Six Reasons to Get on a Plane this Summer

And Iron Man LaHood is no slouch when it comes to enforcement: Rule-breaking airlines will be fined at a rate of $27,500 per passenger (for a plane with 130 passengers that works out to more than $3.5 million).

Plus, LaHood and the FAA have pushed hard for NextGen GPS technology instead of the old, 1940s era radar technology still in use by our air traffic control system, and the Obama administration has said, "get going." At long last, some modern equipment -- and a higher level of safety -- is coming.

#4: The Great Fee Drop

Let me be clear: Bag fees aren't going down, but these days any fee drop is good news, so we can thank Frontier and Delta.

Frontier has dropped that annoying $25 phone fee for those of you who like to make reservations the old fashioned way. Even better, the airline has lowered its "change fee" for those who wish to alter itineraries, from $100 to a mere 50 bucks. Some airlines charge $150 for this "privilege."

And now, frequent fliers get a break from Delta: The airline dropped its frankly nonsensical $150 fee to "redeem award tickets" for those who want to make reservations and fly within three weeks. Finally, you can get a spur-of-the-moment trip out of your miles.

The contrarian: Europe's discount airline Ryanair, meanwhile, has actually raised bag fees, for July and August only (when more people want to fly). Summer rates for a first-checked bag rise to about $35 online, or about $60 at the airport. And yes, those are one-way fees.

#5: On-Time Rates Up

Worried about missing a connection or sitting on a delayed flight that prevents you from joining the Fourth of July festivities? It could still happen, but the odds against delayed flights are improving.

According to the latest numbers from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, airlines reported an overall on-time April flight rate of 85 percent, which isn't perfect, but it sure beats the 80 percent rate for March. Even better: The percentage of flights that were delayed on the tarmac for three hours or more was a minuscule .001 percent in April. Call that the "Iron Man" effect.

#6: Airport Security: "We're Catching Some People"

Indeed they are, like the Delta flight attendant who was arrested on misdemeanor charges last week for allegedly attempting to pass through security at the Indianapolis Airport with a loaded semi-automatic Glock in her carry on luggage. As of this writing, it's not clear if what if anything will happen in this case, but to anyone who tries to bring weapons through security, I say: no pizza for you.

This work is the opinion of the columnist and does not reflect the opinion of ABC News.

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

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