This week: Irene’s legacy and China’s security change

This week has been a mixed one. While it certainly wasn’t a quiet one for the US East Coast airports, elsewhere, things were more on the normal side with one notable exception: China. But enough of the vagueness, let’s get straight into it:

The backlash of stranded passengers across US airports was still visible early in the week, particularly at East Coast airports. Many editors therefore concentrated on stories about those passengers and the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. The New York Times, for example, wrote on Monday that airlines canceled more than 10,000 flights over the weekend at the height of the storm and canceled at least 2,000 more on Monday as they struggled to return to normal. The article continued by arguing the backlash of travellers resulted in scenes like the one on Monday at Terminal 4 at Kennedy International Airport in New York (IATA: JFK; LD hub page), where suitcases were piled like barricades against walls, lines stretched out the doors and every available seat was claimed.

Another story about annoyed passengers reached us this week all the way from China. According to an article on CNNGo, the China Civil Aviation authority surprised many travelers by raising its security standard to level 2 at Shanghai (IATA: SHA) and Beijing (IATA: PEK) airports resulting in immense queues of unprepared passengers. As for the reason for the upgrade, the article references another news source by writing the security upgrade could be related to the recent discovery of knives and other banned items at an airport in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Regions.

Then yesterday Passenger Terminal Today wrote about another Asian airport with operational change. And this time it was good news:  A new range of common use self-service (CUSS) kiosks recently introduced at Taiwan’s Taoyuan International Airport (IATA: TPE; LD reviewed) are helping to bring fast and efficient check-in to its 20 million passengers. The 52 kiosks, provided by SITA, are located in Terminals 1 and 2, and allow passengers to check in for flights on ANA, Cathay Pacific, China Airlines, Delta, EVA Airways, Dragonair, KLM and TransAsia Airways from any kiosk

Finally, on Wednesday we published our review of New York’s best terminal – terminal 5 at JFK. Okay, admittedly we haven’t (yet) visited all New York terminals or airports but given what T5 offers, we think it will be hard to top. You can read the review here.

Have a good week everyone and safe travels!

[Photo from Flickr – Some rights reserved by Tamás Mészáros]