Dry Ice Bombs at LAX Bring Increased Security, Quick Arrest

Regardless of how it happens, who made it or where it came from, when something explodes in an airport, it’s serious business. After not one but two dry ice explosions occurred on consecutive days at California’s Los Angeles International Airport, police are increasing securlty.

They are simple enough to make; add dry ice to a 20 ounce plastic bottle and wait. There is plenty of dry ice in the area, food service vendors use it daily.

Finding out who did it, apparently, might not very difficult either; police arrested an airport employee Tuesday night. Dicarlo Bennett, a 28-year-old employee for the ground handling company Servisair, was charged with possessing and exploding a “destructive device near an aircraft,” according to a statement from police, reports CBS News.

The exploded bombs did not cause any injuries or damage.Bennett apparently took the dry ice from a plane and placed it in an employee restroom Sunday night where it exploded about 7pm, locking down terminal 2. Another device exploded in a restricted area outside the international terminal on Monday.

WWE Star Comes Out At Airport Baggage Claim (VIDEO)

When a TMZ reporter ambushed professional wrestler Darren Young while he was getting his bags at Los Angeles International Airport earlier today, the 33-year-old ended up casually telling the broadcaster that he’s gay.

The reporter asked Young if he thought a gay wrestler would be successful within the World Wrestling Entertainment organization, so Young gave it to him straight:

“Absolutely, absolutely! Look at me. I’m a WWE Superstar, and to be honest with you, I’m gay. And I’m happy, very happy.”

The stunned cameraman told Young he was “flabbergasted” and had no idea the star was gay. After some prodding, Young continued:

“I guess if you want to call it coming out. I really don’t know what to say it is. But you know, I’m just letting you know that I’m happy [with] who I am. I’m comfortable with myself, and I’m happy to be living the dream.

After a few more questions, Young rolled out of the airport with his luggage, becoming the first openly gay male wrestler to come out while actively participating in the sport.

Airport X-Ray Scanner Radiation No Big Deal, Say Scientists

The topic of overexposure to radiation via airport X-ray scanners comes up from time to time, mostly by frequent fliers concerned for their health. But in a new study out this week, scientists say travelers absorb less radiation from an airport security scan than just standing around waiting for it.

Using two scanners at the Los Angeles International airport (LAX), a traveler would have to take more than 22,500 scans in a year to be in trouble, concluded a recent test.

“We think the most important single take-away point for concerned passengers is to keep an appropriate perspective,” said Christopher Cagnon, PhD, DABR, the chief of radiology physics at UCLA Medical Center in a Travel Daily News report, adding “the effective radiation dose received by a passenger during screening is comparable to what that same passenger will receive in 12 seconds during the flight itself or from two minutes of natural radiation exposure.”The report came from a study commissioned by the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM), using Rapiscan Secure 1000 SP backscatter X-ray scanners, once common in major airports but removed mostly over concerns for privacy, replaced by machines that emit even less radiation.

US Airports Spend Billions On International Expansion

The American airports of tomorrow are being built today as ongoing projects take shape to handle an increasing number of fliers. Around the country, projects are being considered, underway or nearing completion as travelers from around the world make their way to the United States.

As reported by Aviation Pros, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s nearly $350 million comprehensive modernization project at Newark Liberty International Airport Terminal B is nearing completion with the final phase slated to start in May.

“When people from across the globe arrive at Newark, they should find an airport welcome second to none,” says Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni. “The Port Authority is fulfilling our commitment to making Newark Liberty Airport one of the world’s best.”

Improvements to the international arrivals area include consolidating lost baggage offices, relocating the ground transportation desk to a more convenient location and improving travelers’ aid and concession spaces. Additionally, there will be upgrades to the public address, signage, escalator, alarm and fire protection as well as the heating and air-conditioning systems.

Work is also underway on a $1.2 billion enhancement and expansion of Delta’s facilities at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport reports Travel Daily news. That expansion brings a new Delta Sky Club in Terminal C, due to open this summer, and the Delta Sky Club in Terminal D will undergo an expansion.Delta will also increase service at LaGuardia by 60 percent, adding 4 million seats into New York, with 100 new flights and 26 more new destinations coming on line by summer 2012. As reported by Forbes, when its full schedule is implemented by this summer, Delta will run more than 260 daily flights to over 60 cities, more than any other carrier.

“All together, with our expansion projects at JFK and LaGuardia, Delta is investing nearly $1.4 billion in our New York airport facilities,” said Delta Chief Executive Officer Richard Anderson. “No other airline is approaching that level of commitment to New York in the next 12 months.”

It’s big money and not just on the East Coast. Los Angeles International Airport marked a milestone in its modernization program late last month, dedicating the renovation of Terminal 6, a new home for Alaska Airlines. The $238-million project includes a variety of improvements to bag checking, ticketing, security screening, waiting areas at gates and more.

These new facilities might not be waiting for long to handle increased traffic and pay back those investments.

In Texas, two studies were done to evaluate the economic impact on the city from Southwest’s international flights. They found the potential for an additional 1.5 million passengers to, from and through Houston per year. The increase would create more than 10,000 jobs and an annual economic impact of more than $1.6 billion.

Think US airports have high ambitions? Dubai International is already the world’s fourth busiest airport in terms of passenger traffic, but wants more too.

[Flickr photo via mastermaq]

Virgin America now connects California to Chicago

Virgin America is taking its mood-lit flights to the Midwest. Today the airline kicks off service from San Francisco and Los Angeles to Chicago O’Hare, and Gadling is joining the airline for its inaugural celebration.


To celebrate the new service, Virgin is offering Chicago flyers a $25 Groupon deal for $100 in air travel, discounting one-way fares as low as $59, and gifting triple points to frequent flyer members.

Stay tuned to Gadling this week for updates from the events and notes from the first few days of service. Word in the underground is that tonight’s celebration at The Wit in Chicago is going to rock the house. Rest assured, we’ll be in the middle of that storm.