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Consumer Confidential: AA still flying, Volt loaners, cellphone parking

November 29, 2011 |  9:35 am

Here's your try-a-little-tenderness Tuesday roundup of consumer news from around the Web:

-- American Airlines may be bankrupt, but passengers shouldn't notice much difference. The airline says it will continue to operate flights, honor tickets and take reservations. Delta, United, Continental and US Airways have all gone through Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. Travelers continued to book tickets. Planes still took off and landed and frequent flier miles were still earned and redeemed. In fact, the bankruptcy process is usually more troublesome for the airline's shareholders, who tend to get wiped out. American says it may reduce its flight schedule "modestly" as it restructures. The only real risk to American's passengers is if the restructuring fails. In that case, the airline ultimately liquidates and ceases to fly. (Associated Press)

-- General Motors doesn't want people freaking out over reports of batteries bursting into flames in Chevy Volts. The carmaker is offering free loaner vehicles to Volt owners if they're concerned about reports of battery fires after crash tests. GM reiterated its belief that the Volt is a safe car but said it will contact all Volt owners to make the free loaner offer. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened a formal safety investigation into fire dangers of the Volt. This move came after the agency replicated an incident from last May in which a Volt battery caught fire three weeks after going through a safety crash test. (MoneyWatch)

 -- Wouldn't it be nice if you could feed a parking meter remotely? San Francisco is giving just such a system a try -- via cellphones. The city will alert drivers with a text message when their parking meters are about to expire. Drivers will be given the option to put more money on the meter remotely using their phones, which will cost 45 cents for each transaction. The Municipal Transportation Agency will first test the service at curbside meters and two city-owned parking lots in the Castro district before deciding whether to offer them elsewhere. The fine for parking at an expired meter in the Castro is $55. In the city's downtown core, it is $65. (Associated Press)

-- David Lazarus

Photo: American Airlines may be bankrupt, but it's still flying. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times