Joe's Travel Newsstand
Airline Terminals of the Rich and Famous
May 4, 2017 -- Fabulous airline spaces for upmarket travelers have been with us for more than a decade. In fact, Lufthansa's amazing First Class Terminal at its Frankfurt hub was the subject of one of my first Seat 2B columns in the short-lived Portfolio magazine. Singapore's fantastic Changi Airport has a private terminal, too. London/City, the airport near Canary Wharf, also has some private-access facilities. But none of them are quite like the new private terminal about to open at LAX. The Los Angeles Times got a look at the private hideaway for the city's rich, famous and paparazzi-paranoid flyers. It costs a stiff $7,500 a year to join--and upwards of $3,000 a visit. (And you were complaining about the cost of Priority Pass!) The Wall Street Journal says the terminal already has sold about 1,200 memberships. It's due to officially open on May 15. No word yet whether there'll be a red carpet and pre- and after-parties la so many Hollywood premieres. Meanwhile, if you haven't had enough luxe travel for one day, Delta wants you to know that it'll whisk you to or from its New York/JFK hub via helicopter. It'll only take about 10 minutes each way to Manhattan--assuming the weather cooperates, of course. And the cost? A trifling $1,250 each way.

Of Course Delta Was Lying ...
Delta Air Lines' embarrassing multi-day meltdown last month was compounded by the carrier's bald-faced, repeated and transparent lies. In my personal case, I took what I knew--Delta's crew-scheduling system had failed--to a C-suite executive who I've known for decades. He promptly sent a Delta PR stooge my way with a new pack of outright lies. I knew better, of course, and printed the truth about the Delta collapse in a special Brancatelli File published during the five-day siege. Now that Delta has completed its "exhaustive" post mortem on the collapse, the airline has concluded that--surprise, surprise!--its crew-scheduling system failed. And, of course, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The Wall Street Journal credulously report Delta's remarkable findings as if no one knew the airline was blatantly lying during the storm-related meltdown. By the way, Delta's lying wasn't limited only to the media. It glibly lied to security analysts--albeit ridiculously--about the meltdown. "It wasn't a question that the IT didn't work," during the storm, chief executive Ed Bastian claimed on the first quarter earnings call just a few days after the meltdown. "It actually worked and it worked as they designed. It got overwhelmed by the volume." As I said at the time, that's like claiming every diet you ever tried worked and worked as designed, but got overwhelmed by the volume of food you consumed.

It Came From the Archives: The Cruise News
I remain blissfully ignorant about cruising. My entire cruise experience is one night on a new ship that one of the major lines thought I'd be interested in examining. My stateroom was smaller than the walk-in closet in our home although I do admit the suites did look nice. That said, it's impossible to ignore that many have a strong affinity for cruising. So much so that the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, are mounting an exhibit. The Salem show, which runs May 20 to October 9, covers the great ocean liners, which it calls "intricately constructed pieces of culture." The New York Times recently ran a piece on how to retire on a cruise ship. And there is that Florida couple that has taken 200 Carnival cruises in 15 years. I also can't ignore that several JoeSentMe contributors are avid cruise fans. Only two months ago, for example, John Lampl wrote about cruising from England to South Africa. Michael Matthews, a lifelong hotelier, took his first cruise in 2012 and was bowled over by the service. He's been on a dozen more even if every one hasn't been perfect. And Martin Deutsch has sworn, over and over, that cruising is an antidote for frequent flying.

Tight Connections ...
The airlines are less interested in improving air service than trying to convince Congress to leave them alone while they beat us, cut legroom and generally make our lives on the road miserable. So legacy carriers are searching for new lobbyists to help them make their cases before the nation's lawmakers. Some of whom, you'll recall, literally sleep with the airline lobbyists. ... A member last Sunday sent me a warning about ludicrous new rules being imposed by TSA screeners at Kansas City Airport. (MCI is one of the few airports in the nation where private contractors run ground-level security under TSA rules.) Before I had a chance to run down and publish the facts, blogger Gary Leff got the details. I'm less worried about the bizarre restrictions going nationwide than Gary, but, hey, it's the TSA. If it's annoying and useless, they might adopt it. However, the Kansas City Star reports that the TSA on Tuesday ordered the private contractor to roll back the paper rules. ... British Airways continues to look for ways to flog flyers with its parsimony and recently hit on the idea of charging for everything, including soft drinks and even hot water for tea. But BA has delayed its plans at London/City Airport due to possible legal action. ... In case you hadn't noticed, or perhaps never take trains, Amtrak is falling apart. -- 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.