U.S. companies have been keeping a pretty tight rein on spending by their business travelers even as the economy continues to recover, but a new study suggests they shouldn’t be too concerned about pinching pennies, because those trips bring a significant benefit to the bottom line.
Air Travel News
© Kevin Andrews - Denver International Airport
If you can remember when travelers once queued to use pay phones at the airport, then communication is going old-school at Denver International Airport—with a modern twist. DIA now offers travelers free global phone calls (limits on international) from more than 200 landline phones located throughout Jeppesen Terminal and three concourses. The phones, launched in a partnership between Clear Channel Airports and RMES Communications, are equipped with 17-inch LCD screens that display 15-second digital ads and offer digital coupons.
Courtesy of Uvex
Are you one of the millions of Americans who have trouble sleeping? Then shun “blue light” before going to bed. The American Medical Association says exposure to excessive light at night—particularly the potent “blue light” emitted by smartphones, tablets, computers and energy-saving fluorescent bulbs—disrupts sleep or exacerbates sleep disorders. If you must peruse these devices at night, check out LowBlueLights.com, which sells products to mitigate blue light exposure, including a 15-inch filter for computer screens. The free computer program f.lux, downloadable at stereopsis.com/flux, reduces a computer screen’s blue light later in the day. Another possibility: Wear glasses with orange lenses to filter blue light, such as the inexpensive Skyper Safety Eyewear, available on Amazon.
In airport news, Baltimore-Washington International has opened its new Concourse C to passengers; American adds VIP check-in at New York JFK; the mayor of New Orleans announced plans to replace the 50-year-old passenger terminal at the city’s Louis Armstrong International Airport; and the Los Angeles City Council has given a green light to a planned massive reconstruction of LAX.
A new survey of air travelers by FlightView finds that airlines could be selling a lot more ancillary services and upgrades on the day of travel — if only they offered such things to mobile device users.
Now that Boeing’s redesign of the 787 Dreamliner’s troubled lithium-ion battery system has been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration, and Boeing engineers have been dispatched to install the changes, airlines are making plans to put the Dreamliner — which was grounded in mid-January — back into their schedules.
Now that the Federal Aviation Administration has resumed full staffing at its air traffic control towers thanks to quick Congressional action, there is speculation that the agency might also put off its planned closing starting in June of 149 airport control towers that are staffed by contract personnel.
The Transportation Security Administration said some airline participants in its PreCheck trusted traveler program are beginning to notify passengers on their boarding passes about their eligibility for the expedited screening procedure; meanwhile, another airline is planning to join the program in a matter of weeks.
“By notifying passengers of their TSA PreCheck status, passengers are better able to route themselves to the TSA PreCheck lane for expedited screening,” the agency said in a blog post. Previously, the eligibility information was included only in the bar code on the boarding pass, which had to be scanned by a TSA staffer, who would then direct the passenger to the PreCheck lane.
So far, the notifications are in use by Delta, United and US Airways; TSA said other airlines in the program — i.e., American and Alaska — would be adding the capability soon, once they are “operationally ready."
Delta passengers will see the TSA PreCheck indicator on mobile boarding passes, at-home web check-in and on boarding passes printed at airport kiosks; United flyers will see it on at-home web check-in and “select” kiosk-printed boarding passes; US Airways participants will see it on mobile and at-home web check-in boarding passes, TSA said, adding that “some types of boarding passes may not support the TSA PreCheck notification feature at this time."
Members of the frequent flyer programs of the five participating airlines are allowed to apply for TSA PreCheck eligibility, which lets them go through a special screening lane at the airport where they might not have to remove shoes or belts, or take laptops or liquids out of their carry-ons, thus completing the screening process faster and more efficiently.
In other news, Virgin America Airlines said on its website that it expects to make PreCheck participation available to members of its frequent flyer program beginning this summer.
“Once we start participating in TSA PreCheck, the Virgin America team will contact eligible Elevate members with a personal invite to participate in the initiative. Then, if you participate, we’ll identify you as a TSA PreCheck participant when submitting your Virgin America reservation information to TSA’s Secure Flight system,” the airline said.
For more information on Virgin America’s upcoming participation in the program, go to http://www.virginamerica.com/vx/tsa-precheck
In news of U.S. airlines, purchasers of Southwest Airlines’ lowest fares will soon face the loss of their ticket price if they don’t show up for their flights; United turns to Embraer for a big addition of two-class jets to its United Express fleet; and US Airways announces in-flight enhancements for international travelers.
It seems like there’s no end to airlines’ appetite for adding or increasing passenger fees. In the latest developments, Frontier Airlines said it will assess new charges for passengers who don’t buy tickets through the airline’s website, including a fee for carry-on luggage; and Delta and American have joined two other legacy airlines in raising the fee for ticket changes.