for, and they’ll email you when the price changes. Sometimes price changes only last for a few hours, so it’s nice to have someone else on the lookout for you. Also, when you look for one of the fares they’ve found, they’ll present you with a calendar of availability. That’s nice because an airfare is only good if you can get it — and these services will help you get it. Check for special airfare deals at Digital City. The link here is to the Washington, DC list — but you can go there and switch to another city. They track deals better than…

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We’re closing in on 3000

We’re closing in on 3000 unique visitors today. We’re at 2900 with just over an hour and a half to go — but we’ve slowed down to 40 or so in the last hour. I think we’re just going to miss it. It’s sure been exciting to see all of you — hope you liked it, and that some of you will come back!

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