Archive: March, 2010
The United States and the European Union have extended their 2007 agreement that opened North Atlantic air travel to greater competition. Details can be found in an AP story. Not in the story: The International Air Transport Associaton, representing many foreign carriers, expressed disappointment that the treaty upgrade didn't deal with one of the more contentious issues in Europe and elsewhere: Non-U.S. citizens can own no more than 25 percent of a U.S. airline.
Back in December, I followed up two Winging It columns on what travelers want in a good hotel room with another column with some advice about bedbugs and what hotels and their customers need to do to keep the critters from biting and being carried home on clothing or in bags. I was told then that Philadelphia hoteliers assert they don't have a bedbug problem, but they pay a lot of attention during seminars on controlling the pests. That kind of paying attention is going on today at a bedbug program sponsored by the Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association at the big Center City Marriott, according to a Daily News story found here.
Also, after today I promise to find an alternative to using "sleep tight and don't let the bedbugs bite" as the lead to any columns I do on the subject -- at least for awhile.
The Obama administration is trying to get its second nominee to run the Transportation Security Administration approved by the Senate. In hearings this week, he says that because the president and Homeland Security secretary support collective bargaining for agency workers, he will study it and implement it in a way that won't compromise security. That sounds sensible but retired Army Maj. Gen. Robert Harding is facing some hard questioning by Republicans over the issue of whether security screeners can join a union. Obama's previous nominee had to withdraw this winter in part because he said much the same thing, and Sen. Jim DeMint (R., S.C.) put a hold on the nomination.
In addition to a good story in the trade paper Homeland Security Today about yesterday's hearing, there is a link just to the right of the story for what Harding had to say at an earlier hearing about greater use of intelligence gathering to make transportation more secure. He favors more use of Israeli-style techniques in which air travelers are questioned and observed closely by human beings for behavior patterns.
Britrish Airways struck back at striking union members today, revoking a treasured perk of airline workers everywhere: free flights. This AP story from London also includes some information on other labor trouble at European airlines. Read it here.
Sorry we missed this development yesterday. US Airways has asked the Department of Transpsortation for a PHL exemption from the rules, set to take effect April 29, that would impose heavy fines on airlines for long tarmac delays, Other carriers already have asked DOT for exemptions for New York-area airports, citing in particular runway construction at Kennedy that could make on-time performance there even worse.
US Airways in its filing cited PHL's proximity to New York and noted that it often is an alternative to the other airports if flights have to be diverted. A little more detail can be found here.
The Federal Aviation Admnistration has proposed a fine of almost $1.5 million for Northwest Airlines for failing to inspect wiring on its older jets for 17 years. Read more here ...
A daily e-mail from Rick Seaney, CEO of Farecompare.com, today has a useful report on what one of his employees learned when she booked an airline ticket for her husband, and the name she used didn't conform to what was on his driver's license. What really happens under the government's policy of requiring an exact match of ID and ticket if you make a minor mistake, such as adding a middle initial when that's not on the ID? The answer the employee got from Delta and TSA: It shouldn't be a problem. Read the full story here.