Travel to the United States was off 5 percent last year, but this didn’t change how people enter the country. The top 15 ports of entry owned 85 percent of all overseas visits, gaining a full percentage point from 2008. New York JFK, Miami and Los Angeles took the first three positions and took 39 percent of the total, also picking up a full percentage point of “arrival share” relative to 2008. Five of the top 15 ports of entry actually gained inbound traffic over 2008, three of them in Florida: Miami, Orlando, Houston, Philadelphia and Fort Lauderdale.
Miami is the place to be for holiday shopping. So, put the snow behind you and head for Bal Harbour, where you can pick up a free fourth night’s stay for every three you book at the Sea View Hotel. Once you check in, cross the street and start melting your credit card immediately at the top-rated mall in the United States. Rates start at $537 and are valid through the end of March 2010.
The Sea View Hotel has 220 rooms with views of the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay and an Olympic-size pool surrounded by Key West-style cabanas. If you need relief from the brutality of winter — this usually happens to me in February — plan your exit down to Miami for a few days. And remember that four nights means one of them is free.
The FBI is looking for common denominators in bomb threats on American Airlines flights between Miami and Boston. Two cases have arisen, prompting the FBI to dig a little deeper. The most recent incident occurred on Wednesday, when a flight attendant found “bomb on board, Boston-Miami” written on a bathroom cabinet. A search of the luggage yielded no bombs or other weapons.
On September 17, a flight attendant found a threatening note in the lavatory – the plane had departed Miami at around 9:30 PM and had to head back only 40 minutes later. Again, a search of the plane turned up nothing.
Too coincidental to be a coincidence, it seems, the FBI is looking for any common threads that may exist.
It’s hard to see how the machinations of Wall Street affect the end consumer, sometimes. In the case of American Airlines and its recent pickup of $2.9 billion, you can draw a straight line from the money to the exit row.
The hefty infusion, a risky move because revenues are down and this is not a trivial amount of debt, has already prompted announcements of schedule changes … for the better. American is planning to increase flying in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas-Fort Worth and Miami, though there will be fewer flights in Raleigh/Durham and St. Louis. Look for 57 new daily flights at O’Hare, six more from JFK, two in Los Angeles and anther 19 in Dallas-Fort Worth.
The news comes at a time when most airlines are cutting back service as a way to control costs due to reductions in passenger traffic.
Since we’ve seen what fewer flights can mean – more crowded flights, less legroom and higher odds of getting stuck in a middle seat – the financial breathing room that American has gained could actually give you more actual breathing room the next time you fly. If American fill these extra seats (at the expense of your throwing up the armrest and claiming two), it will generate more revenue, which could turn into real growth. Maybe some of that cash will be used to bring back some amenities.
Eighty-six percent of international arrivals to the United States come through only 15 ports of entry, according to data from the Department of Transportation. This represents an increase of one percentage point over last year (measuring the first five months of 2008 to the first five months of 2009.
The top three ports of entry are hardly surprising: New York (specifically JFK), Miami and Los Angeles. How insane is it that the leading first impression of our country is in Queens?! These three spots were responsible for 40 percent of all arrivals so far this year. Their share of all international arrivals – trending with the top 15 – increased by roughly one percentage point year-over-year. Miami, Orlando and Philadelphia were the only members of this group to post increases.
Six of the top 15 ports of entry into the United States sustained double-digit decreases in arrivals. The stream through San Francisco is off 18 percent, moving it into the #6 position on the list (behind Honolulu). Detroit dropped 32 percent, pushing it to fifteenth, behind Boston and Philadelphia, and Agana, Guam fell 9 percent, putting it behind Chicago on the list.