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Life in Brief — week of Feb. 2

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Poll says baggage fees annoy people the most

The world’s airlines collect more than $27 billion in passenger fees per year, according to one estimate, but the most hated are baggage fees.

That was the conclusion of a survey by the travel website Airfarewatchdog, which polled more than 6,100 travelers on the topic of “the Worst Major Airline Fees.”

When asked to name the fee they hate the most, 48 percent of website visitors named baggage fees, 38 percent said flight change or cancellation fees, 6 percent said advance seat selection fees and 5 percent said they hate reservation-by-phone fees.

Airlines charge $15 to $25 to check a first bag, with charges that can top $100 for oversized luggage.

“It’s the most annoying fee because most people can’t avoid them,” said George Hobica, founder of Airfarewatchdog. “A lot of people don’t have a choice about carrying a bag.”

— Hugo Martin

Los Angeles Times

Hints from Heloise:

Ohioan shares idea
for cold sippy cup

Mary in Ohio writes: If you have a toddler whose hands get cold from the chilled drink in his or her sippy cup, simply slip a terry-cloth wristband on the cup. These are found in stores’ athletic departments, are sold in pairs and are easily laundered.

A reader in Alaska writes: I have found an easy way to fill the water reservoir in my steam iron. I fill one of the sports bottles that has a pop-up spout with water, then use it to fill the iron.

— King Features

Study says hot cocoa
may improve memory

Hot chocolate may preserve memory. In a study published in Neurology, investigators studied dementia-free people with an average age of 73. Imaging studies reviewed the brain’s blood flow, and work-memory tests were performed before beginning treatment. Participants drank two hot cocoa drinks daily over a period of 30 days, and upon completion, blood-flow response to brain stimulation improved 8.3 percent and the work-memory speed test completion time decreased from 167 seconds to 116 seconds.

Bottom line: Eat more chocolate (but remember to eat responsibly).

— Dallas Morning News

Clean shoes quickly
to keep them longer

To help shoes live longer in nasty weather, clean them quickly. Wipe off dirt and attack that great shoe enemy — salt — at once. Bruce Cziske, owner of Shoe Healers in Brookfield, Wis., suggests using a mix of ⅓ vinegar, ⅔ water, rubbing it into the salt stains, drying and repeating until the salt is gone.

Condition the shoes. Oils such as mink oil work well on boots and casual wear. On dress shoes, use a cream. Hoffco shoe products are often recommended by cobblers.

Waterproofing is an ongoing operation to keep shoes safe. Says Cziske: “After two weeks, your pants leg wears the polymer off. So don’t use the whole can and think you’re good for winter. Keep putting it on.”

— Jackie Loohauis-Bennett

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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