Consumer Briefing


Average summer airfare rises 13%

Delta Air Lines Inc., American Airlines and other U.S. carriers are charging 13% more for the peak summer season as rising demand and fewer seats restore industry pricing power, said.

The average round-trip fare jumped to $471 from $415 last summer, the online travel agency said. The total reflects tickets for domestic and international flights.

Stronger summer bookings add to the evidence of the airlines’ recovery from the recession-driven travel slump. Average fares fell 11% a year earlier.

“There’s a pent-up demand after people trimmed vacations or cut back on spending in 2009,” Senior Editor Genevieve Shaw Brown said. “People have more confidence about spending on their vacations this year.”


Restroom door opener unveiled

Business owners and landlords who want to soothe the germ-haters among us have a new way to spend money: an electric machine that lets people leave a public restroom without touching a door handle.

The makers of the Sanidoor say that about half the people leaving a restroom haven’t washed their hands. Some microbe-conscious people often carry a paper towel to the door, use it to grab the handle and then chuck the paper on the floor, the company says.

This can be avoided with the aid of the Sanidoor, a $1,300 device that will open a door when you wave your hand in front of a sensor.


Income worries are on the rise

Middle-aged adults are worried about their income level during retirement but haven’t much changed how they plan for life after work, a recent survey suggests.

The survey by the Society of Actuaries found that 72% of adults 45 and older who haven’t retired believe they have to save more because of the recession. And 71% said they were concerned about the value of their savings being eroded by inflation, up from 63% in 2007.

But there was not much change in how those surveyed planned to save for retirement. For example, those saying they were already saving as much as they could (47%) or planned to save as much as they could in the future (42%) were both down slightly from 2007. The only big difference was related to spending, with 54% saying they had cut back on spending, up from 37% in 2007.

About 800 U.S. residents born from 1929 to 1964 were surveyed over the telephone from July 1 to July 17. The margin of error was plus or minus 5 percentage points.


Baby books, kids’ hooded jackets

About 15,100 Gund Baby paperboard books, manufactured in China and imported by Gund of Edison, N.J., are being recalled because the plastic foam filling the book bindings can detach and pose a choking risk. The company has received three reports of children putting detached plastic foam in their mouths, but no reports of injuries. The books were sold at gift and novelty stores from January 2009 to March 2010. Information: (800) 436-3726, or

* About 11,500 Mecca children’s hooded jackets with drawstrings, made in China and distributed by 5 Star Apparel of New York, are being recalled because the jackets have drawstrings through the hood that can pose a strangulation hazard to children. The jackets were sold at Burlington Coat Factory and other stores from April 2008 through December 2009. Information: (646) 273-1225 or

-- times staff and wire reports