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In a more recent case, actor Don Cheadle told Jay Leno on NBC his own United horror story, which began when he and his wife approached an airport counter to change their seats, because the airline, which he didn’t name, hadn’t “given” them seats together. That story ended with some controversial remarks by a flight attendant, but Mr. Cheadle must know he can get seats as soon as a ticket is issued. He most likely doesn’t book his travel himself, but even people who do often don’t bother to request seat assignments or to check if there have been schedule changes to their flights.

The airlines have contributed to many travelers’ frustration and confusion by adding new fees and introducing or changing rules all the time. But passengers also share part of the responsibility for what travel has become. One shouldn’t have high expectations and demand a seamless and hassle-free trip if one doesn’t invest the time and pay attention to the details when booking that trip.

So as the “On the Fly” seminars begin, the “On the Fly” column will take a summer hiatus and will hopefully resume in the fall, though not in the Washington Times. In the meantime, my blog will try to fill the void.

Click here to contact Nicholas Kralev. His “On the Fly” column runs every Monday.