Tag Archives: Harriet Baskas

Rolling Aviation Thoughts

  • I am a big fan of art in airports.  I feel like it breaks up the monotony of the walls, plus I get to experience art I might not see in my everyday life.  So I was delighted to read this great story in USA Today Travel from my airport soul sister Harriet Baskas on the re-dedication of a multi-panel mural at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport saluting African-American achievements in aviation.
  • The New York Times Practical Traveler column recently covered ways that travelers can speed through security lines.  While the article did outline the options (Global Entry and Pre-Check) it made it so very clear how limited the options really are. Global Traveler is for those who travel overseas, while Pre-Check is only for frequent travelers flying on American and Delta. I sure wish there were more options for those of us who don’t fit into the above categories.
  • The Toledo Blade recently had an article about how Toledo Express Airport still hasn’t been able to attract commercial airline service seven months after receiving a $750,000 Small Community Air Service grant designed to bring in a carrier.  This is not a new problem for the airport, which  is about an hour’s drive away from Detroit Metro Airport.  And there’s the problem. You have a major hub airport that offers service around the glob, plus a healthy amount of flights from Southwest Airlines.  And flying out of Toledo to connect through another airport tends to cost more. The airport received a $400,000 grant back in 2006, but had to return the money after having no luck attracting an airport even then. The lesson? Just because you build it, doesn’t mean they will come.
  • Peter Shankman, founder of the Help A Reporter Out website and frequent traveler, recently did a Twitter Q&A on flights from Hong Kong to New York and Newark to Los Angeles International Airport.  Some of the questions — what is the meaning of life — are a little offbeat, but there are plenty of other travel-related questions that are worth a read.
  • Last week, a former flight student tried to steal a Cessna 152 from Compton Airport, reports the Los Angeles Times.  I found several things interesting about this. One, who knew there was an airport in Compton and that it’s been around since 1924? Two, please feel free to insert your favorite NWA jokes here.  And three, click here to read a conversation I had with my flight instructor about this story, on the AOPA Pilot blog.

Rolling Aviation Thoughts

  • I am a big fan of art in airports.  I feel like it breaks up the monotony of the walls, plus I get to experience art I might not see in my everyday life.  So I was delighted to read this great story in USA Today Travel from my airport soul sister Harriet Baskas on the re-dedication of a multi-panel mural at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport saluting African-American achievements in aviation.
  • The New York Times Practical Traveler column recently covered ways that travelers can speed through security lines.  While the article did outline the options (Global Entry and Pre-Check) it made it so very clear how limited the options really are. Global Traveler is for those who travel overseas, while Pre-Check is only for frequent travelers flying on American and Delta. I sure wish there were more options for those of us who don’t fit into the above categories.
  • The Toledo Blade recently had an article about how Toledo Express Airport still hasn’t been able to attract commercial airline service seven months after receiving a $750,000 Small Community Air Service grant designed to bring in a carrier.  This is not a new problem for the airport, which  is about an hour’s drive away from Detroit Metro Airport.  And there’s the problem. You have a major hub airport that offers service around the glob, plus a healthy amount of flights from Southwest Airlines.  And flying out of Toledo to connect through another airport tends to cost more. The airport received a $400,000 grant back in 2006, but had to return the money after having no luck attracting an airport even then. The lesson? Just because you build it, doesn’t mean they will come.
  • Peter Shankman, founder of the Help A Reporter Out website and frequent traveler, recently did a Twitter Q&A on flights from Hong Kong to New York and Newark to Los Angeles International Airport.  Some of the questions — what is the meaning of life — are a little offbeat, but there are plenty of other travel-related questions that are worth a read.
  • Last week, a former flight student tried to steal a Cessna 152 from Compton Airport, reports the Los Angeles Times.  I found several things interesting about this. One, who knew there was an airport in Compton and that it’s been around since 1924? Two, please feel free to insert your favorite NWA jokes here.  And three, click here to read a conversation I had with my flight instructor about this story, on the AOPA Pilot blog.

My Top 5 Airline Story Picks For The Week

It was a fast week, with a veritable aviation news smorgasbord to choose from.  But I force myself to pick only five, so here goes!

  1. It seemed like a good idea at the time:  Rep. John Mica, (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Transportation Committee, was the father of the legislation that created the Transportation Security Administration. But 10 years later, he grades the agency he created with a D-, telling Human Events that “the whole program has been hijacked by bureaucrats.”
  2. It was a split order for Air France KLM, which announced plans to buy 25  Boeing 787-9s for KLM and 25  Airbus A350-900s for Air France, reports SeattlePI.  It was the first joint order for the carriers, which merged back in 2004.
  3. The Mercury News writes about how the city of San Jose has been fighting to get a direct flight to Japan from Mineta San Jose International Airport, including hosting officials from ANA and having Mayor Chuck Reed lobby for the flight during a trip to the Asian nation. The carrier plans on putting a display of its Boeing 787 seating in city hall for two days, seen as an encouraging sign.  But the airport faces stiff competition against more established Asian hubs, including Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
  4. Talk about King Solomon’s choice! The folks running Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport faced a difficult decision after one of its higher-paid employees was arrested for a non-work-related crime: let him continue to come to work or pay him to stay home.  They chose the latter, reports the Star-Tribune, who notes the airport doesn’t have a formal policy to handle this type of issue.  What would you have done (put me down for stay home)?
  5. My airport soul sister Harriet Baskas uses her MSNBC Overhead Bin column to discuss airbags on commercial airline flights.  The airbags are used for passengers in bulkhead seats.

