Dubai Airport Considers Removing Check-in Desks and TSA Naked Images a Cat

News and notes from around the interweb:

  • Qatar Airways now overflies Syrian airspace as a way of dealing with the blockage of their country led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

  • Airports dedicate a ton of space to physical check-in. But why do passengers even need to check in? You buy a ticket, you’re getting on a plane unless you change your plans or no show. You need a boarding document, perhaps, to comply with airport security (but I’ve been through intermittent tests where TSA takes only your ID). Why not provide that at time of ticket purchase?

    Dubai’s airport is planning for a future with no check-in desks and their CEO says the only challenge to overcome is checked luggage.

  • I recall radio host Don Imus once talking about taking naked photos of his cat. Looks like the TSA does that, too.

  • If a TSA screener doesn’t know the respectful way to inspect an urn, get a supervisor to find someone that does.

  • Choice Privileges promotion earn 5000 – 8000 bonus points after 2 stays

  • PBS: Inside Uber’s team of PhD economists (HT: Marginal Revolution)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I couldn’t comment on urn post. A previous funeral home we have utilized places a penny at the bottom of the urn. That is enough for security. It helps with the screening process tremendously. Thought I’d pass along the tip. It worked for us.

  2. The antiquated physical passport-based documentation system needs to improve as well before they can truly get rid of check-in desks. I don’t know how many times I’ve done OLCI only to be told to pick up the boarding pass at the check-in counter, only to find out that they needed to check the passport or some visa affixed to it.

  3. While I hesitate to defend the TSA, I’m not sure how much they can do about an urn. Extract the sample for testing in another room and then carry the ashes to the machine? But this has its own problems with possible contamination. If you transport a casket, it goes through x-ray security like anything else. A grieving relative is easily upset by any kinks in the process; I’ve been there. If witnessing security personnel inspect the remains of a relative will cause emotional discomfort, other transport arrangements should be made.

  4. I thought I had found a wonderful routing system for myself coming back from Europe and the Middle East through Denver.
    Was I ever wrong. The airport is cluttered, unmanned (? without personnel?) and I found their TSA lines long with some of the nastiest staff imaginable. I watched supervisors struggle to moderate their workforce, trying hard to temper the pervasive ill-humor and aggression, all to little avail. At one point a worker broke loose and marched along the lines with a yogurt cup yelling at passengers that “THIS is why you are not getting through! Every one of you know better than to bring this kind of thing and still you do it!”
    It was disgusting and the supervisors came rushing forward, although overall there was simply milling and grumbling and crowded chaos. No one was in charge, it seemed — or every employee was a boss.
    The !@#$%^&* airport is 20 miles from any hotel except one $400. night place actually in the airport.
    PHX is many times better.
    David Mehler has my sympathy. What a lousy way to be treated. This cannot be the first time TSA has faced this issue. Good heavens they’ve been operating (badly) for many years. Where is the standard protocol?

  5. It seems like Dubai is kicking in an open door. Electronic boarding passes (on a smartphone or self-printed) have been a trivial fixture of travel for at least a decade, at least in in Europe. It’s been ages since I’ve gone to a check-in counter, except to drop bags or for visa-check. Self-service bag drop is increasing ubiquitous.

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