Joe's Travel Newsstand
Death and Incompetence at Security Checkpoints
February 23, 2017 --No business traveler would disagree with this simple assertion: Airport security checkpoints are the weirdest places on the road. This week was no exception. A man died and a private guard was hospitalized after the man rushed a security checkpoint at the inter-island terminal of Honolulu International Airport. The unarmed assailant was later identified as a petty criminal with repeat offenses on methamphetamine charges. He also once eluded capture for months after cutting off an electronic monitoring bracelet. Meanwhile, nearly a dozen passengers at New York/Kennedy walked through a checkpoint unscanned because TSA agents left the security area unattended. The TSA disputed the report by claiming only three flyers didn't receive secondary screening after passing through the unguarded checkpoint. The other eight were patted down after they arrived in San Francisco. That's something the TSA tries to tell you they can do, but they don't have legal authority to detain you after a flight. Apparently those eight passengers didn't know what this fellow did.

Pilot-Buys-Pizza-for-Stranded-Flyers Story, Canadian Version
You are probably bored of stories about passengers stuck at an airport or on a long-delayed flight who get to eat pizza because their pilot ordered a delivery of pies. It's always heartwarming and all, but, really, after you've read one pilot-buys-pizza-for-stranded-passengers story, you've read them all. Except, maybe, this one from Canada. According to the Toronto Star, an Air Canada flight from Toronto/Pearson to St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, unfortunately gets diverted to New Brunswick. Air Canada employees give passengers a food voucher, but tell them that there'd be no food and no chance for food. But a WestJet pilot hears this and, guess what? He orders pizza for the stranded Air Canada flyers. "Clearly," Air Canada explained later, "we should have done better for our customers." Meanwhile, more than a few of the flyers involved now think they'll be shifting some business to WestJet.

Uber Is Evil--and It's Still Taking Over the World
How evil is Uber? We could write a book--except people already have. Yet a much-circulated and richly detailed blog post by a former Uber engineer this week not only set the Internet on fire, but also frightened Travis Kalanick, Uber's legendarily take-no-prisoners chief executive. He ordered "an urgent investigation" of the sexual harassment claims--and even hired former Attorney General Eric Holder to run it. Will it help? Well, another former Obama Administration star, campaign manager David Plouffe, has just been fined $90,000 for improperly lobbying on behalf of Uber with Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel. (Emanuel is, not coincidentally, Obama's former chief of staff.) Yet none of this seems to matter much since Uber continues to take over the world. In Denver, officials will cut the number of cabs permitted to work Denver International because so many travelers now use ride-hailing services such as Uber. And even in cab-friendly New York, a major fleet lender has failed and taxi revenue is falling.

The Fault Is Not in Their Stars, But Their French Selves
It's so easy to make fun of the French, but, honestly, they do bring it on themselves. The online version of the new Michelin Guide was released last week and it inadvertently awarded a star to a roadside trucker's joint. The place, which specializes in cheap comfort fare, was promptly overrun by French foodies--and they didn't even notice that the restaurant was not the high-priced, haute-cuisine dining room Michelin actually meant to lionize. Meanwhile, a chef on the French Riviera who lost his star claims that his new insect- and worm-centric menu is the cause of Michelin's snub.

Mama Said There'd Be Days Like This
British Airways has run an all-business-class service between New York/Kennedy and London/City Airport since 2009. The small airport near the Docklands has short runways, however, so the London-JFK run makes an intermediate fueling stop in Shannon, Ireland. One flight earlier this month got stuck overnight in Shannon, however, because BA engineers loaded the wrong maps and the crew couldn't fly on to New York. ... A computer glitch yesterday (February 22) delayed dozens of flights and hordes of passengers at American Airlines' Philadelphia hub. ... Talk about fake news: A British blogger has been jailed for visiting a nonexistent country, the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, which is generally regarded as part of Azerbaijan.

Tight Connections ...
Tijuana Airport, which now has a pedestrian bridge to San Diego, was the subject of a glossy profile last weekend at Politico. The transborder project, Politico's Ethan Epstein writes, "is a striking physical manifestation of the increasing interconnectedness of the two cities." ... The south shore of Honolulu and the island of Oahu always had three primary centers of economic gravity: Waikiki, the downtown core and Pearl Harbor. But the gritty, light-industrial neighborhood of Kakaako is experiencing an influx of luxury high-rise buildings. As The Wall Street Journal reports, Kakaako is now home to Honolulu's highest-priced residential condos. The Journal also features a video tour. ... Gary Leff's View from the Wing blog offers a lovely piece on a British doctor who has assisted on medical emergencies on three recent American Airlines flights. -- Joe Brancatelli

This column is Copyright 2017 by Joe Brancatelli. is Copyright 2017 by Joe Brancatelli. All rights reserved. All of the opinions and material in this column are the sole property and responsibility of Joe Brancatelli. This material may not be reproduced in any form without his express written permission.