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This afternoon, as the 26.2-mile Boston Marathon was under way with approximately 27,000 runners, two explosive devices detonated in the vicinity of the Finish Line, near the downtown Boston intersection of Boylston and Essex Streets. Initial reports state that the bombs were in trash cans within a block of each other (we've pinpointed the locations on a map below) and the explosions caused storefronts to explode as well as serious injuries for bystanders.
· 10pm: American Airlines is also offering a change waiver for flights to/from Boston. The Wall Street Journal tweets: "Officials found what they believe are 5 additional, undetonated explosive devices in Boston area."
· 8pm: One of the two confirmed dead is an 8-year-old boy.
· 7:15pm: The London Marathon is scheduled for this upcoming Sunday. Organizers are working with US authorities to review security and the potential for a copy-cat crime. The London Marathon is expected to have 37,000 runners. [Source: NBC News]
Airport Restaurants / Airport Dining / IAH / BOS / DAL / Airports / Airport News / → All Tags
New restaurants seem to be popping up at airports across the country faster than we can keep track of them, so we took some time to check out some of the newest options. Here’s just a few of the latest establishments competing with Sbarro for your airport restaurant dollars:
Dallas Love Field
Southwest is the carrier that ‘LUVs’ to fly to and from the smaller airport down in Dallas, but that doesn’t mean that the airport isn’t a great place to relax between flights. New restaurants are all part of a new expansion at the airport, as October 2014 is when certain flight restrictions will become a thing of the past.
Whataburger—in its first airport appearance—brings burgers and fries into the terminal, but if you’re looking to sit down during your meal there’s always Cool River and Sky Canyon. National options include places like Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts, because you just need your coffee fix. However, if you’re looking for something local there’s Campisi’s Pizza, Cantina Laredo, and Dickey’s Barbecue Pit. Things opened up earlier this week, so swing by if you’re heading to or heading through.
Winter Travel / JetBlue / Airline News / Snow Travel / JFK / BOS / Weather / → All Tags
We learned something very important these last few weeks, as did US travelers hoping to head into or out of the east coast. That lesson learned: never trust a groundhog who magically predicts weather.
After Punxsutawney Phil "declared" an early arrival of spring weather, Mother Nature revolted and dumped even more snow and cold on travel plans. Headlines like the USA Today one above just keep on coming.
Even as we type this, we sit in Amsterdam as it experiences historic levels of cold for late March. It's not supposed to be 32 F with a wind chill of 25 F and 30mph winds. We didn't pack for that!
So when will winter finally take its leave for the year? Even the airline big wigs are wondering the same, as JetBlue's COO Rob Maruster tweeted this morning:
TSA / BOS / PHL / IAD / LAX / EWR / LGA / Full-Body Scanners / Airport Security / → All Tags
Yes, the new Travel + Leisure survey of "Most Annoying Airport Security Checkpoints" is sort of kind of egregiously shameless link bait. Publishing top 10 lists on the Internet (or in this case top-14 lists) is basically cheating, up there with posting pictures of boobs and cats.
The only thing that's less subtle is putting in something that doesn't quite fit, so that people will argue about the list. Theoretically that's impossible to do on surveys, but that doesn't mean we can't still complain about the rankings. Can you believe they put Dulles TSA checkpoints as more annoying than the ones in Logan? Whoever thinks that's right has either never been to the airports or is an idiot or is a troll.
Also: well played, T+L.
TSA / Politics Travel / Travel Politics / Congress / Airport Security / Airline Security / BOS / Travel News / → All Tags
Yeah listen. We're running out of new ways to explain how in practice there's no such thing as truly "random" screening, the kind that avoids any kind of profiling. Either you get top-down profiling, where some official creates a profile and tells agents to look for it, or you get bottom-up profiling, where you devolve authority to agents on the ground and they use their own judgment.
Top-down profiling is problematic because we live in a decent society and we don't want government officials telling airport security agents to search for travelers who fit a look. But the bottom-up approach is problematic because it lets sexist and racist douchebags harass women and African-Americans with impunity, because they say the travelers were acting weird.
We hit this theme pretty hard last year, writing again and again that giving more responsibility to agents on the ground risks rampant sexual harassment and racial harassment. Then TSA launched their behavior-based system, which gave agents on the ground more responsibility.
How do you think that went?
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In case the coffee hasn't kick in yet, let us remind you that it's Monday. This isn't just any Monday, however; it's the final Monday of spring 2012. This Wednesday, June 20, the Summer Solstice hits and though we'll have more on that soon, we wanted to start off the week and end the season in style, in our favorite way: with a time-lapse airport video!
The above video, from YouTube user BostonAirborne, gives a sense of what it is to watch "rush hour" at Boston-Logan International. Filmed from Bayswater, aka the BOS plane spotter hotspot, the video captures the majority of the major US carriers patiently lining up for their go at the departure runway.
Keep your eye out for the few teeny tiny Cape Air Cessnas, who'll be popping up in other stories on Jaunted this week as we look at summer travel to Nantucket!
