Tag Archives: Los Angeles International Airport

Random Aviation Photo

Back in May 2007, I was in Los Angeles for an aviation geek gathering. As part of the event, we were given a really cool behind-the-scenes tour of Los Angeles International Airport. Of course, I had my camera ready to take photos of international flag carriers.  The photo below is one of my all-time favorites. Enjoy!


Best Of Aviation Queen: Top 10 Worst Airports According To CNNGO – But I Disagree, Somewhat

Having traveled in countless numbers of airports and writing about the topic for almost four years, my crap detector always goes off when I see these worst-off lists.  One these things are very subjective, and two, your experience can be different, depending on the terminal.  So here we go again, with this list from CNNGO.  Based on the airports I’ve visited, I have to agree with their choices of São Paulo-Guarulhos International, Los Angeles International and Paris Charles de Gaulle, but there’s where we part.

Number seven is JFK Airport.  Frequent travelers know that your experience at JFK depends on the terminal.  Truth be told, all the terminals at JFK are pretty nice, having had major upgrades in the past 10 years — except for T2/3, operated by Delta Air Lines. T2 is used for BusinessElite check-in, along with flights to Los Angeles. San Francisco and London Heathrow.  Everyone else boards in T3, fondly known as the Third Worldport, which is what I think CNNGO was writing about.  But don’t despair — Delta will open an expanded operation at Terminal 4 in 2013.

Number three was London Heathrow.  Again, it really depends on the terminal; and the airport has also undergone some major upgrades.  I still have nightmares about navigating the old Terminal 2, but T3 and T4 have had upgrades.  And I took an extensive tour of T5, which I think is a world-class terminal.  The CNNGO article mentioned T5′s teething pains, but that was three years ago.

So — what airports make your worst-of list?

– See more at: http://www.aviationqueen.com/best-of-top-10-worst-airports-according-to-cnngo-but-i-disagree-somewhat/#sthash.uvEVe92F.dpuf

Best of Aviation Queen: The Truth About Free vs. Paid Airport WiFi

This post first appeared on Oct. 11. 2011.  Enjoy!

On Sunday, I was checking my Facebook account when I saw a post from my friend Michelle, who was upset about having to pay for WiFi at Los Angeles International Airport.  She had left her hotel early (which DID have free WiFi), so she could do work at the airport.

I explained that just like at home, or if you own a WiFi card, it costs airports to provide that service.  And in the past 10 years, airports have been squeezed on the revenue side thanks to airline mergers and service cuts, paying for unfunded mandates and underfunded Federal Aviation Administration programs that cover a facilities.

So with that, airports have to find a way to cover those costs.   Some, like Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, offer free WiFi in exchange for looking at on-screen advertising.  Some have a company or companies sponsor their WiFi.  Others, like Boston Logan, ask you to fill out a survey or watch a video to get free WiFi for an hour, then switch you over to a provider where you pay  from there.

Others — including LAX, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and my hometown Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport — partner with companies like Boingo for paid WiFi.

So before your next trip, check out the websites below to see if you’re getting free WiFi or if you’re going to be shelling out for the privilege!

Report: Top Three Most Stressful U.S. Airports

Well kids, this week begins the busy 2012 holiday travel season.  Is it just me, or did Thanksgiving just sneak up on us?  So just in time for Thanksgiving travel, the folks at the online travel and expense management company Concur have come out with a new survey on the most — and least — stressful airports in America. Concur hired KRC Research, which interviewed 1000 adults in the U.S. and another 500 in Canada between Aug. 13 and 21.

I was not surprised to see that the top three are Chicago O’Hare, Los Angeles International and JFK airports.  But regular readers here know I’m not happy when JFK is lumped into one, especially since the experience changes from terminal to terminal.  Of the ones I’ve been to, I find JetBlue’s T5 and JFKIAT’s T4 to be perfectly fine, while we all know the hell that is Delta’s Terminal 3.

