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Showing posts from August, 2009

The great Airport location deceit

Greetings from Orio al Serio Airport, otherwise known as Milan Bergamo by Ryanair and other Budget Airlines. In actual fact this airport is located far away from Milan and it takes a short hour by Bus or Car to get there, though somewhat less by train, once you arrive to the station of course!It seems that in the era of Budget Airlines there is a strong trend for cheaper Airports to name themselves by the nearest major city. Point in fact is last weeks announcement for the airport in Oxford UK, to call itself (brace yourself) "Oxford, London", even though they are some 60 miles away! There are many other examples of this trend such as Malmo Copenhagen, Girona Barcelona (completely another city) and Frankfurt-Hahn Airport (1.5 hour drive from the main Frankfurt airport). It was in fact Prestwick, Glasgow that started this low cost fashion that has caught many a traveller out, giving them the wrong impression that they are in fact somewhere close the the main city mentioned. I…

London Taxis Voted World’s Best

Every Perpetual Traveller quintessentially knows that Taxis represent a vital means of flexible add-hoc transportation, especially so in Mega cities, for getting from A to B in addition to being an option for that all important transfer from the arrival airport to the Hotel (return trip of course).

The statistics speak for themselves, as approximately on average 65% of all travellers actually take a Taxi ride. Moreover, Taxi drivers play a key role in within the wider context of the overall Tourism service of a destination too, that should not be overlooked or underestimated. They can often prove to be ones first and last point of contact, when in a strange or new country and they have the capacity to leave an everlasting effect either (good or bad).

I have personally experienced both sides of the coin here and feel that Tourism Authorities should generally regulate the Taxi service, as some regions of the world offer a pretty poor unmonitored service. The challenge is that Taxi Uni…

NASA Preps Shuttle for Tuesday Launch

The space shuttle Discovery is on schedule to launch Tuesday (8/25) at 1:36 am EDT. According to NASA, weather conditions are 80% favorable for liftoff. Mission STS-128 is headed to the International Space Station to continue construction.Read moreBy planet Data

What Should TSA Do with Dying Registered Traveler Program Data?

The TSA's Registered Traveler Program fell into jeopardy of shutting down in June when Verified Identity Pass Inc. (VIP) unexpectedly halted its Clear program at 18 airports. And since then the question of what will VIP and TSA do with the data collected on some 250,000 subscribers has been asked. 
According to an FCW.com article, TSA wants to simply destroy the information, which is held in the Registered Traveler Central Information Management System (CIMS) database. However, House leaders who want to see the program survive are now asking TSA not to delete subscriber data.
In a letter to DHS Secretary Napolitano, Reps. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Peter King (R-N.Y.) wrote, "We believe that permanently removing this data from the CIMS, or for that matter, dismantling the database, could have a potential negative impact on the restoration of operations for the Registered Traveler program."
Read moreBy Planet Data

Advice for Pilots During "Laser Illumination Event"

The FAA is touting the latest issue of FAA Aviation News (7.25 MB PDF) in which "Tom Hoffmann discusses the issue of laser illumination events for pilots, as well as some helpful tips on how to stay safe during such an occurrence. Hoffmann also points out some of the latest methods of reporting a laser event, such as the new email address -- LaserReports@faa.gov-- and fax number (202) 267-5289."Read moreBy Planet Data

Southwest Passengers Getting Internet Access in 2010

Southwest Airlines has announced plans to provide its passengers with Wi-Fi Internet access starting in Q1 2010. Southwest is using technology from Row 44. Most other airlines offering in-flight Wi-Fi are using Aircell's Gogo.Read moreBy Planet Data

Four Soldiers Killed in Helicopter Crash

Wednesday (8/21) afternoon a U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopter crashed on Colorado's Mt. Massive killing all four soldiers onboard. 
The crew were all members of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), known as the Night Stalkers. 
The next of kin have been contacted, and the names of the soldiers will be released tonight, according to a statement from the U.S. Special Operations Command.Read more
By Planet Data

Search for Air France Wreckage Ends for Now

The underwater hunt for the flight data recorders and wreckage from the Air France Flight 447 crash in the Atlantic has come to an end. However, investigators from France's BEA will not be giving up entirely. They will meet with a team of international experts in the coming weeks to discuss how to proceed with the search.Read moreBy Planet Data

Greetings from the futuristic Berlin Hauptbahnhof station

Late summer greetings from the magnificent train station of Berlin Hauptbahnhof, which has the appearance of a futuristic universal travel centre, with its tubular glass lifts, its array of stainless steel moving stairways feeding multiple levels and a healthy selection of services.

Most trains appear to operate to a time precisioned and extremely well organised stress free system, without any evasive security checks whatsoever. The whole experience for the traveller is fluid, hassle free and convenient. So why is it that travel through an airport these days is so inconvenient, stressful and sometimes leaves one with a degrading feeling?

Trains carry hundreds of passengers, they frequently cover cross border routes, the main terminals cater for thousands of people and yet no intrusive or security or paranoia about liquids exists.

