Frankfurt Airport has pink parking spaces for women

The 250 “Ladies Parking” spaces have been scattered throughout the garages at Frankfurt Airport since 2013, but suddenly they’re super controversial and in the news.

Chalk it up to the internet (someone incorrectly dubbed them ‘new’ in a blog post and the story took off) and to our collective “Are you serious?” reaction when stereotypes surface.

Here’s some of what I wrote about Frankfurt Airport’s “Ladies Parking” for USA TODAY:

There are 14,000 parking spaces at Frankfurt Airport, but if you want one that’s “bigger, nicer and closer to the terminals,” look for spots reserved for women only.

The specially designed parking sections are scattered throughout the airport’s parking garages and are easy to find: a pink ribbon of paint on the floor marks off the wider-than-average parking spots and the pink-painted walls.

Why are they there?

“In Germany, it is a legal requirement to provide these designated parking spaces for women,” said Frankfurt Airport spokesman Robert Payne.

Why are they painted pink? “For quick and easy recognition by women drivers, who are sometimes traveling with children,” he said. And to let other drivers — i.e. men – know not to park in those spot. “They cannot say they didn’t notice the bright pink area designated for women drivers,” said Payne.

Rules requiring women-only parking sections in many parts of Germany were created more for safety than for convenience back in the 1990s.

Today many consider these set-asides patronizing and truly sexist.

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Rides from the airport?

Blacklane

I usually opt for public transit into the city when I land at an airport, but my flight to Boston was scheduled to arrive late in the evening and a cab or some sort of car service was going to be the only option for getting to the place I’d be staying that night.

I could have taken my chances and tried to book an Uber-type ride once I landed, but I decided to book ahead and take Blacklane up on its offer to try out their service.

The Berlin-based on-line ride booking service uses professional drivers, partners with established chauffeur services, operates in more than 180 cities around the world and offers service to and from more than 300 airports.

Reservations can be made in advance, the fare is fixed and includes taxes, tolls and tip.

As promised – and reconfirmed via email before my trip started and again when my flight landed (with the name and phone number of my driver) – my driver, a veteran of the industry who had been Anthony Quinn’s regular Boston driver back in the day – was waiting for me in a town car in the spot designated for limos outside my terminal at Boston Logan Airport.

I quizzed him on the way into town.

Had he tried offering his services via any of the Uber-like companies?

Yes, he said, but no more.

He didn’t like the high fee those companies took as a booking fee for each ride and he’d had experiences with customers from those companies who disrespected him and his extremely well-maintained car.

Of all the companies now offering book-online car services – and there are now oodles of them – what did he like about working with Blacklane?

They were fair and super-organized, he said, and only worked with professional drivers. And he marveled at the fact that they were running this world-wide business out of one office in Germany and yet, day or night, kept in close contact with each driver and fully accessible to customers.

If my personal budget for airport transportation was a bit larger, I’d definitely use Blacklane’s service on a regular basis. (The fare was about $15 more than I’d have paid for a cab and, given some of the news reports lately, I would not have taken an Uber-like service alone, late at night heading to an unfamiliar destination).

But, I’m putting the Blacklane website into my list of favorites and will definitely add them to the options I consider in the future when a bus or a train isn’t an option for getting into town from the airport.

And I’m happy to pass along the discount code they gave me – 9JMT1SQC – for $10 off one ride.

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What will the new TSA chief change at airports?

TSA PRECHECK - COURTESY TSA

What is the new head of the Transportation Security Administration going to do now that he’s been on the job for four weeks?

Withing 60 days he’s going to make sure all airport screeners are retrained so they can better detect explosives and spot weapons. And he’s going to try to get more passengers to enroll in the agency’s expedited security checkpoint program, called pre-check.

He’d also like to get rid of boarding passes and someday replace them with biometric technology.

Peter Neffenger, the new TSA administrator, went before the House Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday and said it was a “huge concern” that the agency’s officers failed to identify bombs, weapons and other security threats 96 percent of the time during recent undercover testing.

“It greatly disturbs me to know that we had that failure rate at the checkpoint,” he said, and to fix that, the agency will “train out those failures.”

Neffenger also told the panel he wants to increase the use of explosive-detection dogs for passenger screening, expand enrollments in the Pre-check program and phase out “managed inclusion.”

TSA PreCheck Enrollment Center at IND Airport - courtesy TSA

Neffenger said that likes the idea that biometrics – individual characteristics such as fingerprints or facial characteristics for personal identification – might someday mean that “you are your boarding pass.”

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Outlet mall shopping at Vancouver Int’l Airport

Between the art, the restaurants, the shops, the observation area and the spas, there’s plenty to keep you occupied at Vancouver International Airport.

Now there’s one more great reason: the designer outlet mall.

YVR_McArthurGlen_Vancouver_luxury_piazza.sflb.ashx

Located on land owned by the airport and partially-owned by the airport, the open-air McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Vancouver Airport opened earlier this month on Sea Island and is accessible via a free ride on the Canada Line.

Special events celebrating the grand opening continue through August 2nd, with shopping promotions and activities, including live music and several pop-up venues in the Hawkers Mercado.

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A new LaGuardia Airport? It will happen.

LGA Airport

On Monday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the long-awaited plan for the promised makeover of LaGuardia Airport, which U.S. vice-president Joe Biden likened to one found in “some Third World country.”

The make-over of the airport will be massive: it will cost at least $4 billion and include one unified terminal building “designed so passengers intuitively understand the airport’s layout,” an automated tram, business and conference center capabilities, better roadways and public transportation to and from the airport, better taxiways for the airplanes, a cell phone lot, a consolidated rental car center, a boutique hotel and the services, dining and shopping options now offered by first-class airports elsewhere.

A tall order? Sure, you betcha’. But something has to be done.

Here’s a video that details the design that just might make you believe it will happen.

And here’s a link to the full report.

No mention of bringing back the Observation Deck or the Sky Bar.

LGA SKYBAR

LAG SKYBAR

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