A ticketless man gets through airport security twice, Virgin America offers free laptop rentals, business travellers pay big to enrol in trusted-traveller programs, and more. Here are the stories travellers are buzzing about:
Google and Virgin America partner up
Virgin America continues its quest to provide the
best services. The airline announced yesterday it would offer some passengers
the opportunity to test
out one of Google's new Chromebooks
free of charge on select flights between San Francisco and Boston, Dallas or
Chicago from 1 July to 30 September. The lucky passengers will also get free
in-flight wi-fi, as the cloud-based computer requires wi-fi or 3G for virtually
all its functions. Several other airlines have already announced plans to offer
iPads for rent.
TSA continues to frustrate travellers
Amid reports of increased frustration with the Transportation Security
Administration (TSA), an adult-diaper
screening and an anti-groping
bill in Texas that failed to get final approval Wednesday, Forbes suggested
multiple ways to improve the pre-boarding process. Columnist Andrew Bender
examined the benefits of a trusted-traveller
program — which 75% of business travellers would pay up to $150 to enrol in,
according to a recent report — noting that in addition to saving frequent flyers
invaluable time, it would also benefit the TSA. Meanwhile, Forbes' Art Carden
has another idea for the TSA: get rid of it altogether. He argues that despite
the TSA causing travellers grief and time, it doesn't
provide much actual security.
FBI arrests man arrested for attempting
to fly without valid boarding pass
The success of a man twice getting past airport security without a valid
boarding pass suggests Carden might not be far off in his allegations that
the TSA provides more "security theatre" than actual protection.
Federal agents arrested the man in Los Angeles while trying to board an
Atlanta-bound Delta flight Wednesday. He was using another passenger's expired
boarding pass and had 10 more expired boarding passes in his bag. Last Friday,
he successfully flew from New York to Los Angeles employing the same method.
Investigations are still ongoing.
Greece expects increase in tourist
After taking a 20% hit to tourism revenue from 2008 to 2010, officials say they
expect a 10%
increase in tourist arrivals this summer, despite strikes, social unrest
and violent protests,
Reuters reports. Considering the tourism sector accounts for one fifth of the
Greece's jobs and 16% of it's GDP, that's welcome news for the embattled
country. As CNN reported this week,
Greek-Americans hoping to bolster the economy of their homeland are
partially to thank for the increase in international visitors.
Planes may cause rain
Frequent flyers have all, at one point, sat at the airport cursing their bad
luck for the pouring rain that's caused a seemingly endless flight delay. Well,
it turns out that sometimes the rain might not be caused by luck at all, but
rather by aircraft themselves. The Wall Street Journal reports that planes can
cause holes in clouds, which can result in increased
precipitation in areas immediately surrounding major airports. Though there
are limited examples, data does exist to support the phenomenon.
Screen: A Love Story recently won the 2011 Nokia Shorts competition. Shot entirely
on a mobile phone, the two-minute film creatively juxtaposes the lives and
journeys of a set of unfamiliar travellers — one from Paris, the other from New
York — before they have chance encounter in London. Director JW Griffiths
features short pieces on the making of the
film on his Vimeo channel.
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