The busiest winter day in history for UK travelers is forecast for Friday 22 December.
All the big British airports are expecting their busiest-ever Christmas and New Year. But on the railways, the festive season is complicated by no fewer than 10 strikes planned up to the end of the year.
Europe’s busiest airport, Heathrow, is expecting almost a quarter of a million people to pass through on 22 December, with 130,000 departing – a rate of almost two per second during the airport’s opening hours.
Passport control at Heathrow will be most stretched on Tuesday 2 January, with 127,000 arrivals.
At Gatwick, the outbound crowds will be also biggest on Friday 22 December, with almost 67,000 passengers expected to jet off from the airport – equivalent to 46 per minute, around the clock.
Manchester airport will be extremely busy on both of next two Fridays: 22 and 29 December. Top destinations include Dublin, Dubai and Amsterdam. But the airport, Britain’s third busiest, has received criticism for its security queues.
MSN Travel News reports a suspicious passenger traveling via the Sri Lankan airport was stopped by security stopped him. Customs officials at the Bandaranaike International Airport noticed a 45-year-old man from Sri Lanka walking with difficulty and appearing to be in pain.
When the man was searched by security officials, they discovered an estimated $30,000 worth of gold stashed in his rectum. Security officers found gold biscuits, three pieces of gold, six gold jewelry articles and two silver-plated yellow gold jewelry articles all inside the man’s body cavity. The unnamed man was waiting for his flight to India Sunday when authorities noticed him constantly looking around, causing security officers to stop him. The search authorities conducted revealed the man had hidden the more-than two pounds of gold in four plastic bags inside him.
Bandaranaike International Airport officials were not surprised by the incident. Many smugglers attempt to take gold into India to make a higher profit. Transporting the gold in this manner is one of the most popular, but uncomfortable forms of smuggling.
Pittsburgh International Airport will be the first in the U.S. to allow non-fliers past security into the gate areas of their airport since new security regulations were put in place after the 9/11 terror attacks.
According to Pittsburgh Intl. spokes people, all those wishing to enter the gates will go through the same security scrutiny, there will be no reduction in security measures. Pittsburgh Intl. will begin its “myPITpass” program on Sept. 5, under which non-flying visitors can get a day-pass in the airport ticketing area. If the program is popular, PIT may expand the passes beyond the weekday, 9-5 access.
This is a major, positive move for PIT, which was one of the first airports to sport the modern design which included a collection of stores for guests to shop in. Their “Airmall”.
Even today, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette notes “Airmall is home to several stores or restaurants like Hugo Boss, Armani Jeans, and Bar Symon that are not found elsewhere in Pittsburgh.”
In its early days, the retail area proved to be hugely popular with both local residents and with fliers. The airport even touted “street pricing” for Airmall stores, promising customers there wouldn’t be a big mark-up just for shopping in the terminal.
“When the airport first opened, we used to come Christmas shopping out here because you have specialty shops,” local resident Tony Purcell tells Pittsburgh TV station KDKA while discussing the impending change in access there.
But post-9/11 security changes that restricted terminal access to ticketed fliers abruptly curtailed access to the airport shops. PIT hopes to change that with its myPITpass program and rekindle the cities love of the Airmall specialty shops.
If you are looking to squeeze in one last burst of summer fun – we’ve only got about 27 days left of the season – Anastasia State Park in Florida might be an calm, easy last minute vacation spot. Rated as one of America’s “prettiest beach campsites” by CNN Travel, the park offers many activities for all ages and is located just minutes from downtown St. Augustine which has even more to offer vacationers.
Jody Victor‘s Crew found that Anastasia State Park has 1,6000 acres of vibrant ecosystems which house all kinds of wildlife. There are approximately four miles of beach to explore and visitors can experience a panorama view of sea, sand and a 19th century lighthouse from the dunes—this spot is highly recommend for romantic sunset viewing.
There is also an estuarine tidal marsh, home to much of the parks plant and animal life. For the adventurous there is a self-guided nature hike that leads visitors through the maritime hammock and eventually on to ancient sand dunes. Historians will appreciate a visit to the Coquina Quarry, an archaeological site where coquina rock was mined to construct the nearby Castillo de San Marcos National Monument—this site is in the National Register of Historic Places.
Beyond beach-bumming and swimming, visitors can also bird watch and beachcomb. The park also has bicycles, paddle-boards, kayaks, canoes and sail boats for rent. The campground offers modern amenities and start at 28 dollars a night.
A recommendation by the International Air Transport Association might be the death knell for the worldwide symbol of business travel: the roller bag.
The International Air Transport Association has put out a recommendation that cabin bags be 21.5 x 13.5 x 7.5 inches to create more space for passengers to store luggage. This would mean passengers on American or Delta Air Lines would need bags roughly 20% smaller. Southwest passengers would lose about 40% in bag space.
At a time when airlines are making record profits, due to cheap gas and more efficient use of planes, it is no surprise that this proposal – which would essentially force passengers to pay to check their current luggage or buy new luggage – is drawing a lot of criticism.
Although no North American airlines have yet adopted the policy, many overseas airlines have and this precedent makes it easier for the other airlines to follow suit. However, on the whole, North American airlines make significantly higher profits per passenger than overseas companies—some of whom make as little as one dollar per passenger.
New York Senator Chuck Schumer has become a voice for the average traveler by holding a press conference this past Sunday urging airlines not to adopt this new policy as it will add additional cost to middle-class families trying to take vacations and cause many business travelers to have to purchase new luggage. He too noted that airlines are making record profits while already charging for many little extras like checking baggage, leg room, head phones, pillows and snacks.