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TSA, union reach tentative collective bargaining agreement

August 3, 2012

30,000-Foot View

TSA, union reach tentative collective bargaining agreement
The Transportation Security Administration and the union representing its 45,000 security agents on Thursday reached a tentative collective bargaining agreement. TSA Administrator John Pistole said the agreement ?represents a significant milestone in our relationship with our employees.” The agreement, which changes the way agents are evaluated, among other things, remains subject to ratification by the employees. The Washington Post (8/2)

Security Update

Travelers with medical conditions should carry doctor’s note
Broken bones, hyperthyroidism and diabetes are just some of the medical conditions that can make it more difficult for a traveler to pass through a security checkpoint. Surgical implants and devices can also set off X-ray machines. Traveling with a medical note, a completed TSA Disability Notification Card, or medical bracelet make make the process easier. U.S. News & World Report (8/2)

“Suspicious item” prompts officials to close Chicago terminal
A suspicious item prompted Transportation Security Administration officials to close part of a terminal at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on Thursday afternoon. The area was closed for about two hours and reopened after security officers determined the item did not pose a threat. Chicago Sun-Times (8/2)

Trends & Technology

Baltimore airport offers free Wi-Fi
Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport is now offering free Wi-Fi. However, users will have to watch an ad every 45 minutes for the free version of Wi-Fi. The airport also offers ad-free Wi-Fi for an hourly or daily fee. The Washington Post/Dr. Gridlock blog (8/1)

Heathrow may add more electric-powered transport pods
Ultra PRT, which operates the pod transport system at Heathrow Airport in the U.K., has conducted a feasibility study that would expand the system from north-side passenger- and staff-car parking lots to Terminals 1, 2 and 3; proposals are also in the works to link the system with car-rental areas. The electric-run pods have been used for the past year to give people a lift between the midstay business car parking lot and Terminal 5. (7/30)

Airline News Spotlight

American Airlines will launch luggage-delivery service
Starting Monday, passengers on American Airlines flights will be able to have their luggage delivered to their home, hotel or office under the carrier’s new ancillary service. The fee starts at $29.95 for a single bag, with an extra $1 charge per mile for locations 41 to 100 miles from the airport. “We think this service will be especially valuable to families traveling with children as well as our business travelers who need to go straight to a meeting or into the office,” said David Vance, managing director for customer operations planning at American Airlines. Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model) (8/2)

United Continental ends flight plan with Aer Lingus
United Continental will be ending a two-year trial with Aer Lingus for flights between Madrid and Dulles International Airport. A United spokeswoman said Aer Lingus was notified that United would end the trial in October. The Wall Street Journal/Dow Jones Newswires (7/31)

US Airways pilots are concerned about merger
US Airways and the US Airline Pilots Association, which represents the carrier’s 4,300 pilots, were scheduled to meet this week to discuss contracts. The pilots are concerned about the possibility of a merger. “They say that our flying would be protected until we get a common certificate, but that could be a year [after a merger],” said union spokesman James Ray. (8/1)

Policy & Regulatory

Outlook for U.S. airline industry is “cautious,” analysts say
Dahlman Rose analysts downgraded the outlook for U.S. airlines to “cautious” from “optimistic.” The analysts predict airlines will not be able to maintain load factors above 85% as business and leisure passengers cut back on travel. Reuters (8/1)

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