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October 14, 2007

SOME FREQUENT FLYERS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS:

Last week, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Republican leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) found bipartisan agreement on maintaining one special privilege. Together they put language into a defense appropriations bill that would keep legal the practice of some senators of booking several flights on days they return home, keeping the most convenient reservation and dumping the rest without paying cancellation fees -- a practice some airlines say could violate the new law.

Senators also have granted themselves a grace period on requirements that they pay pricey charter rates for private jet travel. . . . The Senate ethics committee decided not to enforce that rule for at least 60 days after it took effect Sept. 14, citing "the lack of experience in many offices in determining 'charter rates.' "

The decision surprised some Senate staffers, Mitchell said, one of whom e-mailed her to say, "Welcome to the world of skirting around the rules we pass."

Bah. For the rest of us, life isn't so sweet: "Gotbaum wasn't late for boarding. She didn't forfeit her place by ignoring the airline's procedures. Her only mistake was showing up at the US Airways gate and believing that her paid-in-full, reserved-seat airline ticket meant that she would actually have a seat on the plane." If she'd been a member of Congress, it would have!