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Briefs: LHR terminal opens in June; Texas airports add passport kiosks

In airport news, London Heathrow’s new Terminal 2 is expected to open to the public in June; international arrivals formalities for passengers at Dallas/Ft. Worth and Houston Bush Intercontinental should go more smoothly thanks to new self-service kiosks; TSA adds PreCheck for international connecting travelers at Miami International; and US Airways moves at LAX.

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Briefs: Summer delays seen at SFO; improvements coming for NYC

In airport news, travelers to San Francisco International could see a spike in delays this summer; the New York/New Jersey Port Authority’s new 10-year capital improvements budget will have a big impact on airports; and Tampa International wins approval for a billion-dollar upgrade project.

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Is Berlin's new airport ever going to open?

The opening of Berlin’s new Brandenburg Airport has been delayed once again. The big facility, which Germany once looked to with pride as the nation’s biggest construction project, has become what the Times of London recently called “a national disgrace that is the butt of jokes from television hosts to club comedians.”

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Briefs: Free Wi-Fi coming to ATL; LAX loses an iconic restaurant

In airport news, free Wi-Fi could finally be coming to Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson International; an iconic restaurant closes at Los Angeles International, and some terminal improvements are coming there; travelers at Philadelphia International are the target of big new digital video ads; and India’s Mumbai Airport debuts a large new passenger terminal.

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Briefs: SEA speeds up Customs; SFO readies new boarding area

In airport news, Seattle-Tacoma International is the latest airport to deploy new technology that should move U.S. international arrivals through Customs clearance faster; San Francisco International this month will open the first phase of its Terminal 3 renovation; and a poll finds Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson flyers are ahead of the crowd in travel technology acceptance.

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Service Dogs Soothe Passengers' Nerves

Service Dogs Sooth Passengers' Nerves
© Ambassadogs

While traveling, you probably miss your loved ones—including the family dog. Some airports are trying to fill the canine void in an effort to reduce your stress levels. Fort Lauderdale—Hollywood International Airport has an AmbassaDogs program with seven certified therapy dogs that wear red “Please pet me” scarves. The canines work mostly weekdays, and they’ll even pose for photos. San Antonio International Airport has also gone to the dogs with a Pups and Planes greeter program. Whiskers, Saxon, QT, Gracie and other therapy dogs calm travelers during long waits. At Los Angeles International Airport, a PUP (Pets Unstressing Passengers) program started earlier this year. The dog and handler teams carry trading cards featuring the dog’s vital statistics and airport improvement information. The 30 comfort pooches are registered with Therapy Dogs, Inc. At Bangor International Airport, Opie and Skylar, a pair of shih tzu therapy dogs, are part of the Maine Troop Greeters service. Meanwhile, therapy dog Casey is a “K-9 ambassador” at Miami International Airport. The golden retriever sports a vest with the words “Pet me.” The first airport therapy dog was introduced shortly after 9/11 by the Mineta San Jose International Airport in California.

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Briefs: Free health checks offered; new Qatar facility opens soon

In airport news, a company is installing health stations in select U.S. airports to conduct free testing on passengers; Doha, Qatar is about to cut the ribbon on a long-delayed new airport; and the SkyTeam global alliance upgrades check-in for member carriers at Tokyo Narita.

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LoungeBuddy Finds Best Airport Lounges

LoungeBuddy Finds Best Airport Lounges
© Loungebuddy

An airport lounge can seem like an oasis, but how do you know which lounges are available to you? The app LoungeBuddy can help you determine the right lounge for your needs based on amenities, reviews, location and cost/access requirements. Enter your information, and the app tells you which lounges you can access at no cost or for a one-time fee. You can also store your elite statuses, lounge memberships and related credit card programs. Ratings and reviews are also available, and users can upload their own lounge photos. The app is available for iPhone and, soon, Android. Go to loungebuddy.com.

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Inflight Wi-Fi to Get Faster

Inflight Wi-Fi to Get Faster
© Rene Mansi/Getty Images

The decision to use your portable electronic device aboard an airplane may become more irresistible. That’s because a number of airlines are boosting their in-flight Wi-Fi speeds by up to six times the current best option. Virgin America will launch Gogo’s new hybrid in-flight Wi-Fi system, allowing passengers to stream mobile media, in the second half of 2014. JetBlue Airways planned to begin installing a new satellitebased high-speed connection called Fly-Fi at the end of 2013. The carrier says it expects to add it to its entire fleet of 180 aircraft by the end of 2015. American Airlines also is installing the Gogo hybrid system on its new Airbus A319 aircraft, which are currently being delivered, as well as on new aircraft on order—including Airbus A320s and B-737s. Look for airlines to offer passengers at least two levels of Wi-Fi service (slower and faster speeds) at varying price points.

Airports with the highest percentage of originating passengers using Gogo’s in-flight Wi-Fi service are:

  1. San Francisco International Airport
  2. Kennedy Airport, N.Y.
  3. John Wayne Airport, Santa Ana, Calif.
  4. Los Angeles International Airport
  5. Washington Dulles Airport
  6. Newark Liberty Airport, N.J.
  7. LaGuardia Airport, N.Y.C
  8. O’Hare International Airport, Chicago?
  9. Seattle–Tacoma International Airport
  10. San Jose International Airport, Calif.

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Briefs: Stress management at ORD; new LH lounge at EWR

In airport news, stressed-out travelers at Chicago O’Hare have a new resource for regaining their equanimity; Lufthansa opens a new lounge for premium passengers at Newark Liberty international; and Minneapolis-St. Paul wins honors for its food and beverage options.

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