Tag Archives: cranky flier

GUEST POST: Yee HAW! Cranky Flier Gives Us An LA Airports Roundup!

13 Mar

Editor’s note: kids, I have a LOT of stuff going on this month, so I’ve invited a few of my favorite avgeek bloggers to do guest posts. First up is Brett “Cranky Flier” Snyder. While I hate to praise him for anything, I do give him BIG props for writing this, considering he’s spending time with my nephew, who was born in January.  Enjoy!!

I love when the Queen goes on a royal vacation, because it gives me the chance to talk about a subject near and dear to her heart: airports.  There’s been a lot happening around Southern California airports lately, so I thought I’d do a little round-up on the latest from out here.  Let’s start with the big guy.
 
Los Angeles International
Most people cringe when they hear three little letters . . . LAX.  That’s because the airport is old and in need of some rehabbing.  The good news is that there’s currently a lot of work going on.  The bad news is that much of it doesn’t impact passengers.  It’s also very expensive work (more than $4 billion) so costs could be rising soon.
 
The biggest passenger-facing project is the new Bradley Terminal concourse.  The current small concourse is being bulldozed in favor of something lighter and bigger with a lot more concessions for passengers. I did a walk through recently and it’s coming together.  The first phase should be open a year from now.
 
But that doesn’t impact most of you.  That’s primarily aimed at international travelers.  What else is happening?  Alaska Airlines is getting close to putting the finishing touches on its new Terminal 6.  That place needed to be fixed up, and Alaska has done an extreme makeover, bringing its Airport of the Future concept to the place.  It will be open later this month.
 
Long Beach
LAX may try to hog all the glory, but there are good things going down at my home airport, Long Beach, that shouldn’t be ignored.  The old temporary double wide trailers that doubled as concourses are mostly gone.  Unfortunately, they were replaced with new trailers.  These are actually just temporary as they build a new permanent concourse.  Right now, it’s a mess with long walks to airplanes as people wind their way around the construction just to board, but that will be all worth it when the new one opens.  The airport will keep its current charm – the existing terminal  building from 1941 will stay and the new concourse will be low-rise with people still walking up stairs to board aircraft.  This has been a long time coming.
 
Burbank
Burbank Airport is not about to be outdone in the construction arena.  It has been working on plans for a new transportation center.  Elevated moving walkways will take people from the terminal to a place where rental cars, buses, and the train will all be located.  I’m not really sure how great the customer benefit is here, but, well, it’s something new that’s happening.
 
Ontario
Oh, poor Ontario.  That airport isn’t trying to do any construction these days as it wrestles with plunging passenger counts and high operating costs for airlines.  The city of Ontario is so unhappy that it has been trying for a long time to get the airport back from underneath the Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA)  banner.  (LAWA operates LAX.)  The mayor of LA is involved and there has even been talk at the state level.  This is a fight that isn’t going to end soon.  In the meantime, the airport will probably just mope along in its current state.

Top Five Interesting Stories Of The Week

20 Feb

It was a busy week, catching all the news from the Singapore Air Show and Heli-Expo.  We also saw President Obama release his FY 2013 budget and FINALLY sign the $63 billion Federal Aviation Administration authorization bill, which keeps the agency funded through 2015. So here’s what else went on.