I am not campaigning for more security in train stations; on the contrary, I am saying we have gone too far in airports and I am calling for a more intellig…

Convicted Lockerbie Bomber Released from Prison

The only person convicted in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland has been released from a Scottish prison after serving only 8 years. 
Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, 57, who was allowed to drop his appeal earlier this week, was granted a "compassionate" release because he has terminal pancreatic cancer. He will return to his home country of Libya today (8/20).Read more
By Planet Data

U.S. Air Force Cyber Command Finally Launches

At long last the U.S. Air Force got its dedicated cyber command when on Tuesday (8/18) the new 24th Air Force was activated at Texas' Lackland Air Force Base.
The 24th Air Force falls under the control of the Air Force Space Command, and incorporates the 67th Network Warfare Wing and the newly designated 688th Information Operations Wing (formerly the Information Operations Center).
Read moreBy Planet Data

Two Greek Teens Busted for Shining Laser at Plane

Greece's Kathimerini reports that two Greek teens were arrested last week on the island of Rhodes because they allegedly aimed a laser pointer at a commercial airliner coming in for a landing. The pilot of the aircraft aborted his first landing attempt after seeing the laser, but successfully put the aircraft down the second time around.
The kids and their parents were arrested.Read more
By Planet Data

Paris to Boston Flight Diverts to Newfoundland

On Saturday (8/15), an American Airlines flight from Paris to Boston was diverted to an airport in Newfoundland because of a passenger's suspicious activity. A French national allegedly used some type of putty-like material to affix an electronic device to the wall of the fuselage. Flight attendants asked him to remove it and he refused. The plane landed in Gander and police took the man into custody. Police believe the electronic device is just a GPS.Read more
By Planet Data

Passenger Plane Makes 2 Emergency Landings

According to a report from the AP, a Frontier Airlines Bombardier Q400 turboprop was forced to make two emergency landings in 24-hours for two different reasons. In the first incident Sunday (8/16) the plane struck birds while taking off from Fargo, North Dakota. In the second incident, Monday morning, the plane had to again return to Fargo after a landing gear door failed to close after the plane was airborne.Read more
By Planet Data

TSA Pilots New Document Screening Technologies

Starting this past Friday (8/14) the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) began testing four new document-screening technologies at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. These systems are used to automatically verify passenger boarding passes and IDs. In the TSA release about these tests, the agency doesn't provide any details about the technologies being employed. The tests will last for about 2 weeks.Read more
By Planet Data

Mexico Purges Customs Agency

In what is being described as an anti-corruption initiative, the Mexican government over the weekend replaced more than 1,000 customs agents at the country's airports and border crossings.Read more
By Planet Data

Russian Fighter Pilot Dead After 2 Jets Collide

From BBC:
"Two Russian fighter jets have collided while training for an air show near Moscow, killing one pilot and injuring at least five people on the ground."
Read moreBy Planet Data

Greetings from London, New York, Tampa and Miami

Just arrived back from Cyprus from a twin vacation in both the UK and US, having visited the cities of London, New York, Tampa and Miami. I expected to see droves of people in masks due to the Swine Flu, however I saw only one mask in summer calm on the streets, despite disappointing weather in the northern cities. Nevertheless, there were many outbreaks of Swine Flu in many summer camps across the US, especially in Maine and we can all expect a massive outbreak of the Flu in Autumn.

Taking a vacation to a city in the summer may seem like an odd concept upon first analysis, although when one studies the matter deeper there is much to gain. Firstly in London and New York, many of the residents vacate the city for their summer beach retreats and the business activity slows down significantly, hence the streets are calmer and the best rates can be obtained in quality Hotels, particularly so for the business variety. There is entertainment in the form of Musicals, concerts, local festival…

Senate Debates $550 Million for New Jets

The U.S. Senate is considering an appropriations bill that includes nearly $550 million for 8 news Gulf Stream and Boeing aircraft that would transport congressmen and other government officials when commercial air travel is not an option. However, opposition to the spending is mounting from both sides of aisle, the Wall Street Journal (subscription) first reported Monday.
This is a tricky economic and political decision for the Senate because while it might seem that paying $550 million on eight new aircraft is an extravagant expense in this time of economic turmoil, the money would be going to one of the nation's suffering industries.
Read moreBy Planet Data

50 People Forced to Spend Night in Airplane

Forty-seven passengers and three crewmembers had to spend this past Friday night onboard an ExpressJet Airlines plane on the tarmac at Minnesota's Rochester International Airport.
The Houston to the Twin Cities flight had to land in Rochester due to inclement weather. Then once on the ground the flight crew had to be replaced. While awaiting the new crew, the passengers were not allowed off the plane because all the TSA security screeners had gone home for the night, and there was not enough airport staff to deal with this many people sleeping in the terminal.
Without TSA screeners on hand the passengers legally could not reboard the aircraft once leaving. The ordeal lasted about 10 hours.
Read moreBy Planet Data

Afghan Flight Denied Landing in China

A Kam Airlines jet flying from Kabul in Afghanistan to Urumqi, the capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, turned around mid-flight and made an unscheduled landing in Kandahar Sunday night. The exact reason for this is unclear. But according to some reports, a bomb threat was made against the Boeing 767 and Chinese officials refused to allow the plane to land.Read moreBy Planet Data

