New seats let airlines squeeze in more passengers
It's not your imagination. There really is a tighter squeeze on many planes these days.
The big U.S. airlines are taking out old, bulky seats in favor of so-called slimline models that take up less space from front to back, allowing for five or six more seats on each plane.
The changes, covering some of the most common planes flown on domestic and international routes, give the airlines two of their favorite things: More paying passengers, and a smaller fuel bill because the seats are slightly lighter. It's part of a trend among the airlines to view seats as money-makers, not just pieces of furniture. Add a few inches of legroom and airlines can charge more for tickets. Take away a few inches and they can fit more seats on the plane.
Fitch puts US credit rating on negative watch
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Fitch credit rating agency has warned that it is reviewing the U.S. government's AAA credit rating for a possible downgrade, citing Thursday's looming deadline to increase the nation's borrowing limit.
Fitch has placed the U.S. credit rating on negative watch, a step that would precede an actual downgrade. The agency said it expects to conclude its review within the next six months.
Fitch says it expects the debt limit will be raised soon, but adds, "the political brinkmanship and reduced financing flexibility could increase the risk of a U.S. default."
Fitch is one of the three leading U.S. credit ratings agencies, along with Standard & Poor's and Moody's. S&P downgraded U.S. long-term debt to "AA" in August 2011.
Uneven enforcement suspected at nuclear plants
BOSTON (AP) _ The number of safety violations at U.S. nuclear power plants varies dramatically from region to region, pointing to inconsistent enforcement in an industry now operating mostly beyond its original 40-year licenses, according to a congressional study awaiting release.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission figures cited in the Government Accountability Office report show that while the West has the fewest reactors, it had the most lower-level violations from 2000 to 2012 _ more than 2 1/2 times the Southeast's rate per reactor.
The Southeast, with the most reactors of the NRC's four regions, had the fewest such violations, according to the report, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press.
Apple hires Burberry CEO to boost store sales
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Apple is entrusting the elegant stores that help define its brand to Angela Ahrendts, a respected executive who blended fashion sense with technological savvy to establish Burberry as a mark of luxury and success.
The hiring announced Tuesday is a coup for Apple Inc. Besides providing the Cupertino, Calif. company with another sharp mind, Ahrendts should help Apple deflect potential criticism about the lack of women in the upper ranks of its management.
Silicon Valley's long-running reliance on men to make key decisions has come into sharper focus as online messaging service Twitter Inc. prepares to go public. Twitter's closely scrutinized IPO documents called attention to the San Francisco company's all-male board of directors and the presence of just one woman in its executive inner circle.
Twitter to list on New York Stock Exchange
NEW YORK (AP) _ The New York Stock Exchange is edging out its tech-heavy rival for the biggest stock debut of the year.
Twitter says it will list its shares on the NYSE. The micro-blogging service does not say in its latest regulatory filing when it expects to start trading, but the debut is expected before Thanksgiving.
It chose the NYSE over the Nasdaq stock exchange, which fumbled Facebook Inc.'s debut last year, damaging its reputation. Both exchanges heavily courted Twitter, which is expected to be the marquee IPO of the year.
Coke exec: Diet Coke under pressure