Australian passport holders can choose between three gender classifications, Google flight search receives mixed reviews, we may be approaching the end of naked images from full-body scanners, and more. Here are the stories that travellers are buzzing about:
TSA explores new ways to improve passenger experience
In continued efforts to speed up
security lines, airports have been developing express lanes. While most new
programs have focused on frequent fliers and passengers willing to submit
themselves to background checks, Pittsburgh International Airport has developed
lane for people with only one carry on bag, CNN reports.
Meanwhile, changes are also coming
to the full-body scanners that have been the subject of much controversy since
they were first introduced in 2007. The House Subcommittee on
Transportation Security unanimously approved an amendment
to the annual TSA Authorisation Act of 2011, which should
put an end to the naked full-body images that show up on Advanced
Imaging Technology machines at US airports. Rather than detailed images of
passengers' bodies, generic outlines will be produced, MSNBC reports. The new
systems should be in place within the next 90 days.
Google Flights gets off to rocky start
Google launched its much-anticipated
flight search tool Tuesday and reviews have been mixed. While plenty of Twitter
users appear to be impressed, Google's newest venture definitely has some kinks
to work out. MSNBC found difficulty
comparing flights, non-intuitive date-flexibility tools and limited
destinations to be problematic. In a comparison to Kayak, the New York Times
found the new search tool to be simpler with cooler
filtering and viewing tools, but still decided Kayak was more useful at
present. Meanwhile, Tnooz has already begun looking further into the future by
considering ways Google could eventually
take flight search global.
An American English Dialects map
The astonishingly complex map, created by
Rick Aschmann, uses a stupefying mix of keys, colour-coding, dots and
intersecting lines to explain American English dialects, as well as their divisions,
subdivisions and origins. Aschmann's site also has articles discussing
topics such as "how many vowels are there in American English?",
"New York City and its offspring" and "the US-Canada border and
the 'badge of identity.'" If that's not enough, there's audio examples.
There's enough there to keep Bill Bryson busy for days.
Ryanair launches Cash Passport to avoid fees
The budget airline is releasing its
own Mastercard prepaid debit card, and come 1 November, only passengers who use
Ryanair Cash Passport will be able to avoid the £6-per-one-way admin fee
that results from booking with a debit or credit card, the Guardian reports.
"[The gender] 'X' is really
quite important because there are people who are indeed genetically ambiguous
and were probably arbitrarily assigned as one sex or the other at birth,"
Pratt said. "It's a really important recognition of people's human rights
that if they choose to have their sex as 'indeterminate,' that they can."
- Australian Senator Louise Pratt,
whose partner was born female and is now identified as a man, discussed
Thursday's announcement that Australian passport holders can now choose between
gender classifications as part of an effort to help eliminate
discrimination against transgender people and people of ambiguous sex. Pratt
said such people often face questioning and detention at airports because their
appearance does not match their gender status. Now, as long as they have a
supporting statement from a doctor, people will have the option of marking the
gender section of their passports with an 'X', the Associated Press
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