Take-out at your airport gate? Start-ups look to deliver

Ever wish you could order delivery at the gate? Or, perhaps, even from your seat during an airline layover? You may soon have that option thanks to a new set of start-ups seeking to cater to that demand. San Diego International has become the second airport in the country to benefit from an app-powered service that lets passengers and employees in the terminals order food, drink or merchandise for sale anywhere in the airport and have it delivered to them wherever they are in the airport.Billing itself as “Your in-airport personal shopper,” At Your Gate did a soft launch of its service at the end of January with the company’s three founders joining two employees in making the initial in-airport deliveries to flight attendants, airline employees working gates and ticket counters, ramp break rooms and to a few passengers who caught wind of the program.MORE AIRPORT NEWS: Las Vegas airport to get a pop-up marriage license bureauUSA TODAY TRAVEL: The best new airport amenities of 2017 (story continues below) “Airport employees figured out the benefits of the app right away,” said PJ Mastracchio, At Your Gate founder and CEO, who made at least one early delivery himself by skateboard. “On Super Bowl Sunday we got an order to deliver to two donut bars to a United Airlines baggage worker timed to his break and another request for a dozen orders of chips, salsa and other menu items for a Super Bowl party in the Virgin America break room.”Mastracchio said many flight crews with short turn-around times have already ordered food delivered to them at the gate. More broadly, at least one airline has set up an account with At Your Gate so they can order food for passengers in the first-class cabin in case the ground catering service doesn’t have time to restock a departing flight.“We’re not sure yet how that would work,” said Mastracchio. “They may just pass the app around and let Continue Reading

How to check the length of security lines before you even get to the airport

It’s now possible to know exactly how long you’re going to spend in airport security lines — before you even get to the airport. A new update from travel app TripIt monitors the wait at airport security in real-time, allowing travelers to know exactly how long (down to the minute) it will take them to get to their gate. Although the TSA already publishes estimated wait times at security lines, the numbers aren’t updated regularly and therefore aren’t always reliable. But TripIt’s new system — developed in partnership with a company called iinside — relies on sensors installed at airport security checkpoints. These sensors send information to TripIt, which is then able to predict a more accurate wait time. Related: How to Know If Your Flight Will Be Delayed Before It's Even Announced "Wasted time at the airport really adds up — especially for frequent travelers," Jen Moyse, director of product for TripIt from Concur, said in a statement. "This latest addition to TripIt Pro brings us one step closer to our goal of getting you out the door and to your gate as fast as possible.” Travelers can check current security wait times at different checkpoints throughout the terminal, ensuring that they’re in the fastest-moving lane. The app will also provide information on what time to leave for the airport and how long it will take to walk from security to airport gate. Related: Here's Everything You Can Get for Free While Stuck at the Airport The feature is currently available for Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, Denver International Airport, Orlando International Airport, and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. It will continue rolling out to other major airports. TripIt has a free version of its app but travelers hoping to get this update will have to pay a membership fee of $49 per year. Continue Reading

Airline workers at Logan Airport allegedly threatened passengers with arrest for taking video

Visit The Boston Globe Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Comment on this Scroll to top of page Jeremy C. Fox Globe Correspondent  January 10, 2018 Angry Canadian tourists said they endured lengthy delays at Logan Airport a day after Thursday’s Nor’easter and surly airline employees who threatened to have passengers arrested for recording cellphone video at the airport gate.Rick and Ellen Howard; their daughter, Rebecca; son, Josh; and Josh’s girlfriend, Kira Wegler; were headed home to Toronto on Friday after a trip to Orlando, Fla., when a delayed flight caused them to miss a connection in Boston, the elder Howards said in a phone interview Wednesday.The travelers were ticketed for a Porter Airlines flight that was scheduled to leave at 5:30 p.m. Friday but was also delayed, they said. They finally began boarding around 8 p.m., the Howards said, and then spent more than 90 minutes on the tarmac, hearing regular updates on the crew’s struggle to close the luggage compartment door. Advertisement Eventually, they said, it was announced that the crew had been working nearly 14 hours and would be required to cancel the flight if they couldn’t take off soon. “We’re going to turn into pumpkins,” the crew member making the announcement said, according to the Howards. Get Fast Forward in your inbox: Forget yesterday's news. Get what you need today in this early-morning email. Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here Finally, between 9:30 p.m. and 10 p.m., “they sent us off the plane. We were at the Porter desk, and basically they had us line up like sheep,” Rick Howard, 56, said.At the gate, he added, “they didn’t make any general announcement to the group. They literally only talked to people one by one. . . . There was extremely poor communication, and people were very frustrated in line.”“Nobody seemed to be helpful or Continue Reading

