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Over in the quickly-spiraling-out-of-control world that is the airport screening line, things aren’t looking good for summertime travel. At a news conference in Chicago’s Midway Airport last week, TSA chief Peter Neffenger conceded that there’s little the agency can do to alleviate high season loads, despite more funding from congress and an increasingly exasperated traveling public.
With few alternatives, at least one airline is taking matters into its own hands. American Airlines just allocated $4M in funding to hire security contractors tasked with smoothing over checkpoints.
The only caveat: the contractors won’t necessarily be running screening. Instead, they’ll be facilitating smoother lines through managing queues, coaching passengers on luggage and generally herding all of the cats through the x-ray. Who knows how much time it’ll save passengers, but at least American will get some good will out of it.
Social Quote of the Day
I appreciate how American air travellers consistently let the row before them exit the plane first. It’s chaos in most other places.
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Alitalia Gets a New Look That’s in Line With Etihad’s Broader Ambitions: Alitalia has revealed new crew uniforms as part of its re-branding initiative and a wider program to turn around the troubled airline, a program promoted by majority stakeholder Etihad Airways. Read more at Skift
France Has Tightened Paris Airport Security Since November Attacks: French authorities have tightened security at Paris airports since last year’s attacks in the city with thousands of border police officers, custom personnel, soldiers and private guards patrolling daily in the three airports serving the French capital. Read more at Skift
Airlines and U.S. Congress Are Caught in a Blame Game Over Long Airport Lines: As airport security lines get longer, the finger-pointing over blame is growing too. Read more at Skift
The Science and Art of Modern Day Airport Security: Explosives in the form of paper, or concealed in a medicine-sized bottle and looking like salt. Tiny electric detonators. Security agents at the main airport in Paris are trained to detect all manner of increasingly sophisticated devices that could doom a flight. But the chilling reality is that security is ultimately fallible. Read more at Skift
TSA Boss: Thanks for the Extra Money But Long Lines Will Remain: The head of the Transportation Security Administration warned travelers Friday to expect long airport security lines to continue during the peak summer travel season despite Congress’ shifting of $34 million to the agency. Read more at Skift
Uber Is Testing Its Self-Driving Cars on the Streets of Pittsburgh: Uber says it has outfitted a Ford Fusion hybrid with radars, laser scanners and high-resolution cameras. It’s using the car to test self-driving capability and collect mapping data. Read more at Skift
Gogo Is Trying to Raise $500 Million to Improve In-Flight Wi-Fi: Tired of spotty in-flight Wi-Fi service? The junk bond market may be able to help. Gogo Inc., the provider of often-griped-about Internet service on airplanes, said it’s planning to raise $500 million in a bond offering that has been rated six-levels below investment-grade by S&P Global Ratings. Proceeds will be used to refinance debt and for general corporate purposes, including funding costs related to “the launch and commercial rollout of Gogo’s next-generation technology.” Read more at Skift
To Tip or Not to Tip Your Uber Driver: There’s no need to tip. But in recent weeks Uber has begun allowing drivers in two states — California and Massachusetts — to post signs in their cars that say tips are appreciated. Is this just the beginning of Uber tipping? And what does it mean for travelers? Read more at The New York Times
Bank of America Says Airbnb and Weak Business Travel Are Hurting Hotels: In a note published on Thursday, BofAML analysts led by Shaun Kelley cited a raft of pressures on the lodging sector, such as “soft” corporate demand, a glut of brick-and-mortar hotels, and pressure brought to bear by the Internet, including the rise of home-sharing startup Airbnb Inc. Read more at Skift
The Trump-Connected Hotel Award System That Loves Trump Hotels: More than a dozen Donald Trump businesses — from golf courses, hotels, casinos and private clubs — have been honored over the years with “Star Diamond” awards from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences, a company that doles out shiny plaques representing “the most prestigious award of true excellence in hospitality.” But in Trump’s case the academy isn’t an independent observer — it is run by a longtime Trump associate, Joseph Cinque, who goes by the nickname “Joey No Socks” and has a felony conviction for possessing stolen property. Read more at Skift
Dubai Developers Try Underwater Bedrooms to Jumpstart Large Hotel Project: Surrounded by 300 deserted man-made islands, Dubai’s newest real-estate wonder has all the amenities of a luxury hotel — plus views of the bottom of the sea. Read more at Skift
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