Why air travel is hell: in this week's Maclean's

    Also in the issue hitting newsstands today: Mounties say an article in
    Maclean's could be the motivation the feds need to fix the sex offender

    TORONTO, July 17 /CNW/ - Delays, cancellations, miserable service,
soaring prices... and it's only getting worse. The golden age of travel is
over. Back in the 1980s, a popular airline slogan invited people to "come fly
the friendly skies." Today, not so much-since January, two dozen airlines
across the globe have taxied out of existence. Flying has become a miserable
experience. And it's going to get a lot worse before it gets better.
    Routes have been chopped, service sliced to the bone, and passengers have
found themselves nickled and dimed on everything from blankets and snacks to
checking in luggage and selecting a seat. Last month 21 per cent of flights
were delayed, up from 16 per cent two years ago. Meanwhile for those flying
through some U.S. airports, there's a 50 per cent chance their flight will be
delayed. A major cause of all the turmoil is soaring oil prices. The typical
airline ticket is 50 per cent cheaper than it was 12 years ago, and yet the
price of jet fuel has jumped more than fivefold. Air Canada has said its fuel
bill this year will jump by $1 billion. And airlines are going to
extraordinary lengths to keep those figures in check. Airlines are ripping out
their entertainment systems while some Chinese carriers have even asked
passengers not to use the toilets, since flushing is a drain on fuel.
Passengers are also bearing some of this burden with high fees and surcharges
for services that used to be free. In the U.S. there have been 15 fare hikes,
while all the big Canadian carriers have applied fuel surcharges. Yet still
the airline industry is losing millions.
    This week, Maclean's Senior Writer Jason Kirby, describes what's at the
root of the horror stories from the trenches of the global airline industry,
and why there is no easy solution.

    Taking the handcuffs off to keep track of sex offenders

    Police and government officials are working on a major overhaul of
Canada's sex offender registry after a Maclean's investigation revealed
serious flaws in the four-year-old system. The database was designed to solve
sex crimes by providing police with an instant list of suspects who live near
a crime scene. But as Maclean's revealed in January - those lists are
incomplete, outdated, and in some cases, dead wrong. Both the RCMP and the
provinces have submitted a long list of recommendations to Public Safety
Minister Stockwell Day, urging Stephen Harper's Conservatives to revamp the
defective database before more rapists and pedophiles "fall through the

    About Maclean's:

    Maclean's is Canada's only national weekly current affairs magazine.
Maclean's enlightens, engages and entertains 2.8 million readers with strong
investigative reporting and exclusive stories from leading journalists in the
fields of international affairs, social issues, national politics, business
and culture. Visit www.macleans.ca.

For further information:

For further information: Elyse Lalonde, (416) 764-4125,

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