Posts Tagged ‘Airline Travel’
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Dutch airline KLM is set to offer passengers the choice of not only where they sit, but who they sit next to, the Irish Independent reports. The carrier hopes to introduce the technology next year, although plans remain in their infancy.
To be known as “meet and seat,” the online service will give passengers access to the profiles of their fellow fliers’ Facebook and LinkedIn pages, from where they may choose – using guidelines such as looks, interests and career fields – which passengers they’d most like to sit next to.
The airline has thus-far refused to say if the new “matchmaking” service will involve a fee, but many airlines currently charge passengers to decide seat preferences – via widely available seat maps – in advance.
The Independent reports the new service could have many beneficial aspects, from the ability to avoid the “traveler from hell,” to finding business connections, to stumbling upon a love interest.
Though this service would be a firm step outside the box, airlines are now heavily involved in social networking, with British Airways boasting more than 136,000 Twitter followers and regularly running competitions on Facebook.
A recent poll by a flight comparison website found that of 1,000 flyers surveyed, some 45 percent admitted flirting whilst airborne. One third of those polled said the chance meeting lead to further contact once the plane reached its destination, with eight percent claiming it led to a relationship, the Independent reports.
There has been growing opposition to full body scanners at airports including warnings from medical experts that the machines may be more dangerous to passengers’ health than initially thought. A scientist from the center for radiological research at New York’s Columbia University, has been quoted by a number of media outlets questioning whether the machines may pose a skin cancer risk, especially in children.
The European Commission issued a report in June saying scientific assessment of potential health risks is needed before the machines are deployed there, though individual countries are free to decide whether or not to use them. The report also said the machines “bring a serious risk of fragmenting fundamental rights of EU citizens.” In Dubai, security officials said the machines would not be used because of concerns about personal privacy and because health risks are unknown.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office has also raised questions about whether the machines can even detect explosives or other dangerous people might hide. At the same time the International Air Transport Association, which represents 250 airlines around the world including most major U.S. carriers, has questioned how body scanners fit into a comprehensive security plan. The machines are in place at 133 U.S. airports and TSA has plans to install more.
Below are answers to some questions with a TSA spokesperson:
Which airports have the full body scanners? There are 133 airports where millimeter wave machines have been deployed. Visit the TSA website to learn more.
Which airports are planning to get the devices? While the exact times and locations where the scanners will be received have not been disclosed at the current time, the U.S. government is working to equip airports around the country with the machines.
Will everybody be scanned, or only certain individuals? This screening option is completely voluntary to all passengers.
Can you decline a full body scan? Yes, for now, but you must submit to a full body pat-down.
Do they save the scanned images? There is no storage capability. No cameras, cellular telephones, or any device capable of capturing an image is permitted in the remotely-located resolution room. Use of such a device is a terminable offense.
Are they harmful for any individuals? Two types of scanners currently exist: the millimeter wave scanner and the backscatter scanner. “Millimeter wave technology” bounces harmless electromagnetic waves off the human body to create a black and white image. The energy emitted by millimeter wave technology is 10,000 times less than what is permitted for a cell phone. “Backscatter technology” projects an ionizing X-ray beam over the body surface at high speed. The reflection, or backscatter, of the beam is detected, digitized and displayed on a monitor. Each scan produces less than 10 microrem of emission, equivalent to the exposure each person receives in about two minutes on an airplane flight at altitude.
Who sees the images? Passenger privacy is ensured through the anonymity of the image. The transportation security officer attending the passenger cannot view the image, and the remotely-located officer who views the image cannot physically see the passenger. Images are not stored, transmitted or printed and are deleted immediately once viewed by the remotely-located officer.
Just how much is revealed in the full body scan? A privacy algorithm blurs facial features.
How long do the scans take? Screening takes approximately 15 seconds, while the scanning time is just a few seconds. The remotely located security officer who interprets the image takes approximately 12 seconds to do so. It takes a passenger with a joint replacement about 15 seconds to go through advanced imaging technology, versus a 2-4 minute pat down.
