In this article you will find some of the latest things going on that affect the traveling public. I have included a new airline alliance, TSA’s newest regulations, Goggle´s attempt to move into the travel industry and a caution about the full body scanners.
A Joint Venture by British Airways, American Airlines and Iberia:
If airlines aren’t merging where one company swallows up another then they often try to create relationships where they’re still connected, in an attempt to diminish the competition. Although, from personal experience, it can make it easier for the passenger, though not always cheaper. The connections can be easier and often have more options.
For any of you who are passengers or fans of American, British Airways or Iberia, your routes and opportunities are expanding due to a combining of some of these airline’s connections. This partnership includes over twenty different airlines including Qantas and Japan Airlines and it’s called Oneworld Alliance.
These airline companies have formed a codeshare relationship where each other’s frequent fliers can receive frequent flier miles for flying on any of the member airlines. They are also forming joint routes such as London to San Diego, Madrid to LA, NY to Budapest as well as Helsinki to Chicago.
The group is also developing departure schedules that coordinate with each other without conflict or competition, especially at certain hubs, such as Miami, New York, London and Chicago. They are, also, trying to locate the cooperating airlines in the same airport terminals, where they are able. This would help keep the passenger transfers from being stretched over several terminals.
Secure Flight is Now Required by TSA by the End of 2010:
Whenever TSA does something to make things easier for themselves it often means that it can be more complicated for us. Their latest project, which is to simplify the watch lists, is in that category.
I recently got an email from TSA requiring my full legal name, as listed on my passport or driver’s license, my gender and date of birth before I would be allowed to fly out of the country. To quote the email, “Effective November 1, 2010, if you do not accurately provide this information prior to 72 hours before your scheduled
departure, your reservation may be canceled.”
I was further informed that this is required of All international and domestic flights and it’s to be instituted by all airlines by the end of 2010.
I’m currently in Belgium. It’s my first flight out of the country since last February. I find it interesting that I didn’t get an email from TSA about this, before, since they began requiring this in 2009. I have been flying all over this country in 2010 without any notice.
I was required to give my information twice before I left on my trip. I was required to give this information to the airline within 72 hours of leaving and also when I checked in for my flight. I may need to give the information, again, when I check in on my return flight, even though it is still the same original airline I answered to the last two times.
The email and the website tell us that this is a part of the TSA’s attempt to clarify US watch lists. Their intent is to remove innocent passengers off of the terrorist watch lists who have been wrongly identified as belonging on those lists.
For further information on this change please check out their website.
Google Going into the Travel Business?:
Is Google is trying to take over airline reservations? FairSearch thinks so. Google is a very powerful and popular search engine. If they were to acquire one of the most powerful flight search technologies available would that be fair to the customer or the competition?
Expedia, Sabre Holdings and Farelogix along with several other travel firms, formed under the organization of FairSearch,org, have asked the Justice Department to refuse Goggle’s request to acquire ITA.
ITA is the technology “behind 65 percent of all carrier-direct searches in the US.” . ITA creates competition in the airline industry. The company includes the top ten US airlines as clients. FairSearch feels that Goggle´s adding this powerful search capability to what they already have on-line would give them an unfair advantage over the rest of the competition.
A Cautionary Word About the Whole Body Imaging Scanners:
In my opinion, TSA´s use of the whole body scanners presents two problems.
1. There are two kinds of body scanners. One of them uses what’s called back-scatter x-ray technology and the other one uses millimeter radio waves. The first version mentioned, uses x-rays, which has been proven to accumulate in the body over time and can cause serious health issues. The second type hasn’t had enough testing for anyone to know what the effects might be on our long term health. Do you care to be a test subject?
When we go to the doctor or the dentist and they give us an x-ray, they often cover us with a lead apron. That ought to say something about the safety of x-rays. Yet, TSA expects us to go through an x-ray machine at the airport without even a warning label. Perhaps TSA ought to issue lead aprons to those of us who are going through their scanner machines. But then that would defeat the purpose of the x-ray.
2. There is also the problem of the fairly explicit photos that the technician is viewing through his monitor, while he is scanning our bodies. We are expected to allow him a legalized peep show. I’m sorry if you find my comment offensive, but other than my family, no one sees me naked. I also prefer not to view others naked, legally or otherwise, except for my family.
I’m mentioning this because I’m sure I’m not the only one to have these sentiments. There is another option, at least for the moment. We’re allowed to request a pat-down instead of TSA trying to be Superman or mad scientist.