The TSA’s War On Metamucil


Perhaps I’ll regret making this post, but oh well.

I’m a fan of Metamucil, and I also live out of a carry-on. Oddly those two things don’t seem to go together very well. The only “supplements” I take with any regularity are Metamucil, Emergen-C, and echinacea. Emergen-C comes in tiny “pouches,” while echinacea comes in pill form.

Meanwhile Metamucil typically comes in an industrial sized cylinder, given that it’s fairly heavy duty stuff. If you take it with any regularity (no pun intended), you’re basically a human chalkboard.

Anyway, TSA Pre-Check is awesome, and in a way has revolutionized the domestic travel experience. It’s so great to be able to leave your liquids and laptops in your bag, and to be able to keep on your shoes.

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Indian Pilot License Being Issued After Just 35 Minutes In The Air?


The aviation industry in India is especially interesting, both because it does seem to have some serious issues, but at the same time the media there is more sensationalist when it comes to airlines than the Daily Mail, which makes it tough to figure out what’s really going on sometimes.

That being said, Bloomberg published an interesting article yesterday about pilot license fraud in India, entitled “You Can Get a Pilot License in India After Just 35 Minutes in Air.”

“Anupam Verma has a certificate that shows he has flown an aircraft for 360 hours. He says he got it after sitting in the co-pilot’s seat for just 35 minutes.”

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Video Of Man Getting Tased At LAX After Security Breach


There must have been a full moon on Wednesday, because the crazies were out in full force at US airports. First there was the guy in Charlotte who decided to undress after finding out his flight to Jamaica was oversold (and based on his farmer’s tan I can certainly understand why he wanted to go to Jamaica so badly).

But perhaps the more “graphic” incident actually happened at Los Angeles International Airport Terminal 6, where a man was tased after a security breach.

Via NBC Los Angeles:

“Airport police were notified by Transportation Security Administration officers that a man was not cooperating with security officials in the screening area at Terminal 6.”

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TSA Pre-Check Will Finally Become More Selective!


Last August I wrote about how the TSA was planning on tightening up Pre-Check, and limiting it to those who have enrolled in a Trusted Traveler Program (TSA Pre-Check, Global Entry, NEXUS, etc.). As I explained at the time, roughly 45% of domestic passengers were getting Pre-Check, despite only a small minority of them having actually signed up for a Trusted Traveler Program.

From a safety perspective I don’t have an issue with that, since I tend to think taking off your shoes and jacket, and taking out your laptop and liquids, is more security theater than anything else.

That being said, from a passenger experience perspective it really pisses me off, since most of the passengers that were getting Pre-Check didn’t get how it worked, so slowed down the line substantially.

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Airlines Changing Cockpit Procedure After Germanwings Crash


Yesterday I shared my thoughts about the Germanwings tragedy, which is just so tough to come to terms with. It’s one thing to lose family or friends in a “true” accident, but given what we know now, I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like for the friends and family of the victims onboard, knowing it was a deliberate act.

The one minor silver lining when it comes to air disasters is that corrective action is almost always quickly taken, so that the same mistake hopefully doesn’t happen again.

One of the things I talked about yesterday was how on US airlines there are always two people in the cockpit:

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The W Barcelona General Manager Chimes In — You Won’t Believe This!


For those of you not up to date on the saga, see these posts:

— My Mom Got Robbed In Our Hotel!
— Pick Pocketing Or Premeditated Crime? You Tell Me!

Long story short my mom was robbed at the W Barcelona, and it got a lot more creepy than that — the guy made fraudulent charges to our room, and based on how much information he knew this wasn’t just a random pick pocketing.

Was the theft itself the hotel’s fault? Nope. But in my opinion the hotel has a duty to take the situation seriously and to investigate when it happens on their premises, involves several security breaches, involves someone that claims to work for their brand (even if that was a lie), and they’re part of a major global hotel brand, presumably with global safety standards/procedures.

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Pick Pocketing Or Premeditated Crime? You Tell Me!


This post is a continuation of my earlier post, about how my mom was robbed at the W Barcelona. So if you haven’t yet read that post, I’d suggest reading it first.

When we woke up this morning we thoroughly searched every inch of the room to be sure the purse wasn’t anywhere to be seen. I had my mom talk me through the entire evening, and I even went a bit “Inspector Gadget” on her. I searched the guest bathroom carefully to see if there were any hints as to the guy’s motives for coming to the room.

Below is a summary of what followed. And the more I write this out, the more I realize this almost certainly wasn’t a random pick pocketing, but rather something that was at a minimum premeditated, and at worst, much more than that…

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Oslo Airport To Get US Pre-Clearance Facility


It looks like Oslo Airport may become the first in mainland Europe to get a US Pre-Clearance facility.

For those of you not familiar with Pre-Clearance facilities, it’s whereby you clear US customs & immigration prior to boarding your US-bound flight, meaning you land in the US as a domestic passenger. Presently the extent of Europe’s Pre-Clearance facilities is limited to Dublin and Shannon, so this would be a very interesting addition.

Beyond that, Pre-Clearance facilities are common in Canada and the Caribbean, and there’s also a facility in Abu Dhabi, which I was a vocal critic of at first, though it has apparently improved substantially over time.

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Marilyn Hartman Now Sneaking Into Hotels Instead Of Airports…


Marilyn Hartman is quickly becoming a celebrity at airports beyond the west coast, it seems.

I first wrote about Marilyn Hartman last March, when she was arrested at SFO after trying to sneak through security several times without a ticket.

Then in August she successfully managed to sneak on a plane from San Jose to Los Angeles. Then she got arrested, escaped, and did the same thing again. And again.

We haven’t heard much about her lately, at least until now. This time she has changed up venues a bit, as she got arrested in Florida at a hotel.

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I Was Emasculated At The Abu Dhabi Airport Security Checkpoint


Okay, so let me start by saying that I’m on #TeamScissors over #TeamClippers when it comes to nail care. Not usually a topic I discuss on the blog, but it’s important for context.

99% of countries don’t mind you taking cuticle scissors through a security checkpoint. The only countries I’ve been to that take issue with it are Australia and the UAE. The latter is bizarre, because they otherwise have some of the most lax security I’ve ever seen. Anyway, while passing through the UAE a few weeks back enroute to the Etihad A380 inaugural flight, my cuticle scissors were confiscated.

When they are confiscated or I lose them, I usually always buy the same scissors, which are available at just about every CVS in the world. Except I was in Hawaii until late last week staying at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki, and was feeling especially lazy. Go figure the hotel gift shop sold only one variety of cuticle scissors:

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Reciprocal Agreement Between US & German Trusted Traveler Programs

I may not have the passport on the right, but I still can't be late....

While the travel experience has become more and more unpleasant for the average traveler over the years, I can’t even begin to say how much more pleasant my security and immigration experience has become.

Obviously there’s TSA Pre-Check and Global Entry, but beyond that I have a German passport, so in the UK and many places in the EU I can just use the automated border control machines. I just slide in my passport and look at the camera, and I’m through in no time.

Well, it looks like the immigration experience is about to get better for those in the US and Germany, thanks to the announcement of a new reciprocal agreement between the Trusted Traveler programs of both countries.

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