One Million Chinese Evacuate Ahead of Typhoon

One million people were forced to evacuate coastal areas in China's Fujian and Zhejiang Provinces Sunday ahead of Typhoon Morakot. All travel was suspended, including dozens of flights being cancelled, 155 passenger ships remaining in port, and more than 35,000 fishing boats and other vessels called back from sea.Read moreBy Planet Data

Helicopter and Small Plane Collide Over Hudson River

A small plane and a helicopter have collided and crashed over the Hudson River in New York City.
Reports say the accident was confirmed by the US Coast Guard and NYPD. Emergency crews are on the scene and divers are in the water.
According to the NYPD, the helicopter belongs to Liberty Helicopter Sightseeing Tours.Read moreBy Planet Data

Passengers Evacuated from Plane with Engine Fire

One of the engines on an Airbus A320 operated by low-cost Spanish carrier Vueling caught on fire today at Paris' Orly Airport. The incident occurred as the plane was pushing back from the gate. About six people were injured during the emergency evacuation.Read moreBy Planet Data

No Survivors Found at Indonesian Plane Crash Site

This past Sunday a plane with 16 people aboard disappeared, and presumably crashed in Indonesia's eastern region of Papua. And on Wednesday (8/5), search and rescue workers did indeed find the crash site of the Merpati Nusantara Airlines' Twin Otter. Unfortunately officials say there are no survivors. However, there are varying reports of whether the plane was carrying 15 or 16 people.Read moreBy Planet Data

Small Bomb Explodes at Airline Ticket Office in Buenos Aires

Before daybreak Tuesday (8/4), a small improvised explosive device (IED) detonated outside the main ticket office of Chile's Lan airlines in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The explosion caused damage, but no one was injured.Read moreBy Planet Data

FAA Mandates New Rules for Ice Protection Systems on New Planes

"The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) [Monday] changed its certification standards for transport category airplanes to require either the automatic activation of ice protection systems or a method to tell pilots when they should be activated. 

The new rule requires an effective way to ensure the ice protection system is activated at the proper time. The rule applies to new transport aircraft designs and significant changes to current designs that affect the safety of flight in icing conditions. There is no requirement to modify existing airplane designs, but the FAA is considering a similar rulemaking that would cover those designs."
Read moreBy Planet Data

German Ship Free After Pirates Count Loot

We wanted to update a post from Monday about the German container ship that's been held by Somali pirates for nearly four months. The vessel, the MV Hansa Stavanger, is now free. Pirates yesterday were divvying up the $2.7 million ransom paid by the ship's owners.Read moreBy Planet Data 

Apple Wanted Man to Sign Exploding iPod Gag Order

The UK's The Times reported on Monday about an apparent attempt by Apple to keep details of an "exploding" iPod quite. The story is that a UK father contacted Apple after his daughter's iPod (the article doesn't say which model) exploded. The company sent him a letter saying it would refund the cost of the device, but only if he agreed to never discuss the terms of the settlement or the details of the incident. The man decided not to sign the letter.Read moreBy Planet Data

Six Tires Blow Out on Landing Jet

Sunday (8/2) afternoon a Northwest Airlines 747 blew six tires when it landed at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, but was able to come to a safe stop on the runway.Read moreBy Planet Data

Dozens Injured When Jet Hits Turbulence

A Continental Airlines jet on its way from Rio de Janeiro to Houston was diverted to Miami Monday (8/3) after experiencing severe turbulence at about 38,000 feet. According to reports, 26 people were injured, including 14 who had to go to the hospital.Read moreBy Planet Data

Two More Airports Begin Testing TSA Imaging Technology

This past week the Transportation Security Administration announced that two airports would begin testing two full-body imaging technologies. 
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport will deploy both millimeter wave and backscatter imaging systems. Passengers can choose to not be screened with these systems, but then they must undergo a physical pat-down.Read more
By Planet Data

Indonesian Plane Missing with 16 Aboard

"A plane with 16 people on board went missing in Indonesia's eastern region of Papua, an official said on Sunday, just weeks after the European Commission lifted a ban on four Indonesian airlines."Read moreBy Planet Data

LaGuardia Airport Bomb Scare is Over

There was a bomb scare this morning at New York City's LaGuardia Airport that resulted in the Central Terminal being evacuated, and all flights in and out of the airport being postponed. The airport reopened about 9:00 am. The scare was the result of a "highly intoxicated" man with what authorities have described as a fake bomb reports the New York Times.Read moreBy Planet Data

Coming Out Party for U.S. Navy's Next Maritime Patrol Aircraft

In Seattle Thursday (7/30), the United States Navy and Boeing unveiled the P-8A Poseidon - the Navy's next maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft. 
The P-8A is based on Boeing's Next-Generation 737-800, and will serve as the Navy's long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft capable of broad-area, maritime and littoral operations.
This was the Navy's second aviation first this week. Wednesday Lockheed Martin rolled out the first-ever U.S. Navy stealth fighter, the F-35C Lightning II.
Read moreBy Planet Data