  1. As American Airlines parent AMR Corp. continues its stay in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, its labor unions, which have a seat at the creditors table, are doing what they can to keep as many jobs as possible, despite the airline’s recent announcement of 13,000 job cuts.  As an alternative to those cuts, two of the carrier’s largest unions — the Transport Workers Union and the Association of Professional Flight Attendants — has said the company should consider offering lump sum buy-outs, reports Aviation Week.  TWU is proposing $75,000, with health insurance and other benefits retained for 9,000 employees facing the chopping blog. APFA is asking for a year’s salary and current health, travel and pension rights for members with more than 15 years’ seniority.
  2. Anyone who’s a regular reader of this blog or who follows me on Twitter (@AvQueenBenet) knows that I think allowing cell phones during flight is another circle of hell. Do you hear the chatter that starts as soon as a plane lands? Can you imagine hearing that on a DC-San Francisco flight? One provision under the newly passed FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 is that Congress is requiring the FAA to study the impact of cell phones for voice communications on aircraft where such service is currently permitted by foreign governments, reports Mary Kirby (@APEXMary) in her APEX Editor’s Blog. Here’s hoping that the study will continue to uphold the inflight ban on cell phones.
  3. Back when I was in college in the 1980s, I was always trying to find the cheapest way to fly from D.C. home to San Francisco. My savior was PeoplExpress, also fondly known as People’s Distress. They had $99 fares, you paid to check bags and for food/drinks onboard. You even paid your air fare onboard. It wasn’t a luxury ride, but it got you from point A to point B at a pretty reasonable price.  The airline shut down in February 1987 and it was folded into Continental Airlines. Fast forward 25 years later, and it may be coming back. Some of the folks from the original airline are proposing to bring back the low-cost carrier and headquarter it at Newport News-Williamsburg International Airport in Virginia, reports the Washington Post.  The carrier plans to initially serve destinations in Florida, New England, the Great Lakes, and Mid-Atlantic regions, then expand to other cities, such as Pittsburgh, Providence, West Palm Beach and Newark, where airline consolidation over the past few years has led to a reduction of non-stop air service.
  4. Like most frequent travelers, I’ve been watching with interest as the Transportation Security Administration continues to expand its PreCheck trusted traveler program. I covered the airport security beat for four years, which gave me a front-row seat to the private sector operated registered traveler program.  You can read my post on the APEX Editor’s Blog about how we got from a private RT program to an effort overseen and blessed by TSA.
  5. It’s Black History Month, and I’ve always had a particular fondness for those who were pioneers in the aviation/airline industry.  My brother from another mother — Greg Gross from the I’m Black and I Travel blog — shared the amazing story of Norma Merrick Sklarek, who died this year at the age of 85. Ms. Sklarek’s claim to fame was that she was the first black woman in America to be licensed as an architect. But her place in aviation history was secured as the leader of the team that designed Terminal 1 at LAX, which received the millions of visitors for the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.  She also designed the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. Not bad for a woman who began her career designing bathrooms for the New York City building department.

I was a busy bee last week, with an APEX Editor’s Blog post about JetBlue’s food choices at its flagship Terminal 5 at JFK Airport, two stories in Aviation International News’ Singapore Air Show publication (on Enterprise Florida and Canada’s Manitoba Department of Entrepreneurship, Training and Trade) and a stint as guest host on episode 185 of the Airplane Geeks podcast. And last — but certainly not least — I got to be a judge, along with Henry Harteveldt and Brett “Cranky Flier” Snyder in a 12th anniversary cake contest to celebrate JetBlue’s 12th anniversary, as retold on the carrier’s Blue Tales blog.

Top Five Interesting Stories Of The Week

6 Feb

What a week it was! We saw the demise of another European carrier — Malev Hungarian; we saw American Airlines unveil its expected job cuts as part of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing; and a manufacturing issue forces Boeing to inspect its flagship 787.  So let’s go onto the news!

  1. When I worked at Delta Air Lines, we worked on initiatives designed to avoid a Chapter 11 filing. One of those was a project I spearheaded — media outreach on our effort to have Congress enact pension reform.  One of the highest cost legacy carriers faced was the pension obligations to retired workers. We wanted to stretch out our payments — kind of like refinancing a mortgage, and avoid ending those plans, which is what happened with United and US Airways in the 1990s. Those pensions were taken over by the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). Fast forward to last week, where NPR’s Planet Money blog posts about how PBGC Director Josh Gotbaum is urging American Airlines to look for every alternative before it decides to punt the pensions of 130,000 retirees and employees to the federal agency. According to the blog, if American does dump its pensions on PBGC, it will be the largest claim since United got rid of its pensions in 2005.
  2. Another day, another issue with the Boeing 787.  Regular readers know my favorite aircraft of all time is the 747, but the 787 has faced more than its fair share of woes. In the latest issue, “Structural stiffeners were found to be improperly joined to the composite skin in the aft sections of the aircraft, causing parts of the aircraft’s carbon fibre structure to delaminate, confirms the airframer,” reports FlightGlobal.
  3. The week before last we saw the demise of Spain’s Spanair. Last week, flag carrier Malev Hungarian, which was created in 1946, was the latest to have the plug pulled.  Regular aviation watchers knew this was only a matter of time after the European Union ruled that the troubled carrier had to pay back millions in loans given illegally between 2007 and 2010, reports Aviation International News.  And when the government refused to offer any further aid, the decision was made to stop flying, on Feb. 3.
  4. Talk about balls. Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.-based Spirit Airlines, in protesting new Department of Transportation rules that requires transparency in fares and gives consumers 24 hours to change their mind on a ticket purchase and get a refund, according to USA Today’s Today In The Sky blog.  The ultra low-cost carrier said in a statement the “regulation requiring airlines to hold fares for 24 hours after booking without penalty comes with unintended consequences and is costing consumers millions.” So what is Spirit’s solution? Charge passengers a $2 DOT unintended consequence fee. All I can say is — really?
  5. I know it’s their job, but I have to give a BIG shout out to the reporters at the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram for their blanket coverage of the American Airlines Chapter 11 filing on its SkyTalk blog.  Last week alone reporter Andrea Ahles held a reader chat about the latest news, while the newspaper covered the announcement of the layoffs of 13,000 employees from the management and labor side and the reaction of North Texas officials and the Allied Pilots Union about the cuts. Oh — and they also covered the start of new service to Dubai by Emirates.

