Sunday, December 28, 2014

Archive: December, 2009

POSTED: Monday, December 21, 2009, 4:13 PM

Remember the fight earlier this year over a passenger bill-of-rights? What Congress didn't do with legislation the Department of Transportation has done by regulation: Airlines can no longer strand passengers on planes on airport tarmacs for more than three hours without a good safety or security reason. Heavy fines could follow violations. DOT went further and said it would flag airlines that operate chronically late flights for deceptive trade practices.

The airlines think hard-and-fast rules on tarmac delays are a bad idea and will lead to more cancellations and other "unintended consequences." The rest of us "customers" think it's about time airlines were required to do the right thing for those it calls "passengers." Read more about what DOT did here. 

POSTED: Monday, December 21, 2009, 10:44 AM

This space is mostly devoted to air travel but increasingly we need to also post news about high-speed rail developments, since the dream of many is for better trains to replace flyiing on short-to-medium stage lengths. In Europe, they're already way ahead of us on the fast-train front, having operated them on some routes for almost three decades. One of the most prominent is the Eurostar service, which has been linking London to Brussels and Paris since 1994 through the Channel Tunnel. The service, highly popular with business travelers, now has the majority of the traffic between the cities. 

The Eurostars have run almost flawlessly for most of their history, but since last week, the trains have suffered a series of baffling breakdowns in the tunnel, causing long delays and great frustration. Experts have yet to figure out what's causing the problems. Read more about the effort to solve the mystery here. 

POSTED: Monday, December 21, 2009, 9:06 AM
Today's Winging It column offers a little advice about holiday travel, but keep reading to the end to see the results of last week's requests for your opinion of changing the current ban on allowing voice calls on airline flights. In case  you were wondering, not a single reader who sent me messages last week is in favor of changing the rule against voice calls. Read it all at this link.
POSTED: Friday, December 18, 2009, 4:22 PM

The new PHL cell phone waiting lot opened today as expected, roughly five years after the media started writing about how hard the old one was to find and how it led to people parking illegally on highway ramps as an alternative. Here is the Inquirer's story from today.

The story and the airport's news release on the opening, found at www.phl.org, both say that the lot is easier to reach than we were led to believe by yesterday's annoncement of the opening. Follow the arrivals roadway toward parking and rental car return and look for a sign that says "cell phone lot." It's the first left turn, opposite the entrance to the A-East/A-West garage,    

POSTED: Friday, December 18, 2009, 4:22 PM

The new PHL cell phone waiting lot opened today as expected, roughly five years after the media started writing about how hard the old one was to find and how it led to people parking illegally on highway ramps as an alternative. Here is the Inquirer's story from today.

The story and the airport's news release on the opening, found at www.phl.org, both say that the lot is easier to reach than we were led to believe by yesterday's annoncement of the opening. Follow the arrivals roadway toward parking and rental car return and look for a sign that says "cell phone lot." It's the first left turn, opposite the entrance to the A-East/A-West garage,    

POSTED: Friday, December 18, 2009, 3:58 PM

Congratutlations to Mark Gale, the experienced and able acting city director of aviation, who was named by Mayor Nutter today to be airport chief executive officer. The title is a new one for the airport. Gale, who has run PHL as acting director for almost a year after Charlie Isdell retired, previously was deputy director for operations and facilities, the basic hands-on position of managing the airport.

POSTED: Friday, December 18, 2009, 2:35 PM
Remember that when winter storms threaten to disrupt travel plans -- such as those this weekend -- airlines are flexible about allowing a change to an itinerary. All the carriers with service in the Norheast are issuing advisories on that today. Check with your airline if it concerns you, and best of luck!
POSTED: Friday, December 18, 2009, 9:10 AM
British Airways has avoided a flight-attendants' strike that could have made a royal mess of holiday travel plans for a million or so travelers. A British High Court judge ruled the strike plans by the Unite union illegal because of the way the vote was conducted. A little more detail is available here from the trade paper Travel Weekly.
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 tbelden@phillynews.com. Reach Tom at tbelden@phillynews.com.

Tom Belden
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