With the long Easter weekend around the corner, many of us are taking the plane to reach their Easter break destination. And you won’t be the only one! Airports across the globe will be filled with eager travellers. Many of the airports will reach or even exceed their capacity resulting in long queues and departure delays. But all this doesn’t mean you can’t have a great airport experience. Let us show you how to make the whole experience a pleasant or even exciting one:
What’s so comfortable in sleeping high up in a US airport control tower you might ask after having read this week’s news about controller number five and six falling asleep during their night shifts. Number five was reported to have happened mid week at Reno-Tahoe International Airport (IATA: RNO) where a medical flight carrying a sick patient tried to land without anyone responding. The latest one, number six, was reported on Saturday. Here the controller fell asleep during his shift at the Miami Air Route Traffic Control Center, which oversees mostly high-altitude, long-distance flights. According to the FAA, this time the controller did not miss any calls from aircraft and there was no operational impact. With all this, voices suggesting problems in the system rather than failures of individuals now become louder as stated in a Washington Post article. This won’t be the last time we wrote about it!
Last week we started the big LAX review by describing what you can do if you have ample time at Los Angeles International Airport (IATA: LAX). For example, we showed you that you can reach the beach in 5 minutes or where you can dine in a sixties environment and spot exotic planes at the same time. In part two we are going to highlight what you can do if you are the active type or if you wanted to shop outside the airport. We then wrap it up with the popular ‘top-things-to-do list’.
This week Fox News reported that US federal authorities are investigating a second case of an air traffic controller sleeping on the job, after a similar incident at Washington’s Reagan Nation Airport caused an uproar (we wrote about it). The article said that the latest report of a snoozing air traffic controller came Wednesday during Capitol Hill testimony. This time the incident took place in, in Knoxville, Tennessee (IATA: TYS). In this case, the air traffic controller appeared to be “willfully” sleeping and the FAA said it is taking steps to fire the person.
Arriving at any US airport can be a daunting task for International passengers. Not so at Los Angeles International Airport (IATA: LAX) where travelers arrive at the newly refurbished Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) with customs procedures well organized and therefore being fairly efficient. After you collected your luggage, the arrival lounge then presents itself nice and modern. It is fitted with colour changing lights, you’ll find a cafe (“Daniel’s Bistro”, we wrote about it during our pre-trip research) and a place where greeting visitors can buy fresh flowers (what a great idea!). You will even find an art installation featuring a film strip with work from 17 artists.
It was April fools day on Friday and Virgin Atlantic released a funny press release for the occasion: they announced that fresh herbs and vegetables will be grown on board Virgin Atlantic flights for Upper Class passengers from April 1st 2011. They really built up a proper story by specifying that in Upper Class, fresh herbs will be used to complement drinks and cocktails from the bar area including thyme for Bloody Mary’s and fresh mint for Mojitos, Pimms and tea. The vegetable offering will complement the in-flight meal with availability of vegetable depending on your destination. Carrots, baby new potatoes and spinach will be available on flights returning to the UK. Miniature pumpkins and sweet potatoes will be grown on transatlantic flights to the USA, while Tokyo routes will have the choice of okura (okra) or shiitake mushrooms. Virgin Atlantic even supplied pictures of the “new service”, see one above.
Last night as part of the Passenger Terminal Expo 2011 held in Copenhagen, Skytrax announced this years World Airport Awards. The most prestigious price, Airport of the Year, went to Hong Kong International (IATA: HKG) for the 8th time since 2000. LateDeparture video reviewed the award winning airport. Last year’s winner Singapore Changi (IATA: SIN) came second and South Korea’s Incheon International Airport (IATA: ICN) third.
It’s been a massive week for Miami International Airport (IATA: MIA) after a fire broke out on Wednesday night and turning into an enormous blaze near six fuel tanks on the southeast side of the airport. It subsequently destroyed the airport’s hydrant fuel pump system forcing the cancellation of hundreds of flights. The Miami Herald wrote that “some semblance of normalcy could return by early next week after temporary pumps are installed and the backlog of canceled flights clears out.”
Does 2 hours for changing from one terminal to another at London’s busy Heathrow airport (IATA: LHR) sound like a lot of time? Nope. Would it make you nervous? Likely. Should it? Yes! Well – hang on a minute – let’s look bit closer at this as airports do improve their operations every now and then. Let me show you that ‘bad child Heathrow’ can actually work like clock work, even with a missed approach on your incoming flight. Here’s my experience report on how to change terminals at London Heathrow:
The media this week mainly focused on the developments of Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant. With that there were various reports about Tokyo’s International airport (IATA: NRT) becoming overwhelmed with people wanting to leave the country. Also we heard of several airlines (e.g. Lufthansa and Air China) stopping services to the country’s busiest hub altogether and of the opposite where airlines increased their capacities to fly their people out (e.g. Air India). But there even was “Japan nuclear” news from well outside Japan: On Thursday the Chicago Tribune reported that passengers on a flight from Tokyo had set off radiation detectors at O’Hare International Airport (IATA: ORD).