Thanksgiving Special: Air Travel Innovations

Add to that the fact that most airlines have greatly reduced the number of seats in the air -- and, have retired aging aircraft (United said goodbye to its last Boeing 737 in October) and the sky is greener by default.

One idea I'm not so sure of, is a little experiment in carbon emissions reduction conducted by All Nippon Airways: earlier this fall, they asked passengers to empty their bladders before boarding, to reduce the overall weight of the plane, and fuel usage, and … you see where this is going. Yikes.

5. Security Synchronization -- 2 Cranberries

Honestly, I think this latest TSA rule is a good one: names on airline tickets should match government ID. Sounds simple, right? Well, so far, the airlines are struggling with it, as are passengers -- especially fliers with hyphenated names or ID's that include middle names or titles. The airlines, it seems, are getting their computers up to speed to deal with this, and we need to be patient. Okay …

6. The Surcharge Shuffle -- 1 Cranberry

I get it, I really do: the airlines need to make more money, so they've added "peak travel day" surcharges on the most booked days. There's been no huge uproar -- after all, the surcharges are mostly in the $10 to $30 range, so it's not going to break the bank and they are folded into the price of the ticket, so it's not as painful as say, a bag fee or a fee for "extra legroom." Still, there's a feeling that, true or not, the airlines somehow "put one over" on the passengers. I know: it was business, not personal.

But it doesn't help that passengers are still steaming about bag fees. Sure, they pay them. But that doesn't mean they don't still steam about them.

7. Passenger Pushback -- 3 Cranberries

Occasionally over the past year, passengers have taken matters into their own hands, with varying results. There was Dave Carroll, the Canadian singer-songwriter who wound up with a broken guitar after a United flight, and created a hilarious music video that finally spurred the airline to make amends. Carroll became famous, and later flew to Denver to address a group of customer reps. Nothing broken on this particular flight -- but the airline did lose his bag. Here comes another video, United. (He was eventually reunited with the luggage.)

Then there was the inebriated passenger who took matters into her own hands when the airline cut off her alcohol supply: she allegedly began quaffing the lavatory's liquid soap, and…oh, well, let's just say that was a "fail" effort at pushback.

Happy Thanksgiving to all … and enjoy those cranberries!

This work is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.

Rick Seaney is one of the country's leading experts on airfare, giving interviews and analysis to news organizations, including ABC News, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, The Associated Press and Bloomberg. His Web site offers consumers free, new-generation software, combined with expert insider tips to find the best airline ticket deal.

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