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airport securityFollowing an outpouring of opposition from flight attendants and government officials, the Transportation Security Administration recently decided to scrap its plan to allow passengers to carry small knives (of 2.36 inches or less) once again on planes — a practice that’s been prohibited since the attacks of September 11, 2001.

It got us thinking: while some travel-related policies are meant to keep us safe — like the in-cabin knife ban that has been upheld — there are others that seem to serve no purpose whatsoever for consumers. Below, we examine four of them.

Currency Conversion Charges
If you’ve ever used your credit card abroad and been hit with fees for currency conversion, you’re not alone. In some cases, the fees are a percentage of the amount charged — which can add up to a heck of a lot if you’re paying for something expensive like a hotel room. Does it really cost anything for card companies to convert the charges, or is it just one more way for them to make money?

The Best Way to Carry Money Overseas

Airport Security Shoe Removal
If I’m wearing tall, cavernous boots that could hide a bomb or stilettos so high they might double as weaponry, I understand this rule; if I’m wearing flip-flops, I don’t. But wait! The TSA is making exceptions of late. If you’re really young or really old, you can leave your shoes on. As we all know, terrorists are only between the ages of 13 and 74.

Nontransferable Tickets
It’s a concept that’s so rigid it serves only to sell more seats on planes. Life happens, and, sure, airlines can accommodate changes … for the right price, of course. Spelled your name wrong during the booking process? Perhaps you’ll get a sympathetic ear on the phone, and you’ll be allowed to change it without too much of a hassle. Or maybe you’ll be forced to pay a change fee or, worse yet, rebook completely. But forget about simply switching the name on your companion ticket if your flaky friend decides she can’t accompany you on that expensive vacation after all.

What Not to Do at the Airport

Mandatory Extra Fees
Raise your hand if you’ve booked a hotel or a rental car for one price and been slapped with “mandatory extras” after the fact. I recently took a trip to the Dominican Republic, where the driving conditions are so perilous that I was forced to pay for insurance on my rental car, even though my insurance provider back in the U.S. had me covered. And let’s not forget about the time I went to Las Vegas with friends, only to be pummeled with a “resort fee” because — gasp! — our hotel had a pool (which, to be honest, is a standard amenity at any hotel worth its salt). Let’s get it straight: if something is “mandatory,” it’s not an “extra” — it’s part of the price.

Which travel policies do you think are silly, unfair or outdated? Post them in the comments.

– written by Ashley Kosciolek

3 Responses to “Knives on Planes and Other Travel Rules That Should Be Cut”

  1. Kaylin says:

    The shoe thing is the biggest one for me… if I recall correctly, the reason we do that is because the shoe bomber back in 02ish? You know, the one who was coming from abroad into the US? Well, did you know that the EU airports (the shoe bomber was coming from England) no longer make you take your shoes off for search? I’ve flown three times (twice within the EU and once from EU to US) in the past 6 months and nada. No shoes off. Started to take them off the first time and was told to keep them on. Oh, and they don’t have those naked body scanner machines over there either.

  2. Aussie Dave says:

    So terrorists don’t fly business class? When I travel with work I sit in business class eating away with my nice shiny (Sharp) cutlery -when we fly on vacation (on same airline) and travel cattle class I get a bundle of plastic eating implements piled on my tray that wouldn’t cut butter which is supposedly what – a deterent to terrorists ? Terrorists obviously only fly cattle class -is that the line of thinking ?

  3. Susan says:

    Why were they so interested in allowing KNIVES back on, when they are still worried about a bottle of water?

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