Miami Airport To Test Passenger Self-Boarding

cdedbdme, Flickr

Miami International Airport has plans to test a self-boarding system that would cut out airline gate agents and, hopefully, make the boarding process flow better, Skift reports.

Maurice Jenkins, the airport’s director of information services and telecommunications, tells the news outlet the airport already has the equipment it needs to get the process started, and will soon roll out tests with several airlines. He also mentioned the airport is looking at testing self-service kiosks in customs, but that would be further down the pipeline.

According to the Star Tribune, at least 17 airlines across Europe and Asia already use self-boarding machines, and several U.S. carriers are testing the devices. The process is simple: an automated turnstile allows fliers to scan their own boarding passes at the gate before passing onto the plane. Although this essentially means travelers can bypass all interaction with airline employees until the point they step onto an aircraft, it doesn’t mean passengers will get to skip any form of security, so everyone who uses the system will have already passed inspection.

We all know how bad people can be at forming a line at the airport, so we’re curious to see this implemented. My only question is, who will police the size of our carry-on bags now?

Behind The Scenes At Miami International Airport, Tonight

Miami International Airport

Travelers passing through Miami International Airport (MIA) most commonly are concerned about luggage, customs, security and making connections. Given the time, they might linger at an airport store in the mall-like shopping areas, have something to eat, work or just relax before a flight. But behind the scenes, an army of MIA workers handles situations travelers may never hear about from drug smuggling to terrorist threats, medical emergencies and more.

Tonight, the Travel Channel is taking us back stage to see how it all unfolds every day as 100,000 travelers make their way through one of the busiest airports in the world.

“This is one of many ways in which Travel Channel is trying to give viewers a different look at all aspects of travel,” network general manager Andy Singer said in a Washington Post article. “And we think the Miami International Airport is a fascinating way to do that.”

“Airport 24/7: Miami” brings us behind closed doors to watch workers as they handle terrorist threats, deal with drug smugglers, act quickly in medical emergencies, get ready for an Air Force One landing and more.

Going behind doors marked “Staff Only” and “Secure Area” into places travelers rarely see, “Airport 24/7: Miami” promises to show what happens as thousands of Miami International Airport workers go about the business of running a safe and secure airport facility, all while getting passengers to their flights on time.


“Airport 24/7:Miami” premieres tonight with back-to-back episodes at 9 p.m. EST.


Flight Attendants Gun Goes Off in Airport


[Flickr photo by Let Ideas Compete]

New airport terminals, once delayed, prep for opening this year

new airport terminalsNew airport terminals can add time-saving features to existing facilities, bringing the latest in technology and security. If and when they open. Local and worldwide economic conditions caused projects to be delayed or shelved for a while. Now, several new facilities are preparing to open and new projects are being approved, signaling a brighter future to come.

The long anticipated and twice delayed inauguration of a new terminal at the Daniel Oduber International Airport (LIR) in Liberia, capital of the northwest province of Guanacaste, is happening this week.

“Costa Rica will be in a very advantageous situation, since we will have the best secondary airport in all of Central America, and perhaps one of the best in Latin America,” Transport Minister Francisco Jiménez told Ticotimes. “This will be a very important part of the development of the northern Pacific region.”

The airport will have the capacity to provide service to 1,500 passengers during peak hours and boasts security upgrades, temporary holding rooms for detained passengers, and dormitories for people in the process of being deported. Said to be the answer to notorious Liberia airport lines that sometimes stretch outside of the terminal, the new facility will be a welcome addition.

Coming up in Las Vegas this June, McCarran International Airport (LAS) opens new $2.4 billion Terminal 3, primarily to serve international and domestic long-haul flights. The new terminal will have 14 gates, a baggage handling system and parking garage and will feature an underground shuttle to the D gates and two floors of security checkpoints. When the new terminal opens, Terminal 2, an eight-gate charter on the airport’s north side, will be torn down.

