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I write this morning from the E terminal of MSP after another adventure making it through TSA’s PreCheck lines. With the holidays upon us, this morning is a heavy day for leisure travelers, and one would expect the PreCheck line to be shorter than normal. Not so. Four times the length of the first class line, the checkpoint was stuffed with travelers of all shapes and sizes, and I abandoned my effort to wander over to greener access points.
Back in the first class line, however, I noticed a new strategy from the TSA in dealing with stray precheck passengers. Irrespective of the checkpoint, agents are using the “LLL” code to indicate that a passenger is PreCheck cleared. At the screening, I was allowed to leave my shoes on and go through the magnetometer, though I still had to take my computer out. Over the past two weeks, I’ve had similar experiences at other airports, though in PIT I was given a laminated card instead of an LLL.
While this isn’t the best solution for PreCheck congestion at least it’s an alternative option to the ridiculous lines recently.
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Oh it’s storming again, didn’t you hear? A major system is working its way across the Midwest right now with the east coast directly in its cross hairs. And though weather underground and numerous giddy New Yorkers reported balmy temperatures over the weekend, Monday will bring plummeting temperatures and major ice in upper New England. At least it isn’t a huge travel day, right?
Now’s a good time to bone up on your backup plans and airline customer service numbers. Johnny Jet has a good resource here.
Social Quote of the Day
Since Saturday morning, @united has tweeted “we don’t like delays either” 27 times. “We hate to hear” 25 times. The word “delay” 210 times.
Onboard the JetBlue A321 Inaugural: The new fleet of A321s is the launch pad for the new core experience, which includes enhanced entertainment, in-seat power, new drink holders, and new seats. The new seats in particular are innovative, replacing the hard seat cushion with a woven fabric that suspends from both sides of the seat, and are already installed. Read more at airchive.com
U.S. Airlines Call for Tougher Rules for Bad Passengers: A drunken man gets tackled by a group of off-duty cops in November while trying to storm the cockpit on a flight from Warsaw to Toronto. An inebriated passenger on a January flight from Iceland to New York tries to grope and choke fellow travelers until crew and passengers bind him with duct tape. Such incidents are no longer flukes but rather a trend that has prompted airlines to call for new laws to deal with unruly passengers and other mayhem on international flights. Read more at Skift
United Internal Memo Blames Partner Airlines For Leap in Frequent Flyer Awards Requirements: The number of award miles needed to snag a seat in the premium cabin will rise dramatically next year at Delta (DAL) and United (UAL)—and airline mile collectors are fuming. Read more at Skift
Solution to Heathrow’s Woes May Be a Pilot’s Napkin Sketch from 25 Years Ago: Former Concorde pilot Captain William “Jock” Lowe can remember exactly where he was when he had his Eureka moment, even though it was a quarter of a century ago. Read more at Skift
U.S. Flight Delays Are Significantly Undercounted, Says Inspector General: Flight delays are significantly undercounted at some of the biggest U.S. hub airports, skewing airlines’ on-time performance statistics disclosed to travelers, according to an inspector general’s report. Read more at Skift
Lyft Boasts That It Is Growing Much Faster Than Uber: Uber’s revenue numbers, which were leaked to Gawker just a few weeks ago, look bold at roughly $20 million per week. But there isn’t necessarily a definitive market winner yet in the peer-to-peer space, as the entire field is on a rising tide. Lyft, which started peer-to-peer ride-sharing after Uber’s black cars on demand, is seeing its revenues grow at a rate of about 6 percent every single week, according to raw data and revenue dashboards that Lyft co-founder John Zimmer shared exclusively with TechCrunch. Read more at Skift
Senate Report Explains How Companies Sell Your Data for Marketing Purposes: last year, the US Federal Trade Commission ordered nine so-called “data brokers” to explain how they obtain and share insights into consumer behavior, and this week the Senate Commerce Committee has published a report with the results. They’re rather incredible. Read more at The Verge
U.S. Predicts Electric Vehicles Won’t Make a Dent by 2040: If you’re looking forward to the day when electric cars rule the roads, you probably won’t like what the US Department of Energy has to say. The organization’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) is forecasting that the vast majority of cars will still use gasoline in the year 2040. Read more at The Verge
2014 Needs to Be the Year of Free In-Room Hotel Wi-Fi: Really, it makes no sense. Cheap hotels have free Wi-Fi in the rooms. Expensive hotels don’t. It is time that America’s hotels make a New Year’s resolution for 2014: Stop charging for in-room Internet access. Read more at Skift
Indiana County Cleans Dirty Hotel Image: Hoteliers in Fort Wayne, Indiana, don’t want their properties to show up on TripAdvisor’s next “dirtiest hotels” list, and commissioners of Allen County are taking steps to ensure they won’t. Read more at Hotel News Now
Marriott New Member Stackable Free Night Bonus: Marriott is offering new members a free night at any category 1-5 hotel for staying twice at participating hotels within 120 days from the end of the month in which you join. Read more at View from the Wing