It was also a banner week for this blog. I had a post in CrankyFlier.com with my five picks on airports doing great things with concessions. I also had a post in the Airline Passenger Experience’s Editor’s Blog on the advent of mini airport hotels. I thank eidtors Brett Snyder and Mary Kirby, respectively, for the exposure.

 

Rolling Aviation Thoughts

21 Dec
  • Me on O'Hare's new runway 9L/27R in July 2008.

    My friend Aileen Cho of Engineering News Record did a great story on Chicago’s $6.6-billion O’Hare International Airport modernization program.  Check out my Aviation Week Things With Wings blog post on the history of the project as of February.

  • On the one hand, I like the fact that I can buy into Delta Air Lines’ Sky Clubs (my favorite U.S. airline lounge) for $50.  And the airline did a deal on Groupon where it offered half-price day passes or five passes for $89.  On the other, if I were a Diamond Medallion member or someone who had paid $450 for a year of access, I’d be a bit cranky (like Brett Snyder) too, as outlined in the Star-Tribune.
  • @davesniadak of the HDHubby blog says: Gogo inflight Wi-Fi has absolutely revolutionized travel. I find I’m now extremely productive when I fly, even when I’m jammed in the middle seat between two other people (mind you, I’m 6’5″ and try my best to stay within my seat). Seeing as how I’ve never been good at sleeping on planes, airborne wi-fi helps the long legs go by faster.
  • Smarter Travel has released its list of 10 destinations to watch in 2012.  I’ve been to six of them, and most I’d return to in a heartbeat.  One I haven’t been to is Cuba, and that’s near the top of my list of places I really want to visit.  My frienemy Brett “Cranky Flier” Snyder has been. He let me sip the rum, which was divine! Also check out Budget Travel’s top budget travel destinations in 2012.
  • Back during the Christmas holidays in 1998, I went to Oberpfafenhofen, Germany, to work on a story about the now-defunct aircraft manufacturer Fairchild Dornier.  As part of that trip, we got to go to Munich and visit the Christmas market on the Marienplotz.  Some advice: when they ask if you want peppermint schnapps in your Glühwein, JUST SAY NO!! Lonely Planet offers five more great Christmas markets in Europe.
  • I love airports almost as much as the writer of this blog post in the Irish Times.  And my heart was warmed by one of my favorite travel writers, Christopher Elliott, who writes in the Washington Post about holiday travel kindnesses.
  • I’m proud – but also kind of sad – that my six-year-old daughter goes through the airport security checkpoint better than most adults.

Top 5 Interesting Aviation Stories For The Week

7 Nov

First, an apology. For some reason, Friday’s Strange But True Aviation News didn’t post (despite me writing it) thanks to some glitch I’m still trying to figure out.  I’ll work out the kinks, and we’ll have it on Friday.  Now, onto the news!

  1. Guy Norris of Aviation Week blogged about an uncontained engine failure on a Delta Air Lines Boeing 747 flying from Detroit to Tokyo. His Things with Wings post contains some dramatic pictures of the engine after the failure.
  2. I really enjoyed this CNN story — Nerve-racking ‘go-arounds’ routine for pilots — for two reasons.  One, it’s a great primer on what happens when a plane has to do a go-around.  Two, it was written by Brett “Cranky Flier” Snyder, and quotes my friend Mark Rogers.
  3. Speaking of Mark, I thought of him when I read this story — O’Hare Worker Hurt in Baggage Incident — on the NBC Chicago website.  The story is about how an industrial battery packed in checked luggage on a United Airlines flight from Lafayette, La., that stopped at Chicago O’Hare where the accident happened. Mark has done a lot of work on this particular issue.
  4. When Airbus announced back in December 2000 that it was launching the A380 double-decker jumbo jet, I remember hearing all kinds of possibilities for the plane, from bowling alleys (not yet) to showers (see Emirates).  The Airbus website says the jumbo jet can “seat 525 passengers in a comfortable three-class configuration, and up to  853 in a single-class configuration.” Transero isn’t quite at 853 seats, but says it will put in 700 seats on its recently ordered A380s, reports Reuters.
  5. We’ve all done it (unless we fly Southwest Airlines) — start flocking toward the jetway when the gate agent announces boarding for a flight. We wait anxiously as they call the premium passengers, folks needed assistance, families with small children and travelers seated in exit rows.  Then we make the mad dash onto the plane to get that valuable overhead bin space.  The New York Times has an article about what airlines are doing to tame the boarding process.  I, for one, am happy to pay a fee that allows me to board early in the process.