 Almost 60% of the survey respondents disliked the vastness between gates and terminals at Chicago O’Hare, while nearly half (49 percent) agreed that JFK had some of the longest lines. Other leading factors of stress at airports across the country included:

  • Confusing airport signage (28 percent)
  • Poor service from airport staff (28 percent)
  • Not enough or crowded bathrooms (19 percent)

The survey touched on two of my pet peeves — poor WiFi coverage (19%) and a lack of electrical outlets (18%).

On the good news side, the Concur survey, business travelers named Dallas-Fort Worth as the most hassle-free airport, thanks to clear signage (42%), good Wi-Fi coverage (41%) and a variety of quality food options (41%).  Others seen as stress-free include Orlando International Airport and Charlotte/Douglas International Airport, among my top 10 favorite airports.

Concur’s mission is to improve the business travel experience by making it as efficient and hassle-free as possible, said Barry Padgett, executive vice president of ConcurPlatform Services.  “We do so by not only providing integrated travel and expense management solutions for companies of all sizes, but by also ensuring business travelers are as informed as possible when they venture out on their trips,” he said.  “Travel can be stressful and by issuing this study, we hope to help business travelers be more prepared for the challenges these airports can present.”

Padgett found it interesting that twice as many respondents said O’Hare was more stressful than LAX or any other airport in the U.S.  “Additionally, stress factors that made the list, such as ‘poor Wi-Fi’ and ‘insufficient amounts of electrical outlets’ support the business travel industry’s trend of being more reliant on technology than ever before,” he observed.

GUEST POST: Yee HAW! Cranky Flier Gives Us An LA Airports Roundup!

Editor’s note: kids, I have a LOT of stuff going on this month, so I’ve invited a few of my favorite avgeek bloggers to do guest posts. First up is Brett “Cranky Flier” Snyder. While I hate to praise him for anything, I do give him BIG props for writing this, considering he’s spending time with my nephew, who was born in January.  Enjoy!!

I love when the Queen goes on a royal vacation, because it gives me the chance to talk about a subject near and dear to her heart: airports.  There’s been a lot happening around Southern California airports lately, so I thought I’d do a little round-up on the latest from out here.  Let’s start with the big guy.
Los Angeles International
Most people cringe when they hear three little letters . . . LAX.  That’s because the airport is old and in need of some rehabbing.  The good news is that there’s currently a lot of work going on.  The bad news is that much of it doesn’t impact passengers.  It’s also very expensive work (more than $4 billion) so costs could be rising soon.
The biggest passenger-facing project is the new Bradley Terminal concourse.  The current small concourse is being bulldozed in favor of something lighter and bigger with a lot more concessions for passengers. I did a walk through recently and it’s coming together.  The first phase should be open a year from now.
But that doesn’t impact most of you.  That’s primarily aimed at international travelers.  What else is happening?  Alaska Airlines is getting close to putting the finishing touches on its new Terminal 6.  That place needed to be fixed up, and Alaska has done an extreme makeover, bringing its Airport of the Future concept to the place.  It will be open later this month.
Long Beach
LAX may try to hog all the glory, but there are good things going down at my home airport, Long Beach, that shouldn’t be ignored.  The old temporary double wide trailers that doubled as concourses are mostly gone.  Unfortunately, they were replaced with new trailers.  These are actually just temporary as they build a new permanent concourse.  Right now, it’s a mess with long walks to airplanes as people wind their way around the construction just to board, but that will be all worth it when the new one opens.  The airport will keep its current charm – the existing terminal  building from 1941 will stay and the new concourse will be low-rise with people still walking up stairs to board aircraft.  This has been a long time coming.
Burbank Airport is not about to be outdone in the construction arena.  It has been working on plans for a new transportation center.  Elevated moving walkways will take people from the terminal to a place where rental cars, buses, and the train will all be located.  I’m not really sure how great the customer benefit is here, but, well, it’s something new that’s happening.
Oh, poor Ontario.  That airport isn’t trying to do any construction these days as it wrestles with plunging passenger counts and high operating costs for airlines.  The city of Ontario is so unhappy that it has been trying for a long time to get the airport back from underneath the Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA)  banner.  (LAWA operates LAX.)  The mayor of LA is involved and there has even been talk at the state level.  This is a fight that isn’t going to end soon.  In the meantime, the airport will probably just mope along in its current state.