Miami International Airport‘s (MIA) North Terminal Development Program is quickly nearing completion in 2012. Only three gates remain to be opened in the 50-gate “super concourse,” which is used by American Airlines as its hub for Latin America and the Caribbean to serve more than 20 million passengers annually and provide more than 300 daily flights.

Noted as one of the top ten airports for shopping in the world by Cheapflights.ca, the “terminals feel more like shopping malls than airports” reports the Miami Herald.

Indeed, to make airports work in today’s economy, they are becoming much more than just a place where planes take off and land. In addition to destination-like features, community leaders are pushing airport construction and expansion as a way land on sound economic ground.

“We need a healthy economy to thrive as a community. And transportation infrastructure is absolutely a part of this,” said Supervisor Shirlee Zane, chairwoman, when the Sonoma County California Board of Supervisors unanimously endorsed an $84 million project to expand Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport (STS) to enable more daily commercial flights this week.

“In this economy, this is as close to an economic home run as we’re going to get,” said Jonathan Coe, of the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce.

In Vermont, construction on a new terminal building at Vermont’s Newport State Airport (UUU) could begin as early as this summer. That would be a big step in a $12.8 million expansion project that officials say is designed to boost the area’s economy.

“This 9-year project has put a focus on utilizing our existing airports to mark Vermont not only a destination for vacationers, but also a viable economic force in the Northeast region,” said Guy Rouelle, aviation director for the Vermont Transportation Agency in BusinessWeek.

Utilizing existing airports, remodeling and upgrading facilities to address security concerns and improve the process for passengers has been a long time coming. Signs like these indicate overdue projects will be getting back on track and point to a bright future for American aviation.

But new airports are not popular everywhere as we see in this video.


Chile Clashes Over Airport Construction

Flickr photo by gTarded


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/01/11/2585180/mia-a-top-international-shopping.html#storylink=cpy

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Talking Travel with Step Back from the Baggage Claim, Jason Barger

Jason Barger already knew a fair amount about people before he headed off his 7-day, 7-airport travel spree to do nothing but watch them interact. He’d spent many a spring break leading adolescents and adults on house-building ventures in Mexico, a trip that took him through various airports with a band of travelers of all ages, for example.

Wanting more fodder to further develop his ideas about airport behavior and what it says about humanity, he decided to airport hop logging thousands of miles and observations as he zig zagged across the U.S. While he watched people either shine with behavior that would make Mom proud –or in such a way that if they were a piece of luggage no one would claim them, Barger honed his ideas about how the airport is a perfect metaphor for modern day life.

The result was Step Back from the Baggage Claim, a book that Barger hopes people will leave on a bench somewhere for someone else to pick up once they’re done reading it. The result of passing the book along will be that people will think about how they interact as they move through their day.

Ever since I read Barger’s book, I’ve made my own observations about airport interactions. It does seem he’s onto something. Over the past months since his book came out, gaining steam through venues like the Washington Post and ABC News, I’ve kept up with Barger’s efforts. Yesterday, there was a post on his new video.

Today is a Talking Travel interview with questions Barger answered through e-mail in between a trip to the Dominican Republic to help with a house-building effort there. If you are looking for a tasty bite to eat that’s not expensive while passing through an airport, Barger has a suggestion.

With Thanksgiving travel rapidly approaching, listening to Barger’s advice to step back from the baggage claim is not a bad idea.

Now that people know that you’ve written a book about airplane and airport behavior, do you feel like the “Dear Abby” of travel? Does everyone have a story to tell you and want advice?

It has been fascinating to see that “everyone has a story”. Also, because the airport metaphor has been so highly relatable, people are connecting with it in profound ways.

2. What surprised you the most about your airport hopping experience? Something you didn’t expect to find out?

That we’re on ‘Autopilot’. I had the perception that people were either experiencing a real ‘high’ and excited about where they were headed or a real ‘low’ and miserable about their travels. However, what I observed was that the majority of us look like we’re walking around on ‘Autopilot’ – we’re going through the motions, almost as if we’re in a trance. This was a powerful image for our everyday lives – are we truly alive as we move through our routines? How can we be more awake as we travel from point A to B in life?

