Road Trip: Hillary Clinton Is On Her Way to Iowa — In a Van – NBCNews.com


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Image: Hillary ClintonNICHOLAS KAMM / AFP – Getty Images, file


(FILES) This March 23, 2015 file photo shows former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a discussion on “our nation’s urban centers,” and “challenges from housing and transportation to education and workforce accessibility” at the Center for American Progress (CAP) in Washington, DC. Hillary Clinton is expected to finally announce her candidacy for US president on April 12, 2015, ending prolonged speculation that she once again seeks to become the first woman elected to the White House. Seven years after her bitter nomination defeat to Barack Obama, the former secretary of state and one-time first lady would enter the race as the Democratic Party’s overwhelming favorite, as Clinton and her rivals gird for a bruising, 18-month campaign slog. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMMNICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images






Hillary Clinton is on the road — in a van — on the way to Iowa.

The 2016 presidential candidate, who officially joined the race Sunday, is driving with a handful of close aides and a Secret Service escort from her home in Chappaqua to the first-in-the-nation caucus state in what the campaign says she affectionately refers to as the “Scooby Doo van.”

Sunday evening, Clinton tweeted from a gas station in Pennsylvania, where she said she stopped to chat with a family.

She’s scheduled to hold her first campaign event on Tuesday in Monticello, Iowa.










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In what seems like a broken record, the quality of airline service deteriorated last year as carriers continued to squeeze passengers in numerous ways.

“As a group they generally did worse,” said Dean Headley of Wichita State University. “We track four elements that we think are consumer relevant, on-time, baggage handling, complaints and things like that and literally all four of those got worse for the industry this year.”

The Airline Quality Rating, conducted by Wichita State University and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, has been measuring the performance of airlines for 25 years.

This latest study found airline service suffered as airlines packed more people onto planes and landed fewer flights on time.

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Perhaps the most telling indication of how frustrated passengers have become is the number of complaints about airlines filed last year with the Department of Transportation.

“They (complaints) are up 20-25 percent this year over last year and they were up before that so they (customers) are complaining more about a system that just is not working,” said Headley.

Overall, the Airline Quality Rating has dropped to its lowest level since 2008.

Besides a spike in complaints about airline service, the AQR also found:

  • On-time arrivals dropped 2 percent
  • A slight increase in the percentage of passengers bumped from flights
  • Mishandled baggage climbed 11 percent

The slumping performance of airlines confirms what many critics feared would happen when major carriers started merging six years ago. Since 2008, there have been four mergers among the eight largest airlines in the U.S.

When Northwest merged with Delta, Continental with United, Airtran with Southwest and U.S. Air with American the architects of the deals claimed the larger, more efficient airlines would deliver better service for travelers.

The authors of the Airline Quality Rating say that hasn’t happened because airlines are focused on boosting profits by limiting the number of seats available while also charging customers for a wide variety of services like checked bags and in-flight connectivity.

“There is a lot of consolidation and a lot of mergers so there is a lot of turmoil and I think that is playing itself out to the customer to have a poor experience when they do fly,” said Headley. “They just seem to have not gotten their act together.”

Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.com.

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Philip J. LeBeau is a CNBC auto and airline industry reporter based at the network’s Chicago bureau. He is also editor of the Behind the Wheel section on CNBC.com.

Prior to joining CNBC, LeBeau served as a media relations specialist for Van Kampen Funds in Oak Brook Terrace, Ill. Previously, he held general assignment reporting positions at KCNC-TV, the CBS affiliate in Denver, and KAKE-TV, the ABC affiliate in Wichita, Kan. LeBeau began his career as a field producer at WCCO-TV in Minneapolis, where he wrote, produced and researched consumer stories. He graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and broadcasting.

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Tracy Connor is a senior writer for NBC News. She started this role in December, 2012. Connor is responsible for reporting and writing breaking news, features and enterprise stories for NBCNews.com. Connor joined NBC News from the New York Daily News, where she was a senior writer covering a broad range of news and supervising the health and immigration beats. Prior to that she was an assistant city editor who oversaw breaking news and the courts and entertainment beats.

Earlier, Connor was a staff writer at the New York Post, United Press International and Brooklyn Paper Publications.

Connor has won numerous awards from journalism organizations including the Deadline Club and the New York Press Club.

She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.

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Watch Live Sentencing Hearing for Atlanta School Educators Convicted of Racketeering

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