Will this solve the airport security problem? Advanced imaging technology safely screens passengers for metallic and nonmetallic threats including weapons, explosives and other objects concealed under layers of clothing without physical contact. Threats to aviation continue to evolve. The use of new and innovative technologies helps us stay ahead of those intent on harming our nation.
We all have a plethora of things to complain about when it comes to airline travel. I have devoted a lot of time to this blog on that premise and I can’t seem to get away from it. After all, laws wouldn’t change if we didn’t exercise our G-d given rights of free speech, so why not use whatever avenue we can to get our point across.
What upsets you about airline travel? Feel free to vent here with some commentary.
In the meantime, do you ever wonder how your thoughts about airline travel compare with the mass public? Where does majority rule when it comes to customer complaints with the airlines? Well, according to a recent survey from Consumer Reports, fees and unhelpful staff are the two things that annoy air travelers the most. With participants rating the annoyances on a 1-to-10 scale (10 being the most annoying), feesactually took the top two spots among the air-travel gripes.
The next two gripes involved customer-service issues. The survey also returned an interesting result on delays. Respondents actually cited “poor communication about delays” as being more annoying than actual”flight delays.” The message to the airlines seems to be “tell us what’s going on. Don’t insult our intelligence and just treat us like a consumer. Like a person!”
Survey results of Top 12 air-travel gripes (on a 1-to-10 scale)
1. Luggage charges (8.4)
2. Added fees (8.1)
3. Rude or unhelpful staff (7.7)
4. Can’t reach a live service rep (7.6)
5. Poor communication about delays (7.1)
6. Seatmates who hog your space (7.0)
7. Flight delays (6.8)
8. People who hog carry-on space (6.7)
9. Long waits at baggage claim (5.9)
10. Long lines for security or check-in (5.2)
11. Puny/no snacks (5.1)
12. Crying babies, unruly kids (4.9)
Feel free to post your thoughts here. Do you have other complaints? What do you like about traveling? Which of the above do you agree/disagree with?
My favorite part about flying: that moment when the cabin doors are closed and you realize that the seat next to you is unoccupied. Stretch time!
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The word is pre-reclined.
This is what the budget carrier Spirit Airlines is calling the seats on two of its new aircraft and soon-to-be more aircraft. Now, pre-clined may sound like a comfortable way to fly, but in reality these are seats that do not recline at all.
No recline! Zip. Zilch. Nada. Zero. Can you say “right angle“? Better yet, can you sit it? For hours at a time?
That’s right. You can fly with some Spirit…but you can’t fly with any reeecline.
What the heck are pre-reclined seats? Simply put, they are fixed upright seats as illustrated above. Why, you ask, would Spirit insist on no recline? One would think there’s a revenue-making opportunity to squeeze out of this, and one would be right. But, its not to charge a quarter for the opportunity to recline. Not that simple.
Pre-clined (we shall hereforth refer to it with my own branded word no-cline) seats will allow Spirit to squeeze in more seats on their planes, and thus more passengers. Plus, the airline can and save on costs because no-cline seats are cheaper to manufacture and install. They have no moving parts which means less maintenance – all of which leads to lower fares.
>>insert sarcastic remark here<<
Spirit Airlines, recently introduced fees for carry-on bags which took the concept of no frills to new heights and caused havoc with the regular joes who have any travel sense. The theme of no-cline over several hours of flying time for the reasons mentioned above is beyond ludicrous. If it wasn’t for immense discomfort, it’d be laughable. Pre-reclining seats; that’s like saying your airborne plane is pre-landed. Imagine how embarassed you’d be if you went outside with no clothes on because you “pre-dressed”. Or, how hungry you’d be when you went without dinner because you “pre-ate”. Hey Boss, you should have received the report you wanted from me; I pre-worked today!
I wish I could present you with some good news with regard to the airlines, but in terms of comfortability and getting back any of the small pleasures once included in with the experience, there’s nothing to report. However, and most importantly, airline travel continues to be–statistically–the safest mode of travel. So…as a means to an end, we should be grateful and appeased that Spirt and American and Delta, etc all ultimately get us where we need to be. Safely.
I, for one, am thankful for that. You should be too.