Getting around

DFW’s Skylink marks a moving milestone

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport is celebrating a few milestones this summer,  including  the 10-year anniversaries of Terminal D, the Grand Hyatt DFW and the Skylink people mover, which connects all five DFW terminals and is billed as the world’s largest automated airport bi-directional train system.

To celebrate, Hudson Group and DFW put together this nice infographic:



Going the distance at airports

Sometimes that walk – more often, that dash – between gates for a connectintg flight feels like a mile. Or more.

But how long is that walk really? And what is the longest distance a passenger would have to walk to make a connection at a U.S. airport?

With the help of airport record keepers and my brand new collapsible distance wheel, I’m working on finding that out.

Wheel photo_edited

Want to help? Next time you’re at an airport and feel like getting some exercise, start your pedometer – or take out your collapsible distance wheel – and measure off the distance between the farthest gates in an airport.

No buses, no trams. Just walking. Let me know what you find out.

Bike to the airport?


Bike to or from the airport? In many cities you can do that and an increasing number of airports are making it easier to park, store, assemble, disassemble or make needed repairs to your bike.

Earlier this month Seattle-Tacoma International Airport marked National Bike Month with a new bicycle assembly/disassembly station, along with updated bike amenities that include tools, a bike pump, new bike racks, storage options (both short- and long-term), improved signage, and an updated bicycle resources webpage.

Other airports with bike stations and support include San Francisco International Airport, Portland International Airport, Pittsburgh International Airport, and Victoria International Airport on Canada’s Vancouver Island.

(Photo courtesy Seattle-Tacoma International Airport)

Thanks for the car ride, United.

I felt like an imposter.

I’d been upgraded on my flight home from a press event in London to tour the new Star Alliance Terminal 2 at Heathrow – and United’s new lounges there – and, unbeknownst to me, someone at United had added the Global Services code to my reservation.

That program is invitation-only and offers upper echelon travelers special treatment and services. And while I’m special, of course (my mother taught me that…) and old enough now to have flown on enough purchased tickets on United to get million mile status, I’m certainly not permanent Global Services program material.

But, I can see the appeal.

A Global Services rep with my name on a sign met our flight when it arrived in San Francisco.

“Am I in trouble?” I asked. (“Someone’s dead,” I thought)

“Certainly not,” she said. “I’m here to greet you as a Global Services customer and get you to your next flight. We have a car waiting.”

I tried to tell her I really wasn’t a Global Services customer, but she was having none of that.

So I went along with the fairy godmother service and got escorted through several lines, out a door leading to the tarmac and into the back seat of an SUV – a Mercedes-Benz SUV – that drove on the tarmac to take me to the connecting terminal for my flight home to Seattle.

Along the way, I learned that United started this Global Services perk a few weeks ago in San Francisco after rolling it out in Chicago, Houston and Newark Liberty Airport and that usually the ride is offered to Global Services customers with very close connections.

I had about a hour between my flights so wasn’t feeling stressed about getting from one terminal to another, but if the flights were tight (and I was used to being treated special) I can see how this service would endear an airline to a high-value customer a bit more than, say, a free drink or a personalized luggage tag.

So I did enjoy the ride and – just like a real Global Services customer, my escort assured me – I did get my picture taken with the car there on the tarmac.

United car service

Travel superstitions

Are you superstitious about things relating to travel?


Ever since the bronze bust of Abraham Lincoln was placed outside the tomb holding his remains at Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Ill., people have been rubbing the nose for good luck. “We know presidential candidates Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan and Bob Dole rubbed the nose,” said Dave Blanchette, spokesman for the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, “and Barack Obama rubbed the nose when he was serving in the Illinois State Senate.”


American Airlines, JetBlue and Virgin America have a row number 13 on their airplanes, but Lufthansa has neither a row 13 nor a row 17 on its planes because the number 13 is regarded as unlucky in so many places and because the number 17 is regarded as unlucky in Italy and Brazil.

On the ground, many hotel guests refuse to stay in a room on the 13th floor. “Hotels have responded to this in a precautionary manner by eliminating this level of the property, in one way or another,” said Emma Jupp, president of Liberty Travel. Some hotels just skip 13 in their floor and room numbering; the 108-year old Wolcott Hotel in New York City has always used its 13th floor to house machinery.

For more travel superstitions, see the slide show I put together for MSN Local Edition.