Pittsburgh airport will become the first since 9/11 to let people without tickets past security checks

Those old romantic moments of seeing a loved one off at the airport gate are back — in Pittsburgh. The city’s airport this Tuesday will become the country’s first since 9/11 to allow people without tickets past security checkpoints to shop or bid farewell to loved ones. But the Association of Professional Flight Attendants — representing American Airlines employees — thinks it’ll be a bad presence that’ll only risk public safety and cause congestion. “Beyond security concerns, having shoppers clog already frustratingly long TSA security lines will lead to flight delays and more passengers missing flights, especially during the busy holiday season,” Bob Ross, the union’s president, said in a news release. “Personally, I’m stunned by the timing of this decision,” he added, given the new policy starts six days before the 16th anniversary of 9/11. But not just anyone can breeze through security to peruse the terminal’s stores, which include Hugo Boss and Armani. Those hoping to go through security sans a boarding pass first have to get a “myPITpass,” which requires a photo ID and clearance against active no-fly lists. The passes will be given Monday through Friday, between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. “But if security lines were to become long, people seeking a ‘myPITpass’ will have to wait until the line dies down,” Pittsburgh International spokesman Bob Kerlik told NBC News. And just because some people aren’t going on flights doesn’t mean they can bring contraband with them. “Participants should be prepared to receive the same level of security screening as travelers and should ensure they’re not carrying any prohibited items such as weapons before coming through the security checkpoint,” Karen Keys-Turner, the Transportation Security Agency’s Continue Reading

USF apologizes after two hoops players left behind at airport after falling asleep at gate

You can't make this stuff up. The University of South Florida's interim hoops coach apologized Saturday morning after accidentally leaving two of his players behind at the airport in Houston. "(Friday), as our team traveled back from Tulsa, two of our players were separated from the rest of our team when we boarded a connecting flight in Houston," interim coach Murry Bartow said in a statement released by USF. Guards Troy Holston and Geno Thorpe fell asleep at the airport, according to The Tampa Bay Times, after the Bulls had suffered an 82-68 loss to Tulsa on Thursday night in Oklahoma. Shockingly, the rest of the team boarded the connecting flight to Tampa and nobody seemed to notice that two players did not make it on the plane. "This unfortunate circumstance, for which I apologize, was recognized by our staff as the plane was leaving the gate and not in time to get the players on the commercial flight," Bartow continued. "We immediately made arrangements to get the players on the very next flight to Tampa." The mea culpa didn't sit well with Holston's mom who lashed out at the program in a phone interview with the Tampa Bay newspaper. "It's very disappointing, and it's a reflection of how terrible a program the men's basketball program is," Monique Holston-Greene told the Times. She said she spoke with Bartow on Friday. Holston-Greene said her son and his teammate woke up with the plane still at the gate, but the boarding for the connecting flight had already ended. She also put the USF program on blast via her Twitter feed. "When U Think it cant get any worse THEY LEAVE UR SON+1 BEHIND SLEEPING AT THE AIRPORT GATE! Is there any other way 2 say ur not important? "Twitter asks what's happening ... I'll tell you EXACTLY what's happening!!! Incompetent ON ALL LEVELS, where is the leadership?" The two left-behind players made it back to Tampa after catching a flight three hours Continue Reading

Fire grounds plane at Kennedy Airport

A fire grounded a Buenos Aires-bound flight at Kennedy Airport Thursday night, Port Authority officials said Monday. The pilot of Aerolineas Argentinas Flight 1301 heard a bang reported a small engine fire as the aircraft was preparing to take off on a runway at about 10 p.m., Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman said. Port Authority crews arrived, they found no evidence of fire, and the plane returned to the airport gate under its own power, Coleman said. None of the plane’s passengers were injured, Coleman said. Continue Reading

Homeland Security reviews airports after Sen. Chuck Schumer urges increased staff screening

WASHINGTON - The Department of Homeland Security will review security at airports around the country after Sen. Chuck Schumer leaned on the agency to tighten up screening of staff. The pressure came after the December arrest of five men who used Delta employees to smuggle guns from Atlanta to New York on commercial flights. Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson reviewed security at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson airport on Thursday. The department also asked the Transportation Security Administration to investigate "the issues related to the security of the sterile areas at airports nationwide." Schumer praised Johnson for "not taking lightly the recently exposed, gaping hole in our airport security." The Homeland Security Department also said TSA will implement unspecified new airport screening requirements for employees and increase security patrols. Brooklyn D.A. Ken Thompson last month charged a group of men who used Delta employees able to bypass metal detectors to sneak guns into airport gate areas. An accomplice there put the guns in a carry-on bag and flew them to New York for illegal sale in Brooklyn. At a press conference Wednesday, Thompson and Schumer urged TSA to press airports to require all airport employees to pass through metal detectors. Up to now, TSA has instead relied to criminal background checks of those employees. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Taliban claims bomb blast outside Afghanistan airport is revenge attack for Quran burnings

