Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Archive: August, 2011

POSTED: Wednesday, August 31, 2011, 3:25 PM

Airline policies on how a flight is boarded vary widely, with some carriers doing a more organized and orderly job than others. USA Today has a good column today on the variations by one of my favorite airline writers, Bill McGee. Read on here ....

POSTED: Tuesday, August 30, 2011, 5:32 PM

An excellent story on airline safety moved today as part of the Associated Press AP IMPACT series. The investigative article explores whether airline pilots may suffer from "automation addiction," a dependence on autopilot flying that is dullng their ability to react in an emergency. The story recounts why safety experts are concerned: A number of fatal accidents in recent years, including Air France over the Atlantic and the Colgan crash near Buffalo,were caused by pilots reacting too slowly or making the wrong moves when the autopilot quit working unexpectedly. Read it all here .... 

POSTED: Tuesday, August 30, 2011, 5:23 PM

Recovery from Irene continued apace today throughout the Northeast, according to this news report from the AP. Airlines are clearing out backlogs of stranded travelers and adding up the cost of the storm.

POSTED: Friday, August 26, 2011, 12:02 PM

Airline hubs, including PHL, are powerful financial centers, generating very hefty revenues for carriers that operate efficiently and are cost-competitive with their rivals. That's the underlying theme in an interesting theoretical article posted on the Cranky Flier Web site about how well Southwest will do financially against Delta in Atlanta once Southwest's merger with AirTran is complete. The article uses Southwest's performance at PHL, including its recent announced plans to cut back service, to suggest that it will face a tough fight at ATL.

Competition at PHL, as has been noted here and in The Inquirer numerous times, is all about how well US Airways performs -- and its service improvements in the last three years, coupled with the marketing power of operating a hub with eight times as many flights as the next-largest carrier (Southwest)  -- say loudly that it is performing quite well these days. Read the Cranky Flier commentary here.  

POSTED: Wednesday, August 24, 2011, 1:16 PM

The Consumer Traveler Web site has published the most thorough article I've seen on the Transportation Security Administration's newest version of a "trusted-traveler" program, designed to vet frequent fliers in advance and speed up the airport screening process. Will it really be better for those who now believe they spend too much time in security lines? Read on and decide for yourself how much you will benefit. 

POSTED: Wednesday, August 24, 2011, 1:04 PM

If it's a hurricane such as Irene, or a big snowstorm, everyone knows it's on the way and will make travel a mess during and after it hits. But did anyone ever consider what an East Coast earthquake could do to airline and train service from North Carolina to New England? We found out yesterday when, as was widely reported, an earthquake centered in central Virginia rattled the region. Those using PHL were delayed when all air traffic was temporarily halted. Here is an AP story with more detail on the disruptions throughout the region. 

POSTED: Tuesday, August 23, 2011, 10:04 AM

This trade press article includes some terms that need translating: GBTA is the Global Business Travel Association, now holding its annual conference in Denver, and GDS is global distribution systems, the big computer networks used by the travel industry. US Airways CEO Doug Parker spoke to the conference yesterday, repeating what he and many other airline officials have said for awhile now: Fees for services that once were included in the ticket price aren't going away. Read more here ...

POSTED: Monday, August 22, 2011, 10:10 PM

Tuesday will be a good day for air travelers. New federal consumer-protection rules take effect that will, among other things, help bumped passengers and customers of international airlines. Read more about the good news here ....

About this blog
Tom Belden has been reporting about Philadelphia International Airport and other air travel subjects for more than 20 years, writing columns for The Inquirer's Travel and Business sections. His reporting (with colleague Craig McCoy) on baggage handling problems in Philadelphia have been credited with helping to improve the system. His previous blog was called Road Warrior. He can reached at Reach Tom at

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