Despite challenges, airline travel had bright spots in 2011

Passengers at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Conn. rest on cots a day after a storm. As it turns out tarmac delays were down significantly in 2011, thanks in part to new federal regulations. (AP/Jessica Hill, File)

WASHINGTON – Bag fees, pat downs and long lines. Overall, it seems 2011 was a bad year for airline passengers. But, it seems, there was a bright side.

First of all, this year was a good for flight safety: There were no fatal accidents on domestic, commercial flights. The same holds true in 2010.

There has also been a dramatic decline in long tarmac delays. The days when planes sat on the ground for hours and hours and hours are pretty much gone — the result of new federal regulations.

Some other pluses for flyers — detailed weather reports are now as close as your phone, making it easier to keep up with potential problems.

And, if a storm does interfere with your travel plans, the good news is airlines are now more likely to waive change fees.

A few carriers also warrant thanks for giving us a bit more legroom in 2011.

And finally, we can all be grateful that no one went along with a proposal to pay-as-you-go in airplane restrooms.

WTOP’s Paula Wolfson contributed to this report. Follow WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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