Thanks again to the Greeks for giving us the word kudos ("praise") and to the Anglo-Saxons for giving us a language that so easily borrows and steals from others, enabling us to heap praise upon the following: • American, for its new carry-on baggage policy
. This is the program that gives a slight boarding priority to those who are traveling light and have only one item for underseat stowage and nothing for the overhead bin.
Obviously, not everybody can travel this light, but our Inner Schoolmarm approves of any airline policy that rewards those who don't clog the aisles with steamer trunks. • Viking Cruises, for launching its new ocean cruising line with refreshing decisiveness.
Time will tell whether the line has hit upon the right product attributes and marketing strategy, but we were impressed by the clarity and conviction with which the company is describing its plans: no casino, no inside cabins, no extra berths, no formal nights, no noncommissionable fees, no fees in the restaurants.
At a time when product developers and hospitality marketers seem to be trying to please everybody, it was unusual to encounter a venture that, well, isn't. • The American Queen Steamboat Co., for acquiring the Empress of the North
from the Transportation Department's Maritime Administration. The government has been the custodian of the laid-up sternwheeler since it was last operated by Majestic America Line in 2008.
Ships and boats belong in service, not out of it, so we are pleased to hear that the 223-passenger vessel will be rehabilitated and put to work in the Pacific Northwest as the American Empress. • Canada, for deciding that Air Canada isn't fairly compensating bumped passengers.
In response to a consumer complaint, the Canadian Transportation Agency recently ruled that the carrier's $100 cash compensation to bumped passengers on domestic flights in Canada, established 12 years ago, is unreasonably low.
The new level hasn't been set, but Canada is leaning toward the U.S. model, which we take as a compliment. • The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), for acknowledging agents.
We don't get many opportunities to praise the TSA, which is probably one of our government's least admired agencies, but if you want an example of the TSA at least trying to get it right, drag your mouse to the "Information for Travel Agents" link on the TSA home page.
There agents can download printable TSA information for infrequent air travelers (such as a brochures on liquids or prohibited items) that can be included with a passenger's itinerary. The page also contains links to information about Secure Flight ID requirements and other related information.
A well-traveled agent won't make any new discoveries here, but we think the TSA deserves a nod for recognizing that agents are an information resource for travelers and are in a position to help prepare clients for the realities of airport security, particularly as the peak season approaches, with its influx of infrequent flyers and vacationing families.
And while we're on the subject, somebody ought to be reminding air travelers that firearms are not permitted in airline cabins. The TSA reported just before Memorial Day that in one week its screeners discovered a record 65 firearms in carry-ons, and that 54 of them were loaded.
Spread the word: Packing heat is no way to keep the lines moving.