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The Convoluted Tale of a US Spy Plane and an FAA Ground Stop

May 6, 2014 at 6:32 PM | by | ()

When last we left off, the FAA had just gotten over imposing a ground stop on four Southern California airports - LAX, Burbank, Ontario, and John Wayne - because of unnamed "technical issues." Or maybe it was because of mysterious "computer issues." Or maybe because of "the system" that managed the airspace for a particular air traffic control center. The agency wasn't exactly being helpful or clear on why they decided to ground, delay, or divert hundreds of flights. That frustrated at least one local outlet to the point where they kind of snarked that the FAA was sending journalists to functionally useless websites.

We'll remind you that a ground stop is a big deal. It's not just that planes get frozen on the runway at whatever airport gets slapped with the stop. It's that any plane anywhere in the country bound for the ground-stopped airport also gets grounded. These things cascade very, very quickly.

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This Wasn't Exactly a Banner Week for the FAA and TSA

May 1, 2014 at 4:46 PM | by | ()

What is it about the various government agencies charged with overseeing American travel, do you think, and how they're gratingly bad at what they do? We assume there are parts of the federal government where bureaucrats get things done roughly as well (or not) as they would if they were working anywhere else. But hot damn, do the FAA and TSA screw things up occasionally.

The FAA is an agency that is - literally and metaphorically - standing in the way of the future. It's not just that it took them two years to even draft a policy on in-flight electronics, to the point where the FCC had to initiate a formal procedure to ask them what the hell was taking so long. These are people who are so incompetent that they might end up delaying futuristic private spaceflight just because, hey, they're not sure what they think about all that yet. But at least they keep the planes in the air, right?

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Compare and Contrast: Which of Los Angeles' Five Airports Sucks the Least?

March 12, 2014 at 10:24 AM | by | ()

When it comes to Los Angeles travel, all airports are not created equal.

Although most travelers know of LAX, the area actually boasts five major airports, each with its own strengths, weaknesses, WiFi policies, and paparazzi specialties. And you can bet frequent flyers to the left coast feel loyalty for the airports nearly as much as the airlines.

For example, our Editor Cynthia loves Long Beach for its slick looks and tech friendliness. On the flip side, HotelChatter Editor and LA resident Juliana pledges allegiance to the flexibility and fancy upgrades of LAX. Contributor Andy swears by SNA, and Jaunted friend The Sterling Traveler seconds the Long Beach fascination.

What? No love for Burbank or Ontario International? Having sampled all five airports in our travels, it's time to compare and contrast:

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PDX, MCI, and SNA Get New Restaurants for Your Pre-Flight Noms

September 13, 2012 at 9:43 AM | by | ()

For those traveling through the nation’s airports there’s a few new bits and bites to sample, as a few new airport restaurants have now found their way into the terminals and concourses. They might not have celebrity chefs in the kitchen, but as long as they are not another outpost of a typical food court stand then we back them 100 percent.

Over in Portland—the one in Oregon—the city’s airport just scored a few new retail locations, and one of them can be even considered a restaurant if you’re okay with a few to-go items. There’s now a place called The Oregonian News, another known as Rich’s News, and a new Kiehl’s location. Over at The Market there’s even the opportunity to scoop up local snacks and sandwiches from the city’s Elephant’s Delicatessen—tasty.

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There's a New Terminal at Orange County Airport, Just in Time for the Holiday Rush

November 22, 2011 at 9:18 AM | by | ()

They won’t be as busy as LAX this holiday season thanks to the folks at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, who are opening up their newest terminal just in time for the rush. The hardhats and bulldozers are long gone and, after spending around $500 million on airport improvements, it’s time for Terminal C to open its doors to the traveling public.

Besides convenience—and new airport smell—the new terminal has a lot to offer those heading into town for Disneyland, the beaches, or a Real Housewives reunion. There’s plenty of new gates, five more security checkpoints, and live displays to help you find your flight and departure time. For those in need of a parking spot there’s also plenty of freshly paved options in Parking Structure C, including real-time updates on how many spots are left for you and your crew.

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The OC's John Wayne Airport Gets a Little Work Done

August 17, 2011 at 9:14 AM | by | ()

This summer seems to be the season for airport dining expansion and renovation. The latest airport getting in on all the food court make over action is John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California.

Things are already starting to open, as Vino Volo—they can be found in around ten other domestic airports—has already uncorked its first bottles to visitors and locals alike. The more local options are still on track for a debut either later this year or early next year. Javi’s—and offshoot of the Mexican restaurant in Newport Beach and Irvine—is en route to the airport, so expect plenty of pre-departure margaritas for thirsty travelers. Other options include Ruby's Diner, Ruby's Shake Shack, Zov's Bakery and Cafe, Jerry's Wood-Fired Dog, and Hobie Sand Bar. In total, restaurant space at the airport is going from around 15,000 square feet to around 27,000 square feet, so it’s definitely quite an upgrade.

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Three Airports That Will Give You a Tour, Without Having to Buy a Plane Ticket

March 24, 2011 at 11:18 AM | by | ()

We realize that going to the airport isn’t exactly as exciting as flying out of the airport—like when you’re the only one that can drop-off grandma on a Thursday afternoon. Sometimes it just isn’t in the cards, so why not just take an airport tour? Here’s three airports that offer up free field trips to everywhere but the sky:

· John Wayne Airport
The tour of Orange County’s airport might not be as exhilarating as the area’s other attractions—uh, Disneyland—but it’s still better than watching repeats of Real Housewives. The Thomas F. Riley Terminal is open to one and all, as volunteer tour guides are eager to take you for a spin around the airport.

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Five of the Best (and Newest) Airport Restaurants

March 23, 2011 at 10:27 AM | by | ()

We’re usually all over new routes, but before jetting across the globe you need something to eat. Lately new airport restaurants seem to be everywhere, so we thought we’d round up a few of the new and coming-soon sort for your culinary pleasure:

· Smashburger at EWR
One of the country’s best burger chains has yet to invade NYC, but it has debuted in one of the city’s airports. Newark Liberty International Airport just got its very own Smashburger, and after sampling their burger masterpieces in the Midwest, we have to say that this is definitely a good thing. It’s kind of like Five Guys—but with a little more fanciness—and should satisfy any greasy cravings you might have at the airport. Find the burgers, and their specialized New Jersey menu, within Terminal C3.

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Airport Construction Update: What's New In NorCal, SoCal and More

June 10, 2010 at 1:40 PM | by | ()

There’s many reasons to love airports. Sure we’re stuck in them more than we’d like, but they’re all unique and all offer an escape to somewhere else. That’s why we’re always on the look out for any airport activity or terminal trends. Here’s the scoop on three airport construction projects that you might run into sooner or later:

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