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Airline News / IAH / Houston Travel / EVA Air / EVA Air Hello Kitty / Hello Kitty / 777 / Airplane News / Livery / Cartoon Travel / Sanrio / TPE / Taipei Travel / Taiwan Travel / New Routes / → All Tags
OMG OMG OMG. We have good news and great news, both related to Hello Kitty and a certain airline fond of covering their planes in the illustrated character.
First, the good news:
Taipei-based EVA Air will soon add another Hello Kitty aircraft to their fleet, bringing the total to 7 airplanes covered in Sanrio cuteness. The theme hasn't yet been leaked, but the planethe second Boeing 777-300ER to sport a Hello Kitty livery (the other five are Airbus A330s)will be delivered in May 2015. Inside will be 333 seats: 39 business class, 56 premium economy, 238 economy.
Now, the great news:
Airport News / HOU / IAH / Airports / WiFi / Free Stuff / Texas Travel / → All Tags
For whatever reason big airports seem to have big problems when it comes to concourse connectivity. Of course WiFi is available everywhere, but it usually comes with an annoying fee. Some of the big boy airports—like Atlanta—have finally flipped the switch to make things free, and now yet another major airport is finally doing the same.
It’s time for the WiFi to be free for all across Houston, as the airport authority has opened up the network to passengers at both George Bush Intercontinental Airport and William P. Hobby Airport. The rollout is complete over at Hobby Airport, but a couple of the terminals at Bush Intercontinental will need another month or so to work things out—so just be aware.
First Class Travel / Airlines / Airline News / United / Airports / IAH / Frequent Flyer Miles / LAX / → All Tags
Last summer, United launched a partnership with Mercedes-Benz at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston and began picking up its elite flyers planeside and driving them to their connecting flights. It was not an industry first, but it was far from industry standard here in the States. Now, just a year later, United has expanded this service to its hubs in Chicago, Newark, San Francisco, and, most recently, Los Angeles, with no signs of stopping.
If you're not familiar with the service, what United and other airlines have now started doing is meeting its most favored flyers on the tarmac when they land and escorting them to their connecting flight. In United's case at LAX, it picks up its Global Services members and United Global First customers in a Mercedes-Benz GL350 BlueTEC SUV.
Airport Security / Travel Tech / Global Entry / TSA / IAH / Airports / Airport News / Passports / → All Tags
We have not been shy when it comes to sharing our love and affection for some of the new technology making its way into the passport and immigration control line. Automated kiosks smooth the process, and of course cutting down on lines after a long-haul flight is always a plus.
This week some of this travel technology makes its way over to Texas, as Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport is now featuring some of those awesome Automated Passport Control kiosks.
United / United Express / IAH / Bad Ideas / Travel News / → All Tags
You ever get the feeling that people, across the board, are getting worse at life? This story won't help. It's a near-perfect tale of an airline and a passenger working together to fail. All we hear every time we read or hear about it is a loud "womp womp womp" in our ears.
We're not the only ones. Check out to the news broadcast from ABC News we've embedded below. The anchors can't get over how kind of pathetic and kind of funny and more than a little pathetically funny it is. "Now to the story we can't get enough of this morning." They're not even pretending.
First Class Travel / Airlines / Airline News / United / Airports / IAH / Frequent Flyer Miles / → All Tags
If you’re a frequent flyer you're probably used to some of the benefits that come along with elite status. Dedicated check-in lines at the airport, access to faster security checkpoints, and of course the potential to be bumped up to business class on occasion are all just part of the fun. Well that’s just the beginning for United flyers, as it looks like there’s even a new way to get around the airport.
The carrier just received a fresh order of vehicles, and now they’re starting to pick up passengers—with a Mercedes-Benz or two—right at the airport. Travelers heading through George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston now have the chance to get picked up right from their plane and chauffeured over to their connecting flight.
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.