KABUL, Afghanistan — A suicide car bomber rammed his vehicle into the gates of a NATO base and airport in eastern Afghanistan on Monday, triggering a blast that killed nine Afghans, officials said. The Taliban claimed the attack was revenge for U.S. troops burning copies of the Quran. The bombing in the city of Jalalabad follows six days of deadly protests in the country over the disposal of Qurans and other Islamic texts in a burn pit last week at a U.S. military base north of Kabul. American officials have called the disposal of the books a mistake and have issued a series of apologies. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has urged calm, calling on his countrymen not to allow insurgents to capitalize on their indignation to spark violence. About 40 people have been killed in protests and related attacks since the incident became known this past Tuesday, including four U.S. soldiers. NATO, France, Britain and the U.S. have pulled their advisers from Afghan ministries out of concern that the anti-foreigner anger might erupt again. On Monday, the United Nations also scaled back its operations, moving its international staff from an office in the northern city of Kunduz that was attacked during protests Saturday, the organization said in a statement. The evacuation was ordered “to put in place additional arrangements and measures to make sure the office can continue to operate in safety,” the U.N. said, adding that the move is temporary and that staff will be relocated within Afghanistan. Despite the pullback, the commander of NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan said that the partnership with the Afghan government was as strong as ever. “We are steadfast in our desire to support our Afghan partners, and will use the extensive range of our resources to eradicate this heartless insurgency,” Gen. John Allen said in a statement condemning the Jalalabad bombing. In Monday’s attack, the bomber drove up to the gates of Continue Reading

Tucson airport to start new flights to New York and Mexico

Pushing back against declines in airline service that have been seen at all mid-sized and smaller airports in the U.S. in recent years, Tucson International Airport is launching new flights. On Friday, Oct. 7, new nonstop service between Tucson and New York’s Kennedy International airport will begin, four days after the airport launches new flights to Hermosillo, Mexico, on Oct. 3.The Hermosillo service starts Monday on the Mexican regional airline Aeromar. It and the New York resumption on American Airlines are the latest small scores in a game being played by Tucson and other non-hub airports as they employ aggressive marketing to bolster positions against trends in a domestic airline industry where major carriers have shifted more capacity to larger hub airports like Phoenix — where revenue per passenger is higher.Flight reductions at Tucson have been occurring for several years, as they have at other mid-sized airports. Last year, Southwest Airlines reduced its daily flights between Tucson and Las Vegas to three from four, while Alaska Airlines downgraded a direct flight to Portland, Oregon, from year-round to seasonal.David Hatfield, the director of business development and marketing at Tucson International, said that one good argument for persuading Aeromar to begin service in Tucson is that the Hermosillo market, with its relative proximity to the border, offers a mix of both tourism and business ties. “You look at a lot of the other flights that go into Mexico; it’s usually one or the other. We’re one that has both,” Hatfield said.MORE AIRLINE NEWS: Allegiant adding flights to Cleveland | Sky Harbor delays likely due to runway closure | My (free) 24-hour cross country trip on Southwest AirlinesAirlines including Southwest, American, United, Delta and Alaska have all reduced passenger capacity in Tucson between 2012 to 2015, according to Tucson Airport Authority’s annual financial Continue Reading

TSA to take swab at new bomb checks on passengers at airports

WASHINGTON - The failed Christmas Day airline bombing has prompted new random checks for traces of explosives on passengers' hands and carry-on luggage, the Department of Homeland Security said Wednesday.The Transportation Security Administration began swabbing passengers' hands unannounced at some airport checkpoints soon after the botched terror attack on Detroit-bound Northwest Flight 253 from Amsterdam, DHS said."Since the 1-2/25 attempted terrorist attack, TSA has increased the random use of explosive trace detection technology on passengers' hands and carry-on bags along with other enhanced measures to stay ahead of evolving threats," said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.The program was tested at five airports amid fears that metal detectors won't catch the kind of chemicals alleged terror bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab stitched into his underwear."TSA is expanding the random use of this effective technology throughout airports as part of our layered security approach to keep the traveling public safe," Napolitano added.Under the new security procedure, bomb-detection machines are wheeled around to airport gates and checkpoint lines, where passengers are randomly chosen, DHS said. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading