I don’t like Dulles either

After seeing three hour wait times to clear immigration at Washington Dulles airport, Lufthansa CEO Juergen Weber described the airport as “medieval” in a news conference. I can only imagine how he would have felt had he ever passed through the old United 1K rooms there…

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Airport Security Lapse: the Screeners Themselves

The Washington Post reports that screening the screeners has been woefully inadequate, since several TSA employees have criminal histories More than two dozen federal airport screeners stationed at Los Angeles International Airport have been found to have criminal histories, prompting concern that the federal government did not complete required background probes of security personnel, people familiar with the matter said. The airport said it will begin fingerprinting and conducting criminal background checks next week on its federal airport screeners. Similarly, in New York, police have uncovered that at least 50 security screeners have criminal pasts at John F. Kennedy International Airport, according to Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.). Turns out this came to light when simply asking some Los Angeles employees whether they were in fact criminals and they said yes… Meanwhile, a TSA screener…

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The world has changed. Someone tell the airlines.

The Dallas Morning News had a good piece on Tuesday about the much-analyzed trend of business travelers buying discounted airline tickets. Despite significant evidence that the buying habits of business travelers have changed, airline revenue management departments have yet to figure out how to adjust their models. Part of the problem may be a bit of denial. The piece quotes American’s new CEO as saying The industry has got to find a formula to get average fares up When he should probably be focusing on getting average costs down…

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More flights out of National? We can hope…

New legislation has been proposed to add 36 flights at Washington National airport (a roughly 5%) increase and to allow 24 of those flights to travel more than 1250 miles (an exception to current limits which are known as the ‘perimeter rule’). Local politicians hate this, even though it benefits travelers. They make silly arguments that somehow the perimeter rule benefits Dulles airport, which it does not. I wrote in the Washington Post (perhaps four years ago, can’t find it online) that restricting the distance flown out of National Airport, and reserving long haul flights for Dulles in order to ‘protect it’ and ‘enhance it’s growth’ actually had the opposite effect. The perimeter rule led to an overabundance of short haul flights at National, the preferred carrier for pasengers in downtown DC. That meant fewer…

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Worse customer service than the airlines

I complain about customer service from the airlines quite a bit. On the whole, the majors are pretty bad (and for all of the accolades Southwest receives, I want to fly them even less). But they’re better than most public transit. When I drive to work, I have a lovely commute — along the George Washington Parkway which borders the Potomac River and all of the monuments. When the weather is nice, I drive with the top down as planes approaching National airport fly overhead. This morning I took the metro (for all non-DC types, that’s our subway system). And we were delayed due to a report of smoke in one of the tunnels. Earlier this year my metro rides have been delayed because of a passenger hit by a train and a train derailment.…

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Now your dog or cat can get hooked on miles, too.

Continental has started to award miles for shipping your pet as Cargo. True to form, Virgin Atlantic takes the concept a bit further, focusing on rewarding the cat or dog through it’s “Bone-us-Miles” and “Frequent Feline” clubs that reward your pet with pampering weekends for flying Virgin. For all the coverage these two programs are getting, you’d think it was something new. But for two years, El Al has offered a frequent flyer program for dogs, cats & birds where pets earn 1 free roundtrip after 3 roundtrips within a 3 year period. Several hotels have been on this bandwagon for a few years. The San Ysidro Ranch hotel offers pets baked salmon from room service, a massage by the fireplace, and homemade cookies made in their own likeness, as well as vitamin-fortified water and…

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