TSA Pre-Check options allow faster security exit

Faster Security Check

TSA announces Expansion of Pre-Check airports


Currently there are seven airports and 28 major cities with more than 310,000 participants in the TSA Pre-Check program.  This program allows for faster check-through at security and allows passengers to keep their shoes and belts on as well as allowing their computers to stay in the bag.

Enrollment in the program is voluntary and the procedure expands on access to personal information that is used to verify the traveler.  The expansion will allow for expedited check-in at more major airports.

For a great article with more information check out this link here.


Strange and Unusual Japanese Vending Machines

Strange and Unusual Vending Machines


Vending Machines stacked along street

The Japanese might have the market wrapped up when it comes to the strange and unusual products available in Vending Machines.  You can purchase everything from underwear to liquid cheese drinks…yes you read it correctly…LIQUID CHEESE!

There is an entire vending machine culture in Japan that is not seen anywhere else and offers a variety of things that might be considered weird.  There are entire streets lined with vending machines and it makes sense if you understand the culture. 

No Time to Shop


It is often said that Americans work too much and take far less vacations than anyone else, but in fact the Japanese “Salary Man” works long hours, and often more than just 40 in one week.  Being a workaholic is almost a national pastime, so time to shop is limited.

Smart Car Vending Promotion

What better way to stop and get breast milk for the new baby than to grab it at the vending machine on your way home.  Too busy to go home?  Have a project to complete by tomorrow afternoon and you feel the need to change clothes?  You can just hop down to the vending row and purchase everything from underwear to a new tie.

The vending machine option is pretty smart, you don’t have to find a specialty store, you don’t have to wait in line and you certainly don’t have to interact with another human being if you don’t want to.  The purchasing options are unlimited and in some cases bizarre, but if there is a market for a product, you can bet there is a vending machine out there somewhere that has it in 10 different flavors and colors.


Airplane Safety Checks on Airbus 380 for cracks in the wings

Maintenance for Airbus A380

Airbus A380

The European Aviation Safety Agency has ordered safety checks on all Airbus 380s for cracks on the wings of the aircraft.  The directive was put in place on Wednesday for the oldest of the aircraft and will be followed with a second directive to cover the entire fleet.

This directive is part of normal procedure for these aircraft and covers and deals more with a preventative maintenance measure than any specific safety concern.  To learn more click on the link below to the CNN article.


China Bans its Airlines from joining EU Clean Skies Program

China is the newest member to oppose the EU’s Clean Sky Program, forcing airlines to pay for carbon emissions while traveling their skies.

China isn’t the first country to oppose the new policies to include the US, India, and Russia.  The policy is intended to cut greenhouse emissions but the plan as set up by the EU is considered too costly. 

If the policy is enacted it will increase the cost of travel to much higher levels just to cover the large fees of this new tax.  The effects could severly impact the ability of people to travel across the EU.

The fear is that these policies will be enforced and flights from China will be denied entry into the EU unless they conform to standards.  This could change the way people travel and cut options to a point in which International travel becomes too costly for the common traveler.  To read more about China’s opposition check out the New York Time article.

For more on the EU policies see this previous post here.


American Airlines ceases JFK-Tokyo Route

American changes Japan Routes

American Airlines announced it will cease operations from New Yorks JFK airport to Tokyo’s Narita (NRT) airport.  American will resume travel into Tokyo’s Haneda Airport in June but will still have ticketing agreements with Japan Airlines between JFK and NRT Narita.  American had previously suspended service into Haneda (HND) due to the tsunami and earthquakes last year.

American Airlines recently filed for Chapter 11 and is working toward consolidating and realigning the airline to provide better service and cut costs.



Norovirus strikes again on Cruise Ship

The Norovirus has struck the Princess Cruise Lines

The Norovirus is to blame as more than 100 people to include crew, were struck with illness aboard the Ruby Red.  This is not the first illness to strike the Princess Cruise Lines as passengers aboard the Crown Princess also reported close to 100 cases.

The Norovirus can cause vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and cramping and according to Princess Cruise Lines, the two reports are not related. Currently the cabins and all public areas are being disinfected according to standard proceedures.

Learn more about this story from the Associated Press here.


European Chill Sweeps West adding to Death Toll

European Chill Sweeps West adding to Death Toll


A winter storm is the cause for more death today as frigid temperatures and snow create deadly temperatures across Europe and into Africa.  The iconic locations in Rome saw snowfall the likes of which have not been reported in decades.

Severe temperatures are the cause for more deaths as homeless freeze and heating oil is in high demand but becoming a scares commodity.  Planes stranded passengers in London’s Heathrow and Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airports.

As the storm continues to ravage Europe, the death toll rises from cold temperatures, exposure, and accidents related to keeping warm as in the case of a family in Moscow.  The deaths of 9 were blamed on a fire started by a make-shift stove intended to keep the family warm.  With temperatures at 12 Celsius or 1 Fahrenheit, the cold is extreme.

Learn more about the European Chill here.


FAA gets $64 BILLION dollar budget for next 4 years

Flying Friendlier Skies


FAA $64 Billion Dollar Budget

The FAA budget for the next four years has been approved for an astounding $64 Billion dollars. Although there are a number of FAA employees and operational costs for the Office of the FAA, the money is slated for an upgrade to the failing and antiquated trafficking system that handles flights across the US.

The upgrades and software integration should alleviate some of the common over-crowding in the sky and manage the on-time capabilities for flights, but only insofar as what is controlled by the FAA and air traffic controllers and not specifically by the airlines.

Improvements to airports and runways are typically handled by the Passenger Facility Fees collected depending on the airport you travel through and do not exceed $5.00 per location so those types of upgrades will still be handled by the individual airports and will not see funding from this budget.  John Croft expands on this in his article here.

With this kind of boost to the budget, the FAA will be working fast to get these upgrades installed which may create some delays and overall passenger discomfort depending on the work required and how each phase of the upgrades is handled.