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Study: Airline mergers are good for carriers, customers

While the recent mega-mergers in the U.S. airline industry have attracted plenty of critics and opponents, a new study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) finds that consolidation is having “a significant and positive effect’ on carriers without leading to painful fare increases for passengers. And the growth of low-cost carriers is likely to keep competition healthy, the group said.

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TSA embarks on big expansion of PreCheck sign-up centers

Following its announcement last year that any qualified U.S. can now enroll in its PreCheck trusted traveler program, the Transportation Security Administration has started to add sign-up centers all over the country.

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January flight disruptions reach epic proportions

If you’ve flown somewhere this month and you didn’t face a cancellation or a lengthy delay due to wicked winter weather, consider yourself fortunate. According to masFlight, a data and software firm specializing in airline operations, total flight disruptions in January 2014 have been the worst in recent years — even worse than during Hurricane Sandy.

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The next tech boom for travelers: Rise of the tablet

According to new research, many travelers are finding that a laptop may be too big, a smartphone may be too small, but a tablet is just about right. And with the growing popularity of these devices, a big change could be coming to some airline tray tables.

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Briefs: AA Eagle is renamed; Delta debuts smartphone passes

In news of U.S. airlines, American tries to end confusion over the name of its regional subsidiary and its regional service brand; Delta gives customers a new, less expensive option for in-flight connectivity; and a leading low-cost carrier is growing by leaps and bounds.

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Slot divestitures prompt service changes at DCA, LGA

American Airlines Group, the merged parent company of American Airlines and US Airways, said it will discontinue service in a number of markets at Washington Reagan National and New York LaGuardia due to the government’s requirement that it divest some of its takeoff and landing slots at those airports as a condition of the merger approval.

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Briefs: Free Wi-Fi coming to ATL; LAX loses an iconic restaurant

In airport news, free Wi-Fi could finally be coming to Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson International; an iconic restaurant closes at Los Angeles International, and some terminal improvements are coming there; travelers at Philadelphia International are the target of big new digital video ads; and India’s Mumbai Airport debuts a large new passenger terminal.

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New federal budget eases some concerns for travelers

After dealing with many months of mandatory budget cutbacks, government shutdowns and federal employee furloughs, travel industry organizations are breathing a sigh of relief that the new omnibus appropriations bill approved by Congress last week actually promises some improvements in the lives of travelers.

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American, US Airways begin code-sharing

In the latest step toward the eventual merger of their systems, American Airlines Group subsidiaries American and US Airways have started code-sharing on a number of routes, and have rolled out a bonus mileage promotion good through early March.

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International business trip spending expected to jump this year

Are more overseas trips on your agenda this year? The Global Business Travel Association says the outlook for increased spending on trips by U.S. companies in 2014 is “robust,” especially for international travel, as the world economy continues to recover.

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