Jaunted Reporting Live / 787 / Aviation / Airplanes / Boeing / Boeing 787 / Boeing 787 Dreamliner / 787 Dreamliner / Dreamliner / United / EWR / IAH / United 787 / → All Tags
"I just stepped off United's 787 Dreamliner and, boy, let me tell you about its awesomeness."
That's the sentence I had hoped to type to you today.
Instead, my story, typed from a hotel lobby across the country from home, goes a little something like this: "I flew to California and have nothing but disappointment." I only wanted to fly the United Dreamliner and had sought out an affordable route that included the 787 on one leg, from Newark (EWR) to Houston-George Bush (IAH). That routing just happened to go to Ontario, California. Whatever, so long as I get my 787 action. I booked it in October and also paid to upgrade to EconomyPlus. 24 hours before my flight, still seeing the 787 listed as my aircraft, I went ahead and booked a hotel night.
In case you aren't up on your Dreamliner news, the planes have had some electrical issues (resulting in non-life-threatening emergency landings) and United's been taking them off and on their routes. Reuters & WSJ have the latest updates. Knowing this, I had obsessively checked my travel details daily, fingers crossed that the 787 would stick. It did. Until it didn't.
Now I've wasted hundreds of dollars and have no United 787 photo galleries or stories to share with you, other than this sad one of lack of communication from United and a dreaded equipment change.
Airplane News / Airline News / United / BFI / IAH / Star Alliance / Boeing / Boeing 787 Dreamliner / 787 / Boeing 787 / 787 Dreamliner / United 787 / → All Tags
The 787 gets a water cannon salute after landing in Houston
The skies above Texas today were absolutely speckled with the green and yellow radar blips of thunderstorms. That sucks for Texas, with the exception of one other radar blip: United Airlines' very first Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which came home to Houston on its delivery flight from Boeing Field in Washington State.
Those thunderstorms did add a twenty minute arrival delay, though; it was the final delay in a what's really been a saga of delays leading up to the first delivery of a 787 to a US airline.
TSA / Airport Security / Airline Security / DCA / IAH / SJU / Terrorism / → All Tags
Fake boarding passes and fake IDs have been an obvious hole in TSA's security theater for over half a decade. We know it's been that long since we wrote about it a bit in 2008 and then at length in 2009 and then offhandedly in in 2011. That whole time terrorists were able to evade the no-fly list either by getting a fake ID that matched their real boarding pass or by generating a fake boarding pass that matched their real ID. Options!
Perhaps realizing that the situation was not conducive either to objective security or to the public's perceptions of the agency's reliability, TSA announced last fall that they would be rolling out new machines to bust fake IDs and boarding passes. Fast forward half a year later, and they're now actually doing it.
Airplanes / Airlines / Airbus / A380 / Lufthansa / Singapore Airlines / Korean Air / Qantas / Emirates / Air France / JFK / MIA / LAX / SFO / IAH / IAD / → All Tags
Korean Air and Lufthansa A380s snuggle up at JFK Terminal 1
Look, if you're an airport and you want to have the superjumbo Airbus A380 flying in and out, you can't just be like "hey, airlines, bring that big thang on over." Nope. Instead certain preparations must be made to accommodate an airliner of the A380's size and heft. To effectively manage each plane's 500+ passenger load, more jetways are needed, plus support vehicles to reach the upper deck. In some cases, airport runway indicator lights may need to be moved and the tarmac reinforced.
In other words, A380s can't just fly anywhere and, although the massive planes have been in the air since Singapore Airlines took delivery of the very first in 2007, not all that many airports around the world are treated to them. At least some of those are the United States...
US airports where you'll find A380s:
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If you’re looking for a great layover lunch—or dinner—during your holiday travels be sure to check out one of the latest options at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston.
Iron Chef star and all around celeb chef Cat Cora recently opened up a new restaurant in Terminal E at IAH—it’s near E10. Cat Cora’s Kitchen is intended to actually provide you with an enjoyable airport meal, and if travelers like this new outpost as much as the version out in SFO—check out the Yelp reviews—this should be quite an addition to the airport.