Harriet Baskas

Oops, they did it again: new record in firearms found at airport checkpoints

 

As the busy summer travel season kicks into high gear and tips for travelers roll out from here and there, here’s one helpful piece of advice gun owners should heed: make sure you remove your firearms from purses, pockets and satchels before heading to the airport.

It seems impossible in this era of terrorism alerts and heightened attention to travel safety, but people keep taking their firearms with them to the airport.

Last week TSA officers discovered a record 82 firearms in carry-on bags at airports around the country.

Of those record 82 firearms discovered, 66 were loaded and and 18 had a round chambered

That eclipses the record of 81 firearms found during one week in August 2016 and tied in March 2017.

Most travelers found with firearms in their carry-ons say they simply forgot they had those weapons with them. Others may just be using that excuse to evade serious repercussions when caught

In some states, and under certain circumstances, nothing much happens to travelers found with firearms in their carry-ons; they’re simply told to put their guns elsewhere (Their parked cars, maybe? Or to send them home with a friend?)  In some cases, though, travelers bringing firearms to the checkpoint can be arrested and fined up to $11,000.

 

 

An Uber ride with a Brussels Airport worker

The Uber driver taking us from Brussels central train station to our hotel was on duty  Wednesday only because he couldn’t go to his regular job out at the airport.  President Donald Trump was scheduled to land in Air Force one at Brussels Airport on his way to attend a NATO summit meeting and the driver said his airline had canceled flights for the day.

I asked him if he had been working at the airport the day of the terrorist attacks last March.  He had. And had lost a friend who was working the ticket counters that day. It took him six months and a lot of therapy to get back to work, he said, and he knows many passengers are still choosing not to travel to through Brussels.

I didn’t ask him if the Manchester terrorist attack was giving him new nightmares, but as we drove through town, past clusters of police and armored vehicles in the streets in advance of Trump’s visit, he said he couldn’t wait till this visit was over.

 

Robots invade John Wayne Airport

 

A collection of more than 100 toy robots – many with their original boxes – and robot-related catalogs belonging to an Orange County, CA resident are on display at John Wayne Airport (SNA) in the Vi Smith Concourse Gallery, on the upper level across from Gate 18 through 21 in Terminal C.

 

Robots of a different kind – on display this week at the the SITA IT Summit in Brussels – may soon help ease long check-in lines at your airport.

 

 

SITA Lab has created KATE, a smart check-in kiosk that knows when it may be needed and can move on its own to congested areas in airports.

The robotic kiosk uses geo-location technology to find its way through the airport and will use Wi-Fi to connect to  airline and airport systems, says SITA Lab, so ‘Kate’ can move freely through the airport terminal using obstacle avoidance technology to avoid bumping into people or things.

The robotic kiosks are designed to give airports and airlines an added tool for managing peaks in passenger flow caused by delays, scheduling peaks or other situations and, while brand new, will soon be tested in airports.

Fly like a bird at Pittsburgh Int’l Airport

Courtesy Pittsburgh Int’l Airport

Here’s a great – free – way to experience what it’s like to fly like a bird before you fly on a plane.

Through May 25 ( from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.), passengers can try out a full-body virtual reality experience named Birdly that gives the sensation of flying

Birdly is usually an exhibit at Pittsburgh’s National Aviary ( a bird zoo) with Pittsburgh International Airport as the exhibit’s presenting sponsor, but the exhibit is on site at PIT Airport for the launch of Spirit Airlines’ service to Myrtle Beach on May 25.  The airport promises Birdly will come back to both Pittsburgh International and Allegheny County airports several more times this year.

How does it work?

To ‘fly’, Birdly riders lie on the simulator chest down and flap their arms using hinged wings to control the direction and speed of their travel. A fan simulates headwinds and flying speed, motors and actuators tilt and dip the flyer’s body in response and an HTC Vive headset provides visuals and head-tracking, for a flight over a virtual New York City.

If you go to the National Aviary, the Birdly experience costs per flight, but PIT airport is offering them for free.