Travel tip: If you’re trying to smuggle cash into Panama, start using the train.
Three Honduran men were arrested at Panama City’s international airport after police found $7.2 million, mostly in $100 bills, in secret compartments in eight pieces of luggage. According to this video from Newsy (Newsy? Really? Really.), officials in Panama believe the money was connected to a drug cartel. Thirty-two officers and airport security staffers have been suspended as a result of the find.
Today the Transportation Security Administration (you know ‘em as TSA) began allowing travelers to apply for its PreCheck program (or as TSA calls it, Pre✓™).
According to TSA,
The new application process allows U.S. citizens to directly enroll in TSA Pre✓™, an expedited screening program that allows travelers to leave on their shoes, light outerwear and belt, keep their laptop in its case and their 3-1-1 compliant liquids/gels bag in a carry-on, in select screening lanes. To date, passengers have only been eligible through existing programs such as U.S. Custom and Border Protection’s Global Entry program and frequent flier programs with certain airlines, but this announcement will allow travelers to apply directly for the expedited screening program.
Travelers can pre-enroll at tsa.gov. But to complete the process, they’ll need to complete a background interview at a participating airport. Currently the only participating airport in the entire country is Indianapolis International Airport.
TSA expects to open application centers in the New York City; Washington, DC; and Los Angeles areas later this month. It plans to eventually open more than 300 centers around the country. But for right now, Indianapolis.
Just in time for the holiday season-amazing how that works!-this Monday will see the launch of AIR Chicago, “the first 24-hour-a-day airport radio station dedicated to keeping O’Hare and Midway travelers in tune with Chicago Department of Aviation information, airport traffic, weather, business news, smooth jazz music and much more.”
“On behalf of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, we are proud that O’Hare and Midway, in partnership with Clear Channel, are the first airports to offer a radio station specifically devoted to keeping passengers in touch with real-time information,” said Rosemarie S. Andolino, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Aviation. “AIR Chicago is a great example of our efforts to provide a ‘best-in-class’ experience for the millions of travelers who fly through our busy transportation hubs.”
The U.S. Travel Association released a video this week called “What Could Travel in America Look Like?”, complete with Michael Bay-style, slo-mo American flag waving and music from that part of the movie where the hero is at his most dejected.
It’s a bit over-the-top in parts, but the argument put forth by travel industry heavy hitters is spot on. About our transportation options to-and-from airports, Jonathan Tisch, Chairman of Loews Hotels and Resorts, says, “We as a nation are sadly not competitive.”