FROM Ben Mutzabaugh
American-US Air Cleared to Merge into World's Largest Airline A bankruptcy judge has approved settlement of a case brought by the Justice Department, paving the way for creation of the world's largest airline. It's a merger between American and US Airways. Ben Mutzabaugh, travel reporter for USA Today , has an update.
FCC Considering Cell Phone Use in the Air The new head of the Federal Communications Commission says it may be time to lift the ban on cell phones in passenger airplanes. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler says it's time for a second look at a rule he calls "outdated and restrictive" now that "modern technologies can deliver mobile services in the air safely and reliably." Ben Mutzabaugh, travel reporter for USA Today , says the proposal is getting mixed reviews.
Is American Air Travel on the Descent? On this first day of the busiest week for air travel in the United States, the airline industry has reached a new low in popularity with flying customers. Using the Public Insight Network, we asked our radio listeners for their opinions. We hear how the flying experience has changed as an industry with narrow profit margins struggles to meet public demand. This story was informed in part from sources in the Public Insight Network, find out more: www.kcrw.com/insight
Is American Air Travel on the Descent? It's been a pretty good year for the airline industry, despite those loose seat rows on American Airlines' planes. On this first day of the busiest week for air travel in the United States, now comes the holiday crunch. Ticket prices are higher, more planes are going to be full, and there could be more lost baggage. Combined with delays caused by the TSA, many air travelers have come to dread an experience they used to look forward to. Passengers complain that service is being sacrificed for the bottom line, but will they pay more to get style and comfort? What's the impact of airline mergers and the outsourcing of maintenance? This story was informed in part from sources in the Public Insight Network, find out more: www.kcrw.com/insight
Taking Stock of Superstorm Sandy Millions of Americans are feeling the brunt of one of the worst storms ever to strike the East Coast. Sandy is making its way across Pennsylvania toward Canada, after leaving a trail of destruction and death along the East Coast. We survey the damage, especially in lower Manhattan, where high winds and flooding have taken a serious toll. How long will power out for millions of people? Has Sandy demonstrated the vulnerability of the Grid? What about transportation — from flooded subways to international air travel?
Congressional Stand-off on FAA Funding Bill The Federal Aviation Administration may face a partial shutdown on Friday. Nineteen stop-gap funding extensions already have been required, but a twentieth has yet to be agreed on. House Republicans and Senate Democrats are accusing each other of refusing to negotiate about the FAA. Industry spokesmen say funding delays are jeopardizing airport expansion and modernization, and threatening jobs and economic activity. Ben Mutzabaugh, travel reporter for USA Today , says the FAA might have to furlough 4000 workers if there's no agreement tomorrow.
East Coast Digs Out but Airport Delays Persist There have been seven thousand cancelled flights since Sunday, resulting in tens of thousands of passengers re-booking their travel plans. Airlines are struggling to get back on track after the weekend blizzard, but that could take days. Brian Mutzabaugh is a travel reporter for USA Today .
Airline Security: Nine Years after September 11 Some $40 billion worth of security measures were defeated on Christmas Day when a man boarded an airplane with explosives sewn into his underwear. New procedures announced since Friday have already been revised as the Obama Administration struggles to reassure the traveling public. Today, the President vowed to "continue to use every element of our national power to disrupt, to dismantle and defeat the violent extremists who threaten us, whether they are from Afghanistan or Pakistan, Yemen or Somalia, or anywhere where they are plotting attacks" against the US. We hear what it's like now to fly into the US. Will high-tech scanners or behavioral profiling be the wave of the future? Is Yemen now a greater threat to the US than Afghanistan?
Winter Weather Turns on Travelers The Christmas spirit and other forms of good cheer are under serious challenge in many parts of this country. That's because of bad weather, which has caused travel problems for a week and a half with today likely the worst of all. Ben Mutzabaugh keeps track of it all for USA Today .
The Trump agenda: where's the beef? President Trump says big things are happening. After celebrating a House bill on health care, he doesn’t yet have Senate agreement. With James Comey’s public testimony scheduled tomorrow, the President today tweeted his selection of a new FBI Director. Is the Chief Executive all style and no substance? Later, terror attacks in Iran and conflicting claims about who’s behind them.
Replacing Obamacare: Now you see it… now you don’t As the Senate deliberates replacing Obmacare, health coverage for millions of people is at stake. There've been no public hearings, and a draft measure won't be made public. Is the House version so unpopular that that Senate is hiding a version that looks much the same?
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.
Ex-FBI Director Comey tells his side of the story Today, former FBI Director James Comey came close to calling the President who fired him a liar. The White House denied the claim and called it insulting, but Republican Senators did not challenge Comey’s truthfulness. Many questions remain: did the President try to obstruct a federal investigation? Later, we’ll go behind the “velvet rope” for a look at 5-Star health care for the richest Americans.