Travel by barrel?

Annie Edison Taylor

Source: Francis J. Petrie Collection

Planes, trains, buses, cars, bicycles and skateboards are common, modern modes of travel. But on October 24 in 1901, Annie Edson Taylor – on her 63rd birthday – became the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel.

She survived, and since then others have given it a try – in barrels, a kayak and even on a jet ski. And while some of those people survived, today anyone who attempts to go over the falls will get arrested and fined.

Add Comment »

New Hobbit-themed safety video from Air New Zealand

They’ve done it before with Golden Girl Betty White, the ribald puppet Rico, Richard Simmons and a crew of almost naked crewmembers:

 

Now, to celebrate the third and final film in The Hobbit Trilogy (The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies), Air New Zealand has put together another fun, star-studded in-flight Hobbit-themed safety video.

This one stars Elijah Wood, Sir Peter Jackson and a host of other odd characters and is highly entertaining – even if (like me) you haven’t seen a Hobbit movie nor read any of the Hobbit-inhabited books.

Enjoy!

 

Add Comment »

SFO inks deal with Uber & Lyft

Uber app

Airports around the country are grappling with how – and if – they can regulate and collect revenue from  taxi-alternative companies such as Lyft, Sidecar and UberX, which maintain that they do not fall under the same rules that apply to traditional taxis that operate at airports.

Some airports have taken a hands-off approach to the problem, but San Francisco International Airport has been adamant that these ‘transportation network companies’ are operating illegally at the airport.

But things have changed.

Earlier this month SFO announced that it had come to an agreement withe Sidecar to allows that company to operate legally at the airport.

Now comes word that the airport has worked out a deal that allows Lyft and UberX to pick up and drop off at SFO as well.

All three companies should be operating – legally – at the airport within the next 30 days and the deals will no doubt serve as a guide to help these companies work out their differences with other airports as well.

Add Comment »

Gifts for Avgeeks

I’m gathering up a list of cool aviation-related products and handicrafts, just in case Santa reads StuckatTheAirport.com, or in case you’re looking for some cool gifts this holiday season.

Two for today:

Jerome Daksiewicz has a kickstarter campaign going to create a boxed set of his runway prints of 30 of the large hubs in the US and a screenprint illustrating all the runways.
 
runways

And Matthew Mahler at Skyebags has a refreshed line of items – a wallet, a tote and a Dopp kit – made from upcycled leather from old Delta Air Lines seats.

7_Skyebags Dopp Kit

Have a great avgeek gift to recommend? Send in your suggestions.

Add Comment »

How to cut costs on airports parking

valet parking iconHow often have you spent hours scouring websites for savings on airfares and hotel rooms only to get dinged with sky-high costs for parking at the airport.

If you know where to look, you can often find deep discounts, free parking and, in some cities, even get paid for parking your car at or near the airport.

Near the airport

Private parking lots with airport shuttle services ring just about every airport but can differ in price, security, convenience and added perks provided.

To get an overview of deals and discounts on lots near your airport, check comparison websites such AirportParkingReservations.com or CheapAirportParking.com.

Discount coupons for airport parking lots also can be found online, in newspapers and travel magazines, on Groupon-type sites and through membership clubs such as AAA, AARP and Costco.

Many lots will offer discounts for reserving, and in some cases, paying for your parking spot ahead of time. But even if you’re only shopping by cost, be sure the lot you choose is well-lit, secure and offers 24-hour on-call shuttle service to and from the airport because you never know when a scheduled afternoon flight arrival will end up delayed until 2 a.m.

Some off-airport parking lots compete by offering extra services, such as complimentary jump starts and tire change or inflation. Others, such as The Parking Spot, with lots near more than 20 major airports, offer customers free newspapers, bottled water and valet service.

Many off-airport lots also have frequent parker programs that offer everything from preferential spots and fast check-out to free days after a set number of paid ones.

Beyond traditional off-airport lots, many hotels near airports offer stay-n-park deals which can be both economical and convenient for early morning departures. Other options include driveway-sharing apps, such as JustPark and ParkingPanda, and peer-to-peer car-sharing services such as FlightCar and RelayRides, which let you park your car for free near an airport in exchange for making your car available for rent to another driver while you’re out of town. If your car is rented out, these companies will also give you a cut of the fee.

parking lot

 

At the airport

Revenue from parking fees plays an important part in airport operating budgets.

Airports reported making approximately $3.1 billion, or 41.2 percent of their non-aeronautical revenue, from parking and ground transportation fees, according to the most recent concessions survey conducted by Airports Council International–North America.

So while the price to park closest to the airline terminal is generally higher than at off-airport lots, many airports offer discount coupons, frequent parker programs and other perks in an effort to stay competitive.

Weekly parking rates in the garage at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, for example, are currently $130. But a quick search of the airport’s website brings up a coupon for a full week of parking, including taxes and fees, for just $99.

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airpor
t, which earned $78 million from parking fees in 2013, offers early bag check-in for those parking in its East Economy parking facilities and discounts for prepaid parking reservations.

At Nashville International Airport, where parking fees represented 34 percent of the airport’s fiscal 2013 operating revenues, the frequent parker program offers fast access in an out of a reserved section and free parking days for earned points.

Sometimes what you drive or where you’re going can make a difference.

 

witch on motorcycle - Halloween

Long Beach Airport, for example, offers free parking for electric vehicles and throws in a free car wash for travelers who pay the $24 daily fee for valet parking.

Bicycles park for free at Portland International Airport, while in Milwaukee (home of Harley-Davidson), motorcycles park for free at General Mitchell International Airport.

Parking is always free at some smaller airports such as Chicago Rockford International Airport and Peoria International Airport and a promotion currently underway at Pittsburgh International Airport offers up to seven days of free parking for travelers flying non-stop on JetBlue or Southwest Airlines to Ft. Lauderdale between Nov. 1, 2014 and Jan. 31, 2015.

My story about saving money on airport parking first appeared on CNBC Road Warrior

Add Comment »

Recent Tweets

  • Subscribe to Posts Via Email or RSS

    Subscribe Via Email
    Subscribe Via RSS
  • My USAToday Airport Guides


    • See all airport guides »

  • Posts by Category

  • Browse posts on the site by category:

  • See all categories »

  • Advertisers