Travel News: Airline Passenger Rights Get a Boost, Unclaimed Baggage Goes to Charity, and a Spooky New Halloween Tradition Is Born

Crowded airportAn airport corridor crowded with passengers.
Lukasz Kasperek

There’s a great big world out there, and our latest “news you can use” may inspire a trip you never knew you needed.

If you care about getting more legroom in coach, traveling with furry friends or kids, and your overall rights as an airline passenger, this week’s big travel news will be sure to lift your mood.

AIRLINE PASSENGER RIGHTS GET A BOOST

Remember all those hassle-free on-time flights you've taken recently? Um... neither do we. But help may be on the way. The Senate just passed a measure that, if signed into law, would give airline passengers’ rights a much-needed boost. Highlights include:

  • Passengers who have boarded a plane cannot be “bumped.” (You may recall that incidents of seated passengers being asked to leave the plane can turn ugly.)
  • Cell phone calls are prohibited between takeoff and landing. (Just because you have access to in-flight Wi-Fi doesn't mean you have the right to jibber-jabber on your phone.)
  • Pregnant passengers and families with babies and small children will have the right to early boarding and increased access to airport breastfeeding and diaper-changing areas.
  • Passengers can check a stroller at the gate.
  • It will be illegal to stow an animal in an overhead bin. (Duh, we thought that should have been obvious, but now it's the law.)
  • The FAA will establish a minimum seat size (to address the “shrinking seat” trend).

UNCLAIMED BAGGAGE GOES TO CHARITY

Did you know that lost airline luggage is helping hundreds of thousands of people? It's all thanks to the Unclaimed Baggage Center, in Scottsboro, Ala., and its Reclaimed for Good program. More than 1 million lost items arrive at the Unclaimed Baggage Center annually. If the airlines cannot reunite the baggage with its owner after 90 days, the Unclaimed Baggage Center purchases it (and the airline reimburses passengers for lost baggage) and partners with multiple charities, including donating nearly one-third of these unclaimed items to Reclaimed for Good, which in turn donates an array of useful items to organizations that assist families, seniors, people with disabilities, and children in need. Learn more about the Unclaimed Baggage Center store, opportunities to “shop for a cause” during the holidays (or any time), and the Reclaimed for Good program at unclaimedbaggage.com.

A SPOOKY NEW HALLOWEEN TRADITION IN SLEEPY HOLLOW, NY

As if the name “Sleepy Hollow” wasn’t already spine-tingling enough, a brand-new haunting creative collaboration in the New York village’s historic Philipsburg Manor debuts this Halloween season. “The Unsilent Picture” is an original silent film starring Tony-Award-winning actor/dancer/clown Bill Irwin (perhaps best known as Mister Noodle on Sesame Street) accompanied by live musicians and special effects. Running October 5 through Halloween and inspired by Washington Irving’s spooky tale “The Adventure of the Mysterious Picture,” the film can easily be combined with a visit to the annual Horseman's Hollow fright fest on the grounds of Philipsburg Manor. Learn more at hudsonvalley.org.

More From Budget Travel

Related Content