'Trusted Traveler' Program Would Reduce US Airport Hassles
The U.S. government can reduce consumer frustration with airport security and encourage more people to fly by adopting changes such as a “trusted traveler” program, an industry group said. The U.S. Travel Association, whose members include American Express Co., Marriott International Inc. and Loews Corp., released a survey today showing consumers would take two to three more trips annually if security hassles could be reduced. Participants in the proposed program would undergo a background check in advance in return for less intrusive airport screening.
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Airline Group Proposes Security Checkpoint Upgrade
from USA Today
An airline trade group is proposing a new type of security checkpoint that could speed clearance for travelers deemed low-risk. The concept, unveiled last week by the International Air Transport Association, proposes a set of three tunnels (or enclosed pathways) that are equipped with sensors, X-ray machines, cameras or other security equipment. Travelers will be assigned to a tunnel that reflects their security status — "Known Travelers," "Normal Security" or "Enhanced Security" — depending on the biometric and other personal information airlines and government authorities have about them.
TSA Reform is High on Legislative Agenda for 2011
from Consumer Traveler
Washington may be about to offer air travelers who are frustrated by the Transportation Security Administration’s new screening techniques a little relief. Several initiatives to reform the beleaguered TSA will be on the legislative agenda when the 112th Congress convenes on Jan. 3, according to experts. Perhaps the most high-profile of the proposed bills is Ron Paul’s American Traveler Dignity Act of 2010, which would deny immunity to any federal employee who subjects a person to any physical contact or scanning.
Corporation for Travel Promotion Board to Meet Jan. 6;
Public Invited to Participate
from U.S. Travel Association
The next Corporation for Travel Promotion board meeting will take place on January 6, 2011, from 2 until 3 p.m. CST at Sabre Holdings Headquarters in Southlake, Texas. Members of the public are invited to attend. If you are able to attend, click here for directions (the meeting will take place in Building A, Room A1-157). If you are not able to attend in person, the CTP board invites you to call in to participate by calling (877) 381-5898. The international dial-In number will be (706) 679-0628.
Gaping Holes in Airline Security: Loaded Gun Slips Past TSA Screeners
from ABC News
Last fall, as he had done hundreds of times, Iranian-American businessman Farid Seif passed through security at a Houston airport and boarded an international flight. He didn't realize he had forgotten to remove the loaded snub nose "baby" Glock pistol from his computer bag. But TSA officers never noticed as his bag glided along the belt and was x-rayed. When he got to his hotel after the three-hour flight, he was shocked to discover the gun traveled unnoticed from Houston. "It's just impossible to miss it, you know. I mean, this is not a small
gun," Seif told ABC News. "How can you miss it? You cannot miss it."
Can Airports Be Fun?
from The New York Times
Few who fly — or fly coach, anyway — would disagree that the entire experience of air travel from check-in to landing carries with it an overwhelming sense that everyone involved has simply given up. Watch people as they enter airports: shoulders rise, expressions grow steely, civility erodes. Things that shouldn’t be a big deal — learning that you’ll have an on-time departure or receiving a free bag of potato chips — feel like winning lottery tickets, so low have our expectations become. Now that we’re entering the thick of the holiday travel season and we’ve been
groped, scanned, forced to eat a Cinnabon and otherwise made to suffer the slings and arrows of air travel — here’s something rarely offered of late: a positive story about airports.
Government 'Hopeful' of Inclusion in US Visa-wavers
from the China Post
Taiwan's de facto ambassador to the United States yesterday said that it is “hopeful” for the country to be chosen as candidate for future inclusion to the U.S. visa-waiver program after Taiwan signs three agreements with Washington next year. “The U.S. Department of State suggested that we should sign three agreements with them first and the signing will lead us to the roadmap to be included in its Visa Waiver Program (VWP),” said Jason Yuan, representative of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Washington, which is
Taiwan's de facto embassy to the U.S. when the two sides lack official diplomatic ties.
Christine Duffy Discusses Leaving Maritz Travel for CLIA
from Incentive Magazine
On Dec. 16, Christine Duffy announced that she will step down as president and CEO of Maritz Travel, one of the largest and most influential incentive providers in the country, to take up the helm of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). Incentive spoke to Duffy about the personal and professional goals that led her to make this career change, her thoughts on leaving St. Louis-based Maritz, and the state of the incentive business.
Are Cities being Penny-wise and Pound Foolish with Online Travel Taxes?
from Consumer Traveler
Washington, D.C., has entered the great online travel hotel tax chase. Somehow, the city which for years has charged taxes to hotels for rooms that they sell have decided that they need to charge taxes to those who resell hotel rooms at a mark-up, even though they are not hotels who are collecting the money. This is a basic money grab for the cities, but it chases pennies while it promises to cost the D.C. citizens and the city’s tourism infrastructure far more. The Washington Post notes the impending change in tax rules.