In other news, I’m now doing freelance work for Aviation International News, so please go over and check out what I’m doing.  Again, I’m still trying to catch up on my Airplane Geek podcast episodes, and I really enjoyed Episode 170 – GE Aviation Looks to the Future.

Finally, I’ll leave you with a question. JetBlue recently got a rare PR black eye after stranding passengers for seven hours on a plane parked at Hartford, Conn.’s Bradley International Airport. Below is a 1:18-minute video from COO Rob Maruster on the incident. Was it enough or should the airline have done more? See my poll, below.

Top Five Interesting Aviation Stories – Oct. 24-28

31 Oct

Now up – some interesting stories from last week’s aviation news, for your reading pleasure. And this is my 200th post! W00T!! Enjoy!

  1. Did you guys see Jon Ostrower’s coverage of last week’s ANA launch of Boeing 787 service? If you didn’t, check it out here, on his Flightblogger page.  He covered this event so closely I was surprised he didn’t actually pilot that Tokyo-Hong Kong flight!
  2. I’m breaking a little rule with this story, which came from Germany’s Der Spiegel on Oct. 20, entitled “Lufthansa ‘Can No Longer Be Top Dog Everywhere’.” In a long-ranging interview, Lufthansa CEO Christoph Franz, whose airline has been on a buying spree in the past 10 years, says that factors are forcing the carrier to focus more on European operations.
  3. My friend Geoff Fischer has done a fantastic guest post over at Brett Snyder’s Cranky Flier blog entitled “Best. Flight. Ever. First Class on the Cathay Pacific 777-300.”  After reading it (and seeing the pictures), I’m ready to book my flight — NOW!
  4. Jay Evensen, a writer for the editorial board Deseret News, writes about how the Transportation Security Administration’s efforts to scan for guns is lacking in a nation that carries them regularly — even occasionally getting them past airport security checkpoints.
  5. The AirportIMC blog posts about the social media and branding efforts of Akron-Canton Airport to see if the promise — “a better way to go” — matched the actual experience.  Read the post, but writer Sean Broderick says YES!

I’m catching up again with my Airplane Geeks episodes, but I really enjoyed Max Flight’s Episode 169.5, a series of short snippets from the recent 2011 AOPA Aviation Summit.  Take the hour to listen — the time really flies by!

Top Five Interesting Stories – Oct. 17-21

24 Oct

Welcome to what used to be the Friday news roundup.  Even though I was busy finishing my last week on the job, I still managed to find some interesting aviation stories for your reading pleasure.

  1. My first story is one from my former employer, Aviation Week, entitled “Airbus CEO Bemoans Slow Pace of Change.” In the article, London Bureau Chief Robert Wall quotes Airbus CEO Tom Enders: “Somewhere in the last 40 years we learned to save fuel and forgot how to take risks and manage them properly. We forgot how to turn our ideas into reality before they were out of date.”
  2. Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul (Texas) says that the Transportation Security Administration is one of the agencies he’d eliminate if he won the election, reports The Hill’s Transportation blog.  He also accused the agency of humiliating women, molesting children and abusing disabled people in a radio address this summer, the publication adds.
  3.  I never got to fly on Concorde, but I did get to sit inside one operated by Air France.  I know the ongoing fascination that people have with supersonic flight, so I read this story in Budget Traveler Chicago to Tokyo in Two Hours? — with great interest and some trepidation.  I’ve read stories for years on commercial and business aviation efforts to build Concorde’s successor, and the quest continues, as KLM  announces it is investing in a new technology for supersonic flight, Space Tourism Curacao.
  4. I was chatting with Brett “Cranky Flier” Snyder last week as he was driving to speak on a panel about the air travel experience at the annual Airports Council International-North America conference.  We got into a conversation on what airports are doing to keep passengers in their facilities longer, and Brett then did a blog post on what travelers REALLY want from airports.
  5. Capitol Hill was feeling Hollywood when actor, pilot and general aviation advocate Harrison Ford spoke before the Senate General Aviation Caucus on how aviation has enriched his life, reports Politico.

