A thief stole a laptop containing information on 33,000 applicants to the Clear Registered Traveler Program from the company's office in the San Francisco International airport. Clear allows travelers to register for a $128 fee and bypass security lines with a biometric ID card. The TSA temporarily halted new customers from joining Clear until the company notifies customers and puts new security measures in place.
Several foreign carriers are expanding as U.S. airlines curtail capacity and cut routes to offset soaring fuel prices. Foreign carriers, such as Emirates, fly more international routes, while two-thirds of routes flown by U.S. carriers are domestic. Experts note fares on international flights are higher and the flights more profitable.
One company already has three bags on the market that allow travelers to keep their laptops in their computer bags as they pass through security checkpoints, The New York Times' Joe Sharkey writes. The TSA is now training screeners to recognize the new bags. Several manufacturers expect to have such products on the market by September.
New low-cost carriers may fill the void left by major airlines cutting capacity and service, according to a Government Accountability Office report. The report points to the open-skies agreement that has liberalized the international markets as an example of competition leading to lower fares. The report did note that the higher cost of fuel might prevent new low-cost carriers from entering the market.
Some Democrats at risk of losing their seats are backing offshore drilling, but most believe any votes before Bush leaves office will be moot. Democrats do not see a strong need to make concessions on energy policy when they may have a Democratic president in the White House soon. Congress must vote on the drilling moratorium by Sept. 30 before it expires.