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Gregory Karp
Chicago Tribune
Wingtip extensions have become prevalent in recent years and have saved airlines billions in fuel costs

Boeing calls the odd-looking, upturned wingtips on aircraft “blended winglets.” Airbus calls them “sharklets.” And Southwest Airlines, in ads, simply calls them “little doohickeys.”

Whatever the name, these wingtip extensions have become prevalent in aviation, saving airlines billions of dollars in fuel costs.

The newest, and funkiest-looking, version was used on a United Airlines commercial flight for the first time last month. The new design features the upturned wingtip but adds a downward-facing sword and sinister-looking pointed tips, which together make it a “split scimitar winglet.”

Winglets might look cool and represent one of the more radical changes to the appearance of modern jets, but in truth, they’re all business. read more »


Websites and smartphone applications can be tremendous resources for spending your money smarter.

Problem is, so many new ones crop up that it’s difficult to keep up.

So we searched for some websites and apps that you might find helpful.

Glyph and Wallaby apps. Have a bunch of reward credit cards but aren’t sure which card will give you the biggest reward for specific purchases?

Glyph (paywithglyph.com), which plans to change its name to Wisely, and Wallaby (walla.by) can help. For each of these apps, you first enter the reward cards you own. read more »


Buying a plane ticket today can be a dizzying consumer experience, sometimes with an overwhelming number of choices to make, each with its own price tag.

Checking a bag? With most airlines you’ll have to pay for that — and maybe for a carry-on.

Prefer an exit row? That will cost you.

Want to board early to snag overhead bin space for your roll-aboard? Be ready to pony up or use an airline credit card.

Need to change your flight? That might set you back a whopping $200 on a big carrier. read more »


CHICAGO — An Illinois law aimed at leveling competition between online and offline retailers while collecting more state sales taxes owed from Internet purchases is unconstitutional, a Cook County judge ruled.

The opinion is yet another shot in the highly contentious nationwide battle over which entity should collect online sales tax and how.

Consumers who live in sales-tax states, such as Illinois, owe state sales tax on their Internet purchases, whether they pay it during virtual checkout or when they file their state income tax returns. But few actually pay unless tax is collected at checkout. That has the effect of making online purchases cheaper than those at bricks-and-mortar retailers. read more »

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