3. Have you noticed any connection between how people dress and the airport/airplane experience? Does dress for success work?

Hard to make generalizations on this one, but certainly an indicator of how a person is ‘entering’ the airport environment. Some are laid back and comfortable and some you can tell are all business.

4 Do you think it’s possible that very nice, sane, considerate people actually turn into jerks at the airport? If so, why? Is it catching?


Yes, for some reason it appears that the airport is a space in the world where some people alter their normal behaviors. I choose to believe that people are good and want to be kind to others, but it appears that the stresses and uncertainty of the airport environment often brings out the worst in people.

5. Have you ever seen Improv Everywhere’s stunt “Welcome Back?” where In case you haven’t. Here’s the link. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hjej2V_yh5k (In this video, actors meet people at the airport with signs, flowers, balloons and applause to welcome them home. They find people to welcome based on the names scrawled on signs that drivers hold–those who are at the airport to pick someone specific up.)

Wonderful. It is amazing what positive ripples it sends to everyone in the area when others feel ‘welcomed’. It reminds me of a time years ago when I went to the airport with some friends of mine to pick up another friend coming home. We dressed in suits as if we were secret service and ushered the person off the plane. It got a great response from all!

Okay, here are some quick airport questions. They can be about ANY airport, not just the ones you chose for the book.

6. Which airport has the coolest feature and what is it?

Detroit’s ‘cosmic tunnel’. It is a great deviation from the norm. see this blog entry for specifics http://www.tripso.com/today/wow-that-was-cool-a-trip-through-detroits-cosmic-airport-tunnel/

7. Which one is the most comfortable for hanging out?

Seattle. I love the Seattle airport. Beautiful high glass windows looking out on Mount Rainer, thoughtful seating arrangements, variety of creative eating options, and just a well thought out design contribute in positive ways to the atmosphere.

8. Which airport has the best personality, if airports have different personalities?

Seattle for the laid back pacific northwest charm and Minneapolis for it’s classy Midwest warmth.

9 . Which airport seemed to foster anxiety?

Miami. Lots of construction, limited seating and food options, and clusters of people add to the normal airport tensions.

10. What airport has the best food find. What is it?


The Quiznos’ pre-made Italian sub that you can find at a Quiznos ‘to go’ kiosk in many airports is one of the better pre-made sandwiches I’ve ever had.

11. Name three airports you have not been to that you would like to if you had the chance?

Johannesburg, South Africa. Albuquerque, New Mexico. Tokyo, Japan.

12. And one more– Based on what you’ve observed from airport and airplane behavior, is there any hope for humanity? Any hope at all? Any?

Absolutely. We all share in the creation of today. We all contribute to each moment based on the spirit we choose to put out into the world. We can begin to ‘Change the World’ by bringing more gratitude and compassion to life in the seemingly insignificant daily moments – such as at the airport. Step Back from the Baggage Claim: Change the world, start at the Airport!

United States makes a fool of itself – arrests UK comedian for “sounding Cuban”

You can’t make this crap up – British comedian Paul O’Grady was arrested at Miami international airport because he sounded “Cuban”.

The award winning comedian has his own TV show, and became famous thanks to his hilarious Lily Savage drag queen character.

Apparently, the fools at Miami airport thought his accent was a tad funny, and accused him of being an illegal Cuban alien.

It took officials two hours to verify his identity and confirm that he is indeed, a British comedian, and not a Cuban immigrant.

I’m not entirely sure why they couldn’t just take a close look at him, and come to the conclusion that he doesn’t even look Cuban. But that would obviously prevent Miami airport from keeping its title as one of the worst International airports in the country.

With so many tourists visiting the United States entering through Miami, the airport may want to review its policies, and ask their immigration officials to re-read the manual on how to spot an illegal immigrant. The first step is to just read the damn passport.

Mr. O’Grady spoke about the incident on his radio show, and said “I’ve been to hell, folks – it’s called Miami airport.”.