I was pleased as punch to guest host episode 164 of the Airplane Geeks podcast.  And the bonus? The guest was my good friend Henry Harteveldt, who just partnered with 2 other gentlemen to create the new aviation consultancy Atmosphere Research Group.  And we can’t end the week without my Strange but True Aviation News column for Aviation Week’s Things With Wings blog.  Enjoy the weekend!

Top Five Most Interesting Aviation Stories Of The Week

It was another fun week in aviation, which made it really hard for me to narrow my picks for the week down to five.  But I did, so here goes!

  1. Usually airline employees learn about cost-cutting measures via an internal company memo. Very rarely are they asked for suggestions on how cuts should be made. Which is why I really enjoyed this story — Alaska Asks Employees How To Cut Costs — written by my Aviation Week colleague Lee Ann Tegtmeier. “Since Alaska Airlines created the suggestion box for fuel ideas in 2008, it has generated millions of gallons of savings for the airline,” she writes.
  2. I am a BIG John Cusack fan.  I will watch ANY movie he’s in good or bad.  I felt obliged to watch “Pushing Tin,” which offered what can only be described as a creative picture of the work done by air traffic controllers.  Scott McCartney’s Middle Seat Terminal blog in the Wall Street Journal offers a much better picture of the work air traffic controllers do.
  3. I’m originally from California.  I still have friends and family there, and I’m always hearing about the latest budget cuts the state is enforcing to close a mind-blowing, nearly $10 billion (yes, with a B) budget gap. And in classic trickle-down economics, cities are being forced to share in the pain. The city of Los Angeles went to the Board of Airport Commissioners for cuts, and the $400,000 Travelers Aid Society budget was cut, ending services at Los Angeles International Airport after a 61-year run, reports the LA Times.
  4. I really enjoyed this piece on MSNBC from my airport soul sister Harriet Baskas — Q&A: What to do about overhead bin hogs. As a regular traveler, I’ve seen travelers get downright nasty about getting that overhead bin space. It seems to be much worse on airlines charging bag fees.
  5. Back in the mid- to late 1990s, I traveled the world — a lot.  I used these trips to buy adult beverages at duty-free shops around the globe for my cabinet at home.  I switched to Bombay Sapphire Gin after a tasting at London Heathrow Airport.  At one point, the cabinet was filled with alcohol purchased outside the country.  I’ve bought other items, which is why this USA Today article — Are airport duty-free stores still a bargain? — caught my eye.  The short answer is yes — depending on where you go and what you buy.

Earlier this week, CNN ran two separate columns on badly behaving children on airplanes.  Writer L.Z.  Granderson was blunt in his article, Permissive parents: Curb your brats.  And our good friend Brett Snyder — the Cranky Flier — writes about how business travelers can avoid the pitfalls of families traveling with children in Summer travel: Watch out for amateurs.  I’m the mother of a five-year-old, and I couldn’t agree with these two gentlemen more.

Last — but not least — we have a short version of Strange But True Aviation News.  Next week, I’ll be on vacation deep in the heart of Texas. But I’ve asked a few of my friends to do guest posts for me. I hope you enjoy them!!

Top Five Most Interesting Aviation Stories Of The Week

I thought this would be a nice, relaxing week after the craziness of the Paris Air Show last week, but NOOOOOOOO!  We have to deal with a potential threat to GPS, American Air mulling a 200+ aircraft order and President Obama bashing corporate jets to name a few of the stories dominating the aviation news this week.  But the show must go on, so let’s get to it.

  1. I wish the Transportation Security Administration would make up its mind.  First, it allowed airports to hire private screeners under the Screening Partnership Program.  Then TSA Chief John Pistole put the kibosh on the program, saying he didn’t see an advantage to having the program, reports MSNBC’s Overhead Bin column. And now, writes Harriet Baskas, the agency is reversing itself again, asking airports to show “a clear and substantial advantage to TSA’s security operations.”
  2. You all know about my fascination (OK-obsession) with airports.  Which is why I enjoyed this article from our friends at AirFareWatchDog on the world’s most thrilling airports.  I’ve actually flown into two of them — Princess Juliana International Airport,  St. Maarten and LaGuardia Airport, New York. I also loved flying into the old Kai Tak Airport in Hong Kong.
  3. A shout out to my friend @FieldSix for this Wall Street Journal guest column from Chef David Chang of Momofuku restaurant fame.  Chang reveals what every one of us who have ever had the chance to fly in first class internationally — he’s become a travel snob.
  4. And my friend Michelle Fitzhugh-Craig’s magazine shades features a profile of  Ayesha Durrani is a Canadian-born woman of Pakistani descent who travels regularly to Central and South America.
  5. I grew up as an Air Force brat, and one of my biggest thrills was attending military air shows, especially the one at Andrews AFB outside of DC.  So I loved this Tchnologist blog post on the The Top Five Airshow Fly Overs.  And it’s video!!

And of course, it wouldn’t be Friday without Aviation Week’s Strange But True Aviation News.  We have passengers with bladder problems, turtles on the tarmac, scorpions on a plane and the usual “I didn’t know I had a gun!” Enjoy!!