More robots at an airport near you

Travelers will be running into robots at more airports as HMSHost adds Pepper, the humanoid robot, to the staff of more of its restaurants.

Her job: to give menu informaton and recommendations and generally entertain – or alarm – guests.

You may have encountered Pepper at her first assignment: the Pyramid Ale Taproom in Oakland International Airport. Now Pepper clones are also working hard at Avenue des Canadiens in Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (where Pepper understands French or English),   the Washington Redskins Burgundy & Gold Club in Washington Dulles International Airport and at Point the Way Café in Los Angeles International Airport.

According to HMSHost, Pepper customizes her features for each airport so her interactions with travelers vary from location to location. In some airports she not only offers restaurant help, she helps travelers with directions to things at the airport, such as gates and the nearest restrooms.

If yu run into Pepper, let us know what the expereience is like. Cool or creepy?

Airports after Brussels

Brussels image

Brussels Airport remains closed today – and tomorrow – in the aftermath of Tuesday’s terrorists attacks at the international airport and at a metro station in town which killed at least 30 people and injured dozens more.

Security remains heightened at airports around the world, so be prepared for possible delays at the security checkpoints.

Airport/metro attack in Brussels

Check for live updates on the BBC and elsewhere, but the sad news of today is that
there have been coordinated deadly terrorist attacks at Brussels Airport and at the city’s Maelbeek metro station, with more than two dozen people killed between the two sites.

Airports, airlines and transit systems around the world are on high alert, so you can expect delays, cancellations and increased security presence.

A sad, sad day.

Air France buys 20,000 Charlie Hebdo papers for passengers

Charlie Hebdo

French flag carrier Air France purchased 20,000 copies of the first edition of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo to be published since the January 7 terrorist attack on its offices.

The cover features a representation of Mohammed holding a placard that reads ‘Je Suis Charlie.’

The initial press run of five million copies sold out quickly, but Air France passengers at both Charles De Gaulle and Orly airports could pick up a copy of the issue in departure lounges.

Airport pat-downs, body-scanners, x-rays and you


There’s been a flurry of news – some real, some fussed-up – about concerns and confrontations about body-scanners and enhanced pat-downs at airports.

Need to catch up?

This Reuters article explains the concerns pilots have about stepped up screening at U.S. airports.

On his NPR blog, Shots, Richard Knox does a great job of laying out the difference between, and the debate about, the safety of the new scanners.

The TSA blog posted video – and the original radio interview – concerning a young woman who claims she was cuffed to a chair at the Fort Lauderdale International Airport.

This fellow caused a hubbub at San Diego International Airport by refusing the pat-down after deciding to opt-out of the scanning machine.

And there’s a group trying to organize Opt Out Day at airports nationwide on November 24, 2010.

Study up. Things are just going to get curiouser from here…