Tidbits for travelers: seat fees, bag check refunds & fast rail service to ORD.

Good news, bad news for air travelers today.

In the good file:

IND suitcase art

If you book a 2-night weekend stay (Fri/Sat/Sun) at a IHG hotel (InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, , Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites, Candlewood Suites and others), and check a bag on your flight there, you can get a rebate for up to $50 of your bag check fees. There are restrictions of course – you need to pay with a Visa, stay between Sept 1 and Dec 30th,  and accept your refund in the form of an IHG Visa Prepaid Card – but it’s still a good offer.

Kimpton hotels have had a similar offer for a while. It’s We’ve got your bag program promises a $25 room credit if you show a receipt for a checked bag.

Also: Chicago’s mayor announced the formation of a Blue Ribbon Committee to study whether or not express train service between O’Hare International Airport and downtown Chicago is a good idea.

Do they really need to study this? We say: just do it!  A lot of travelers would happily pay a premium over the current fare on the Blue Line to make it downtown in a hurry.

orange airplane seat

In the bad file: Joining the pack of other carriers, such as United, that will let you buy seats with extra legroom, American Airlines has announced a new fee today for what it calls “Express Seats:” the roomier seats in the first few rows of the coach cabin.

Pricing will be based on distance and range from $19 (i.e. St. Louis to Chicago) to $39 (Chicago to Honolulu) and the seats will be up for sale 50 minutes to 24 hours before a flight.  Buying one of those seats also allows you to board with Group 1.  Here’s their spin.