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Coming and Going: Travel news and notes

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Fewer tarmac delays, Jetsetter’s new trip-planning service

Tarmac delays decrease

In the year since a new rule limiting airline tarmac delays went into effect, the number of flights delayed by more than three hours has dropped dramatically, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

From May 2010 through April 2011, there were just 20 tarmac delays longer than three hours, compared with the 693 reported between May 2009 and April 2010. “This is a giant step for the rights of air travelers,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

Canceled flights were still a problem, however. Between May 2010 and April 2011, 387 flights with tarmac delays of more than two hours ended up being canceled, up from the 336 cancellations between May 2009 and April 2010.

The rule prohibits U.S. airlines operating domestic flights from allowing an aircraft to sit on the tarmac for more than three hours without allowing passengers to deplane, unless there are safety or security concerns. Starting Aug. 23, a new rule will subject U.S. and foreign carriers at U.S. airports to a four-hour limit on tarmac delays for international flights.

Plan a trip with Jetsetter

Jetsetter.com, known for its “flash” sales, is getting into the travel-planning business.

The Web site, part of the Gilt Groupe, has launched Personal Travel Planning, a service that pairs travelers with one of Jetsetter’s more than 200 travel writers to plan a trip. For $200, the writer will spend three hours consulting with the traveler to come up with a detailed itinerary. The traveler will then have unlimited time with a Jetsetter Booking Specialist. Travelers who book through Jetsetter will get a $100 credit toward the trip.

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