This week one airport beat all other in terms of number of times it got mentioned in the media. It’s of course Moscow Airport, currently caught in the middle of the continuation of a thrilling U.S. spy story. But first, here’s our overview of this week’s news:
- Snowden’s late departure in Russia
- Missing cash from Swiss plane
- Hightech luggage tag from BA
- New LAX terminal preview
- Fluffy airport friends
Back to Russia now where on Tuesday the New York Times wrote that Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport (SVO) transit area is where Edward J. Snowden, the fugitive American national security contractor, is believed to be planning his next move. Then later in the week, the journalists still looking for the big story, started to fill their time with other background fugitive stories. For example the LA Times recapped stories of other people caught in airports, such as Mehran Karimi Nasseri, an Iranian-born refugee, famously spent nearly 18 years inside Terminal 1 of Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport.
As if the Snowden story wasn’t already thrilling airport material, on Tuesday another article broke with potential for a TV crime story when the FBI said $1.2 million in cash was discovered missing from a Swiss International Air Lines jet after it landed at John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK), wrote CBS News. The FBI is investigating whether the cash disappeared from the cargo hold in Zurich, Switzerland, where the plane originated, or after it landed.
Less thrilling but surely useful was the information we got from Wired this week when they reported about British Airways’s technology initiative: Next month, the airline will begin testing a reusable, e-ink luggage tag that connects with your smartphone. Using NFC, the app will beam your flight information to the tag, displaying your destination and a barcode on the e-paper screen. There’s no GPS-tracking, but the display is compatible with existing luggage scanners, so there’s no need to update the existing infrastructure at airports. So what you ask? Well the airline estimates that travelers using the tag will be able to have their bags dropped off and checked in less than a minute.
In Los Angeles the almost renovated Tom Bradley International Terminal saw a preview this week: Associated Press wrote that when it opens in August, the 150,000-square-foot Great Hall will highlight the excesses of Los Angeles, with a lineup of duty-free shops featuring luxe boutiques such as Hermes and Gucci. It continued by saying a Parisian bar will offer champagne and caviar that passengers can carry onto a plane. And if champagne bubbles don’t provide enough kick, travelers can plunk down $20,000 for a bottle of cognac. But not all is sunshine since while construction continues, there is a legal fight over other aspects of the project, notably moving a runway closer to neighbouring homes. Opponents of the expansion raised concerns over the effects of noise, traffic and air-quality from modernizing the airport, wrote the news service.
And finally, we have this story for you which we simply couldn’t reject: San Jose’s and Miami’s international airports have therapy dog programs, and Los Angeles International Airport — ranked the second most stressful airport in the country last year — launched its own crew of comfort dogs this year. Say what? Well, apparently after passengers clear the TSA checkpoint — put belongings in plastic bins, empty their pockets, take off their shoes and then snatch everything back up — they are met by greeters such as Hazel, a red-and-white pointer mix. Love it!
That’s all we have for this week – safe travels!
[Photo from Wikipedia – some rights reserved]