Airfare Deals / JetBlue / Airline News / BOS / IAD / BWI / DCA / Boston Travel / Washington DC Travel / LCCs / AYCJ / → All Tags
Buying flights in bulkis this the next new thing? Virgin America tried it out last year with a Gilt City deal that saw a pack of 3 roundtrip short-haul flights going for $427, all the way on up to 10 long-haul roundtrips for $3,585. Well, the originators of the All-You-Can-Jet ideaJetBlueare kicking off spring travel with a bulk deal of their very own. The only catch? You have to really love flying between Boston and Washington DC.
The deal is quite simple:
· Buy a "Go Pack" of 10 one-way flights between Boston (BOS) and all Washington, DC airports—Washington-Reagan (DCA), Washington-Dulles (IAD), Baltimore (BWI).
· Pay $699, plus $7 in taxes for each flight (so it's $776 total).
· Fly your 10 flights between April 23 through June 27, 2012.
· Earn a lump sum 4,200 TrueBlue miles
It’s not quite as exciting—at least to us—as Chick-fil-A arriving for the first time at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, but there’s a few new restaurants arriving at another pretty big airport. Boston's Logan International is ready for a few new shops and restaurants just in time for spring, and it looks like they’re all headed for many of the international arrivals and departures that do their thing within Terminal E.
If there’s one thing Boston—or Massachusetts in general—is known for it’s a passion for Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, so it only makes sense to have plenty of it available at the airport. There’s already locations within other terminals and concourses at the airport, but if you “run on Dunkin” you’ll be able to get your iced coffee or dunkaccino fix now within Terminal E as well. Obviously, there will be plenty of donuts as well, so why not grab a box of munchkins to share with your fellow passengers?
Flight Deals / 787 / Dreamliner / 787 Dreamliner / Boeing / Boeing 787 Dreamliner / BOS / NRT / Tokyo Travel / JAL / Japan Airlines / Airplanes / → All Tags
Our shot of a JAL 787 being built at Boeing's HQ. Notice the lack of engines
It feels like just yesterday we were freaking out over the launch of the very first Boeing 787 Dreamliner, by Japanese airline ANA. Well, their rival JAL wants everyone to know that they've got some Dreamliners coming as well, and they're taking them overseas to the US of A, and soon.
Like April 22, 2012 soon. If you've been dying to try the new plane and have been waiting for a oneworld airline to fly it, or just to experience it in the spring, then JAL has some airfares that may work for you. It's not a "sale" so much since the prices aren't cheap: from $1,500 roundtrip in economy between Boston and Tokyo-Narita or $6,500 in business class. Buy it before January 31, 2012 for travel between April 22 and September 30, 2012. We're thinking it would make an awesome holiday gift...!
Here's all the details to make it happen.
Airline Security / Airport Security / BOS / LAX / TSA / Airports / Terrorism / Politics Travel / → All Tags
Responding to criticism like ours over the failure of TSA agents to stop a loaded gun from being checked onto an LAX flight, the security agency leaped into action this week and declared that they will make absolutely no changes to airport security procedures at the airport.
TSA spokesman Nico Melendez explained that there's no danger of having loaded guns in checked baggage, because "no one has access to them." So as long as it's true that loaded guns never ever fire accidentally, you can all go back to feeling safe now.
Speaking of which. A day before we posted about how loaded guns on airplanes make us uncomfortable, we discussed our deep skepticism about the training that TSA agents in charge of "chat-downs" were getting. Chat-downs, remember, are the Israeli-style security line interviews that TSA has been testing out in Boston-Logan and now in Detroit-Metro Airports. Agents ask you personal questions, you give personal answers, and then they read your body language to see if you're lying. In theory.
Airline Security / BOS / DTW / TSA / Airports / Terrorism / → All Tags
We really don't want to be those travel bloggers. The ones who reflexively complain about everything TSA does just because it's really easy to pick on TSA. We try to be fair about moron passengers, we take pains to explain why TSA agents sometimes have to conduct intrusive inspections, and we give the agency credit when they improve their security protocols.
But the more we read about TSA's shift to Israel-style airport security inspectionswhich are now being called "chat-downs" by journalists and politicians, because naming things is funthe more worried we get. This is the agency's new SPOT program, where agents ask you personal questions while you wait in line, and then they try to read your body language to determine whether you're making things up. We haven't quite figured out what's wrong but we're pretty sure we don't like it.
UPDATE: We guess print is dead, as Massport informs us that the paper is no longer available (and we only just picked up a copy in May).
"Print is dead," hmm? We completely agree in some respects, but walking through several international airports, you'd never know it from piles of complimentary newspapers specially written, edited and printed for the passengers briefly transiting through said airports.
Thanks to an extra long recent layover at Boston-Logan, we discovered BOS' Logan Times, a thin rag that discusses such topics as airport security complaints, area tourism and airport amenities. It's not for the average traveler, but #avgeeks will rejoice at the sight of it.