I finally caught up with all my Airplane Geeks podcast episodes, and highly recommend listening to episode 169, with Martin Rottler.  And don’t forget — Random Aviation Photo is now on Thursdays.  Enjoy!

Top Five Aviation Stories Of The Week

19 Aug

Brett Snyder, Henry Harteveldt and me at Henry's birthday party

Oh, it’s just another day in this paradise that we call aviation.  I’m honored — and pained — that my frenemy, Brett Snyder (AKA @CrankyFlier) has just named my little blog as one of his Top 10 Airline Blogs.  Brett is like the annoying little brother I never wanted.  I hope he doesn’t think I’ll start being nice to him just because he threw me some major link love!  I kid, of course.  Let’s get on with this week’s stories, shall we?

  1. My Aviation Week colleague Guy Norris wrote two good stories on the progress of Boeing’s 787:  Boeing Confirms Completion Of 787 Testing and Tests Ending For Rolls-Powered 787.
  2. It was the title on this “Today Show” travel story that got me: Airport security: You ain’t seen nothing yet.  After getting over my shudders, the story goes into what we might see in airport security 10 years after 9/11.
  3. The Overhead Bin column on MSNBC Travel shows some love to iPhone AND Android apps designed for business travelers.  I loved the trick to extend the iPhone’s battery life, a persistent problem for me.
  4. Like many aviation geeks, the topic of Amelia Earhart always fascinates (despite the recent horrible movie). My Twitter follower @CravenTravels hipped me to a Kickstart project by Rich Martini, who is looking for money to fund his documentary of what “really” happened to Earhart.
  5. This story on Jaunted (and passed along by @LaurieHosken combines two of my favorite things: aircraft and the very occasional adult beverage.  The post profiles five airport bars made from actual old airplanes.  My favorite, of course is the Jumbo Bar at Stockholm-Arlanda International Airport, Sweden — because it’s made from a Boeing 747!

Speaking of Brett, I must throw him some love for five years of blogging over at Cranky Flier.  He has turned that blog into one of the most influential on the planet (as determined by the Guardian, no less) and is a must-read for me.   I’m still a bit behind on my Airplane Geek podcast episodes, but I really enjoyed Episode 159 with guest @PatFlannigan of the Aviation Chatter blog.

We’ll end the week with some YouTube video showing classic footage of my favorite aircraft of all time — the Boeing 747.  Enjoy!!

Top Aviation Stories Of The Week

12 Aug

First, thanks again for sticking with me last week as I ran another best-of while I attended the National Association of Black Journalists convention in Philadelphia.  While I didn’t do any writing, I did keep up with the news.  But I couldn’t be constrained to only five stories, so check out my list of the most interesting aviation/airline news, below.

  • My Aug. 10 post about the Tuskegee Airmen prompted Ernie Nackord (@WWIIPilots) to post a comment with a link to a 47:10 minute video interview with Airman Adolph Moret and his wife Eline.  I plan on watching it this weekend, and I hope you take the time to do the same.
  • Scott McCartney posts at the Wall Street Journal’s Middle Seat Terminal blog on how despite airlines offering better food choices, you guys insist on going for the junk food.  My July 19 post offers my own view on inflight food.
  • Cranky Flier (aka Brett Snyder) says why the airlines were correct in NOT passing along a temporary FAA tax cut along to passengers.
  • Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) is chairman of the House Transportation Committee and loves to shoot out sound bites about parts of the air transportation system that catches his attention.  This week he targeted the Essential Air Service (EAS) program in the Sunshine News, saying he wants to shut the program down.  But those are fighting words to rural lawmakers, including Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), chairman of the Senate Commerce committee.  I covered my feelings on EAS in a Feb. 9 post.
  • The Los Angeles Times writes about how the new ABC-TV television show Pan Am has sparked a nostalgia for the airline’s logo line. (There’s more after the video, kids)

We’ll end the week with two things that are perfect bookends — a post on Up Up And A Gay on flight attendants talking about gross things passengers do on planes (snot-covered blankets, dripping breast milk) and Aviation Week’s Strange But True Aviation News (urinating passengers, bats on a plane). Enjoy the weekend, kids!!

