Don’t do this at the airport. We recently reported on a lawsuit filed by the ACLU that seeks to put an end to TSA’s controversial SPOT program — Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques, in which TSA agents are trained to look for travelers exhibiting “suspicious” behaviors. Now a website called The Intercept has obtained a list of the specific behaviors that TSA agents are taught to watch for, like excessive yawning or throat-clearing, “widely open staring eyes,” or a face that appears “pale from recent shaving of beard.” Check out the list to see if you might be mistaken for a terrorist. Have you ever been singled out as “suspicious” by TSA personnel? Why?
Big Hilton HHonors bonus. The Hilton HHonors Surpass/Amex card is offering a fat 80,000 HHonors Bonus Points if you spend $3,000 within the first three months of membership. If you are a Hilton regular, this card is a good one with automatic HHonors Gold status, plus you earn 12 points per dollar spent at Hilton brands. Annual fee: $75. Details here
New lounges at Sea-Tac. Airport Lounge Development, which operates pay-per-use passenger retreats at several facilities, has opened a pair of them at Seattle-Tacoma International. An individual day pass to the facilities costs $35 (vs $50 at most major airline clubs), and the company also seeks out partnerships with international carriers who might want to offer the amenity to premium passengers. Known as ‘The Club,’ the Seattle locations are in Concourse A near Gate 11, and in the South Satellite near Gate 59. You’ll find similar clubs at seven other airports in the US (such as ATL, SJC), all with free snacks and beverages, Wi-Fi, workstations and showers.
CLEAR’s got game. After testing the concept last fall, airport trusted traveler company CLEAR will broaden its scope, setting up shop May 1 at the San Francisco Giants’ AT&T Park. Members will use biometric ID verification to gain expedited entry to the ballpark via a Fast Access lane located at the Willie Mays gate. (They will still be subject to bag checks, however.) CLEAR has identified major sports venues as a natural market for its product. (More on SFgate.) This spring, CLEAR says it will be adding service at Baltimore Washington and Miami International Airports. What do you think about CLEAR?
New entrance at ATL. Drivers heading for Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson’s domestic terminal can take advantage of a newly opened northbound entrance from Riverdale Road, made evident by a new 35-foot-tall sign. The new entrance means the previous airport access point from Riverdale Road, at the south end of Terminal Parkway, has been permanently closed. The change is made possible by the opening of the Riverdale Road-Airport Boulevard intersection. Airport officials said the change should mean safer trips for travelers by “eliminating short weaves and merges.” What’s more, “The improved roadways will also reduce congestion caused by traffic leaving the airport from the Rental Car Center and simplify airport access from Riverdale Road,” officials said.
Orange County OKs ride-sharing. Officials of southern California’s Orange County have approved passenger pick-ups by ride-sharing companies Uber and Wingz at John Wayne Airport. Both were due to start last week, under terms of a new agreement with the county that calls for the ride services to pay a fee of $2.25 per airport pick-up. Ride-sharing services were already allowed to drop off passengers at the airport, and Uber’s premium services like UberBLACK and UberSUV had been permitted to make pick-ups under a separate agreement.
Did you miss this? Coyotes (and other rare sights) on the runway
Room service/minibar costs rated. You’ve finished a long day of meetings and just want to crash in your hotel room with a club sandwich. But how much are you willing to pay for that sandwich? How about $24.15? That’s the typical cost of a club sandwich delivered by room service at New York City hotels — the most expensive in the country, according to a new TripAdvisor survey. How about just a snack, like peanuts from the minibar? That’ll cost $12.78 in Boston. A nice minibar vodka cocktail? New York wins again, at $16.76. In Denver, by contrast, the club sandwich is $11.65 and the vodka $7.17. And everything costs a lot less at hotels in foreign destinations, the survey found. Readers: What’s the most you ever paid for a hotel room service order or a minibar selection?
Wyndham revamps Rewards. Wyndham Hotel Group, which has 7,650 properties worldwide across a number of brands, plans to launch a “re-imagined” version of its Wyndham Rewards loyalty program on May 11. The company said the “core features” of the new Wyndham rewards include earnings of 10 points per dollar spent or a minimum of 1,000 points per stay, whichever is more; “Go Free” awards that let members claim a free night for 15,000 points with no blackout dates; and “Go Fast” awards, which allow members to book a night for 3,000 points plus cash. For details, go to www.wyndhamrewards.com.
In Case You Missed It…
- How to avoid fees when you want an earlier flight.
- San Francisco looks to the sea to accommodate conventioneers.
- Reader ravages new Marriott, Hilton cancellation policies.
- Chris goes to SFO to see the new British Airways A380 flight.
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