Non-U.S. citizens flying from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport will now have to leave their fingerprints as they leave the country. The objective, of course, is to prevent the use of forged or otherwise fraudulent documents, curb identity theft and apprehend “criminals and immigration violators.”
“Collecting biometrics allows us to determine faster and more accurately whether non-U.S. citizens have departed the United States on time or remained in the country illegally,” said DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano. “The pilot programs in Atlanta and Detroit will help us determine and develop standard procedures for use at airports across the country to expedite legitimate travel and enhance our nation’s security.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers will be taking the fingerprints at the boarding gate in Detroit, with Transportation Security Administration officers doing the honors at the gate in Atlanta. The program is expected to run through early July at these two airports. If the test run goes well, it will be implemented across the United States within the next year.
Is Delta playing chicken with Atlanta? The airline is getting ready for negotiations with Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport … and has opened by threatening to lean on secondary hubs like Memphis and Cincinnati. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution questions the airline’s likelihood of pulling the trigger, though.
Delta is concerned that the costs of running through Hartsfield-Jackson, the world’s busiest airport, could be twice as high as those of other airports. Moving two-thirds of connecting traffic away could save a pile of cash for a company in a perpetually struggling industry.
When you need an expert, you can always find one to take your side, it seems. Airport consultant Jerry FitzGerald believes that pulling out of Atlanta could cost Delta a good chunk of business traveler dollars – and that Memphis or Cincinnati may not be able to cover the difference.
Well, like anybody sitting on the tarmac, all we can do is wait and see.
[Via USA Today]
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport leads the list of the busiest airports in the United States … again. According to a report by the Federal Aviation Administration, it was home to 978,084 takeoffs and landings in 2008. That’s a 1 percent drop from the year before but still indicates that the tarmac was awfully busy. Chicago O’Hare followed with 881,566, down 5 percent from 2007, 926,973.
Put simply, either airport had more flight operations than Boston has people.
I guess this is something to keep in mind the next time you complain about a delay, sigh over long lines or wear a frown when that moron in front of you doesn’t remember to pull out his license at the ticket counter.
Who am I kidding? I’ll still be miserable, and I’m sure I won’t be alone.
[Via USA Today]
Travelers passing through Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson airport on November 25th and 26th will be able to get some soothing pampering, courtesy of 3M (yeah, the Post-It people).
As part of a promotion for their laptop privacy screens, 3M has created a site dedicated to revealing airport secrets.
Airporthavens.com has some fantastic tips, including where to find some free desktop workstations at Miami International, or a hidden lounge at LAX. Visitors can even submit their own hidden airport tips.
The 3M Airport Haven lounge will be open from 8am to 5pm, and you’ll be able to locate it on the 3rd floor of the Atrium at the Atlanta Airport Executive Conference Center. The lounge will feature free Wi-Fi, snacks, beverages and of course, free massages.
I can’t think of a better way to start the crazy travel season than a nice soothing massage and a cold beverage. Can you?
A gun-rights organization called GeorgiaCarry has lost their suit against Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. A recently passed state law allows licensed gun owners to carry their weapons on public transportation. The group went into court claiming that airports are “public transportation” areas as defined in the law.
GeorgiaCarry did not want the right to carry guns on airplanes. They simply wanted to be able to carry in non-secure parts of the airport like parking lots, baggage claim areas, and any other space that can be accessed without passing through airport security checkpoints.
Georgia Republican Governor Sonny Perdue claimed that his wife might want to pack heat as she walked from the parking lot to the terminal. (It was not clear why she would need to walk from the parking lot instead of being dropped off curbside in the governor’s limo).
Fortunately, there is no need to don your Kevlar vest if you are flying into or out of Hartsfield-Jackson. A district judge shot down GeorgiaCarry’s case, saying that allowing firearms inside airport grounds would be a significant risk to public safety.
Some state politicians and gun-rights groups vow to continue to press forward.