Best of Aviation Queen: 10 Aviation Blogs You Should Be Reading

27 Jul

Editor’s note: I’m in Oshkosh, Wis., this week for the EAA AirVenture show, so I’m pulling out some best-of.  We’re always looking for that great travel/aviation/airline blog to read.  Below are 10 among the many I read.  This post originally appeared on Jan. 25.  Enjoy!

I have been an avid reader since age 2 (I swear – and my Dad will confirm it).  I read books, magazines, cereal boxes, billboards and just about anything else with letters.  And for someone who loves to read as much as I do, the Google Reader is a godsend.

I have myriad interests, and the Google Reader allows me to get feeds from blogs covering those interests: aviation, business aviation, journalism, multimedia and social media.  So let’s take a look in my Aviation folder so I can tell you some of the  blogs you should be reading.  This is by NO means my complete list, and the list below is in no particular order.

  1. CrankyFlier - Brett Snyder is the little brother I never wanted but got stuck with anyway (I say that with love in my heart).  But seriously, Brett writes a humorous, yet informative blog on the whimsies of the airline business.  He offers a take that only someone who became a travel agent at age 12 and had his grandmother book a hotel at Los Angeles International Airport so he could watch the planes.  And bonus – he also writes about travel over at BNET.
  2. Flightblogger - What can I say about Jon Ostrower?  This man has forgotten more information about the Boeing 787 Dreamliner than most of us will ever know.  Did you read “The price of Boeing’s 787 sales success?” I rest my case.
  3. Delta/JetBlue/Southwest blogs – When airlines jumped into blogging, I was a bit apprehensive, because I’ve seen some really bad corporate blogs that had no personality, only regurgitating the latest talking points.  All three of these carriers tapped their own employees, who bring their unique voices to these blogs making them actual must-reads.  Delta gets bonus points for ANY post from archives manager Marie Force and Southwest gets the same for Flashback Friday posts!
  4. Air Transparency -  I heard airline employee Jesse Ziglar speak on an episode of the Airplane Geeks podcast and I was hooked.  Ziglar works his magic by explaining the good, the bad and the ugly of how the airlines work – in language my 5-year-old daughter can understand.  His topics include weather delays, the tarmac delay rule, deicing aircraft and crew uniforms.
  5. Chris Elliott’s Elliott.org - I wonder when Chris ever finds time to sleep, with writing this website and writing on consumer travel issues for National Geographic, Tribune Media Service, the Washington Post, MSNBC, USA Today and CNN.com, among others.
  6. PlaneBusines Banter/Plane Buzz - The subscriber-based Banter and free Buzz are both penned by Holly Hegeman, who offers her own unique humorous/serious take on the business of airlines.  I’ve been reading her since she was the airlines analyst for The Motley Fool, and I take her work seriously enough to pay for my own subscription to the Banter.
  7. The TSA Blog - before I moved over to the business aviation beat, I wrote about airports and airport security.  When one of the public affairs folks gave me a call almost three years ago to pitch me on the blog launch, I admit I was HIGHLY  skeptical.  I thought the blog would read like the old Soviet government update reports.  I was wrong, and continue to admit it.  This blog has done a lot to put a human face on an agency that’s more vilified than the IRS.  Blogger Bob and his team have done a good job in explaining, as much as possible, what TSA does and why.  Bonus points for allowing comments and taking the time to answer as many as possible.
  8. Swelblog/Swelbar on Airlines - Bill Swelbar is a Research Engineer in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s International Center for Air Transportation.  He gets into the weeds — but always interesting — on airline/aviation policy.  A recent post, “Unbundling, Rebundling and Now De-Commoditization,” he breaks down how the airlines have been forced to adapt in things including how they sell tickets and how to keep passengers loyal to their brand.
  9.  I’m Black And I Travel - One, because I’m both.  Blog owner Greg Gross and I are kindred spirits, letting the world know of our travels and expounding on the joys of travel from our own personal experiences.  And Greg has given me access to a large community of black travel bloggers, which has helped me expand my own network.
  10. RickSeaney.com - If you want to keep up with air fares, Rick is your guy.  He’s the CEO of FareCompare.com, created to keep track of airfares for airlines worldwide.   You can also watch fares from your hometown via Twitter.  What’s not to love?

So that’s my list.  What are you reading? I’m always looking to add to my folder!  Also, in the next few weeks, I plan on doing a reader question edition of this blog. So if you any questions, now is the time to start submitting them. Thanks!

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