Airports Add Free Power For Electronics, Vehicles

Using free power to charge electronic devices before boarding a flight is a popular activity. Airlines and airports know that and are adding more charging stations all the time. The same goes for electric vehicle travelers who might drive to the airport. As more environmentally friendly cars hit the streets, airports are adding charging stations for them too, also a complimentary service.

“Delta’s addition of power stations at airport gates has been cited by PCWorld magazine as an important aspect of travel and improving the customer experience,” said Wayne Aaron, Vice President, Marketing Programs and Distribution Strategy at Delta Airlines in a Travel Daily News article this week.

Delta is adding at least two power stations per gate power in 12 additional U.S. cities before the end of the year including Anchorage, Alaska; Austin, Texas; Denver; Dallas/Ft. Worth; Houston Intercontinental; Kansas City, Missouri; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; New Orleans; Ontario, California; Philadelphia; Phoenix; and Syracuse, New York.

“Customers today are savvy travelers who bring their smartphones, computers and tablets with them,” says Aaron. “Providing a power source they can use before they get on a long flight helps them do what they need to do in the air, whether for work or pleasure.”Electrical Vehicle Charging Stations are becoming more plentiful too. Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport is typical of airports with charging stations where spaces are reserved for electric vehicles only. Each station is capable of charging two vehicles simultaneously with 240V connectors. There is no fee to use the stations, but regular parking rates apply.

ChargePoint is the largest online charging network in the world, connecting drivers to charging stations in more than 14 countries. ChargePoint service plans are compatible with charging stations from any manufacturer and yes, they have an app to find stations close by, make, view and cancel reservations. As they pass through security, at the gate or in the air with their Wi-Fi connected devices, users can view charging stats while their car charges and get notification when fully charged.

[Flickr photo by gillyberlin]

NYC tops U.S. list of most expensive cities

It’s not exactly shocking to see that New York City is the most expensive city in the United States. Groceries, gasoline and other items tend to run a tad more than twice the national average. Whether you rent or buy, you’ll spend a fortune in this city, where the average price for a home is $1.1 million and an apartment, on average, will cost $3,400 a month.

So, how can so many bloggers live here? Remember: these are averages. That means someone has to be on the underside of them.

Housing prices were also among the reasons why San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. worked their way into top spots on the list. Average home prices shot past $600,000 in all four of these cities. In Austin, the average home price is a much more modest $226,998, and it’s even more comfortable in Nashville, at $201,020.

The measure used to determine the cost of leaving in each of the cities is based on expenses in six categories: groceries, housing (rent/mortgage), healthcare, utilities, transportation and miscellaneous items. The prices of 57 goods in these categories were used.Six of the most expensive cities in the country are in California, with four of them among the top 10. Texas has four – Austin, San Antonio, Houston and Dallas. Most of the costliest cities are on the two coasts, though Chicago (14), Las Vegas (18), Phoenix (25) and St. Louis (35) made the top 40.

The most surprising appearance on the list of most expensive places to live is Detroit. Even though it’s plagued by unemployment of 16.7 percent, utilities are expensive. Electricity costs an average of $243.56 a month, compared to a mere $141.64 in Atlanta.

The ten most expensive cities on the list are:

  1. New York City
  2. San Francisco
  3. San Jose
  4. Los Angeles
  5. Washington DC
  6. San Diego
  7. Boston
  8. Philadeplhia
  9. Seattle
  10. Baltimore

Check out the full list here.



[Photo via MigrantBlogger]

Husband and wife team steals 1,000 bags

If you were to steal 1,000 pieces of luggage, where would you keep it all? Wherever they shoved the bags, Keith Wilson King and Stacy Lynne Legg-King saw the police pull them out of their house one-by-one and stack them in the yard. The duo had been pinching luggage from the baggage carousels at the Phoenix airport, amassing an impressive collection of stolen goods … so big the police couldn’t provide an exact number.

Phoenix Detective James Holiday called what the Kings did “a livelihood,” rather than the pieces of luggage picked up a bit at a time or only as a one-shot deal.

Keith King was originally arrested three weeks ago for misdemeanor theft. The police kept an eye on him, though. When he went back to the airport again, the police followed him home (on Monday). The next day, they searched the King home and found many, many more. Both King and his wife were arrested, with the latter also picked up on charges of tampering with evidence.

The moral of the story? Be careful what you check!

[Photo by sun dazed via Flickr]

Some hotel futures at risk

The number of hotels defaulting on their loans surged 125 percent in May and June this year. Travel is down (no shit), which has an obvious effect on the top line. When there’s no money coming in, it’s hard to send cash out to meet some pretty hefty obligations. So, if none comes in, none can go out … and defaults start to rise.

Some high-profile properties have defaulted already, including the Four Seasons and Renaissance Stanford Court Hotel – both in San Francisco – and the W Hotel in San Diego. Nobody’s safe in this market. Outside California, 13 hotel loans adding up to $596 million became delinquent in June alone. Most of the carnage came from Phoenix, Las Vegas and New York City.

Of course, the defaults don’t spell the end for these properties. There is always the chance that the loan terms can be changed or the hotels can be sold. There’s a long way between defaulting loans and closed doors.

Superbowl Sunday in Phoenix with the corporate crowd: How is a jet like a donut?

Reading about the lavishness of life for the Superbowl crowd who heads to Phoenix on Superbowl weekend makes me think of jets and donuts.

I’ve tended to pick jobs where free donuts are a treat. With coffee and half and half instead of creamer, it’s a celebration. Throw in pizza for lunch and it’s a holiday. I think perhaps I’ve aimed a bit low. But, don’t get me wrong, I love the jobs I’ve chosen. I just notice the contrasts between donuts and a corporate jet. Donuts are round for one thing–even the part that’s the hole.

For those who work in high flying corporate America a celebration is a different scene entirely. This scene is where the jets come in. According to this New York Times article, as of last Friday, 400 private jets filled with people are scheduled to land in Phoenix for the weekend to take in the excitement of being at the Superbowl. Many of the jets are chartered by companies looking to show their clients (and themselves) a good time. Others are jets owned by the companies. This is 50% more private jet traffic than last year.

Sixty thousand dollars equals 10 hours worth of jet travel, in case that sounds like a good time to you and you may want to rent a big jet yourself. Car rentals look cheap now, don’t they? Throw in a three-night-stay in a hotel and we’re talking serious cash. Three nights at the Ramada in Phoenix over the weekend is $2,382.78–and that’s the least expensive.

For those of us in the donut eating crowd, while we’re eating our glazed version of a good time, chew slowly and think about how long it’s going to take for all the private jets to leave Phoenix. It’s going to take awhile–longer than it takes to eat a donut. Some people may even have to hang out on a runway for awhile. Even money can’t speed up air traffic. How is a jet like a donut? It’s not.