Main News August 3 2012


New lounge at Tom Bradley

Star Alliance member carrier Air New Zealand has been selected to design and manage the Alliance’s new lounge at Los Angeles International. The facility is the result of a US$1.7bn investment that has seen the redevelopment of the Tom Bradley International Terminal, which was commissioned by Los Angeles Worldwide Airports.
The Los Angeles Lounge becomes the first Star Alliance branded lounge to feature a new design concept aimed at satisfying the needs of today’s traveler. Designed by the Gensler company of architects, this facility owes much to a contemporary interpretation of modernist Los Angeles architecture dating from the 1950s and the 1960s. To that end, it incorporates predefined spaces to suit a wide range of passenger requirements.



PreCheck is still gathering pace

In late July, United Airlines announced the launch of the Transportation Security Administration’s PreCheck program at Houston’s Bush Intercontinental airport, Terminal C South, as well as at Los Angeles International, Terminal 7. Regular readers will know that the TSA PreCheck is a risk-based, pre-screening initiative that allows customers to volunteer information about themselves before flying, which in turn makes them eligible for a more rapid security screening process. Eligible United customers traveling through the above airports will be allowed to retain their shoes, light outer clothing and belts whilst keeping their laptops and compliant liquids and gels in their carry-on baggage.



Southwest labor question hangs in the balance

Bucking the recession, Southwest has a legacy of attempting to retain its staff whilst rewarding them wherever possible. However, things may be turning slightly sour, with the announcement that the archetypal budget carrier is considering outsourcing up to 20% of its handling side to non-union labor.

The airline’s ramp workers were seen recently at Midway International handing out flyers and notices in an attempt to draw attention to the proposed changes within the airline’s make-up. Negotiations about these proposed changes have actually been ongoing for 12 months or so but, as yet, no decision has been made. Southwest has a long tradition of highly regarded customer service which, its staff argue, has been down to the carrier avoiding non-union workers. The thought of taking on temporary staff, potentially employees that may not stay for any length of time, has gone against the philosophy of many workers at the airline who are involved on the ramp.

At the time of posting, the matter was still pending.



TSA expands privileged staff facility

The Transportation Security Administration has been making it easier for flight attendants to pass through airport security.

The agency has decided to add cabin crew to its so-called Known Crewmember program, an initiative that has already allowed pilots in uniform from 28 airlines to avoid standard security checkpoints at some 14 airports around the US. The TSA is now looking at the feasibility of rolling this facility out further, with a potential target of 31 airports before the end of 2012.

The announcement has been welcomed by the Association of Flight Attendants, which sees this move as recognizing that flight attendants should be trusted in a similar way to pilots. The Known Crewmember program got underway in April last year: currently around 3,500 pilots pass through the expedited screening each day, according to the Air Line Pilots Association.