animals

Where do old hotel towels end up?

What happens to worn towels that hotels get rid of?

It’s a good bet that most of them end up in landfills.

So it’s nice to hear of Hilton’s nationwide towel replacement program that not only keeps towels out of landfills but sends the old towels to good homes.

The hotel chain has partnered with Mars Petcare and Greater Good Charities for the program and will donate retired towels, bathmats, washcloths, and other terry products from their properties across the United States to local animal shelters.

Doing so will divert 140,00 pounds of towels – more than 106,000 towels – from landfills.

According to Hilton, over 1,200 hotels and over 500 shelters across the U.S. have signed up to participate in the program with more expected to come on board through the end of the year.

Good work!

Photo credit: top image: Australian War Memorial Collection via Flickr Commons.

Bottom image – courtesy National Science and Media Museum, also via Flickr Commons

Travel Tidbits: Found Dog at ATL + Orlando Int’l Airport’s Visitor Pass

That dog that escaped at ATL airport has been found

If you’ve been following the story of Maia, the dog who escaped from her carrier at Hartsfield-Jackon Atlanta International Airport (ATL) three weeks ago, you’ll be glad to know that the dog has been found.

Maia, a chihuahua mix, has been AWOL at ATL airport since the middle of August. The dog arrived on a Detla Air Lines flight from the Dominican Republic with its owner, Paula Rodriguez, who was making a connection on the way to San Francisco.

Rodriguez, who had a tourist visa, was denied entry into the United States and had to spend the night in an airport detention center. The dog wasn’t allowed in the center with Rodriguez and somehow got loose from its carrier while in Delta Air Lines’ care.

Orlando International Airport now has a Visitor Pass Program

Orlando International Airport (MCO) is the latest airport to create a program to allow non-ticketed visitors into the terminal.

The Experience MCO Visitor Pass only gives access to Terminal C – MCO’s newest and fanciest terminal – and only permits 50 non-ticketed visitors per day.

As with visitor pass programs at other airports, including Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY), Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW), and others, visitors must fill out an application online and have it reviewed by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Frontier Airlines Tales of Tails

Like many other carriers, Frontier Airlines recently changed its policy regarding emotional support animals flying inside the plane: they are no longer welcome.

But a growing menagerie of animals continues to adorn the tails of all Frontier Airlines planes.

There are land animals, such as Al the Roadrunner.

Endangered species, such as Hugh the Manatee.

Sky Animals, such as Betty the Bluebird.

And aquatic animals, such as Shelly the Sea Turtle.

 It is fun to spot the animal tails at the airport. But because there are more than 100 airplanes in the Frontier fleet, you might never see them all.

And certainly not all in one place.

So, we are pleased to see that Frontier now has a webpage that features every Frontier plane tail and the animal that adorns it

The site includes a picture of each plane tail and tells a little bit about the animal that adorns it. And – avgeek alert – each animal’s webpage includes information about the aircraft as well, including the plane model, registration, seating capacity, engine type, the date of the first flight, and the final assembly location.

The airline is planning to add more features to the site, including downloadable coloring pages and activities, a page devoted to retired animals, and photos.

Do you have a favorite Frontier Airlines animal tail?

Report card for airlines

LAX Flight Path Museum airplane models

This week, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) released air carrier data for calendar year 2018.

The report inludes stats on everything from arrival rates and incident involving the death of animals carried on airplanes to bumping rates and, for the first time, the number of wheelchairs or scooters that were checked and mishandled by airlines.

The full report can be found here, but here are some highlights.

Hawaiian Airlines had the best arrival rates in 2018 – 87.8 percent – followed by Delta Air Lines (83.2 percent) and Alaska Airlines (82.7 percent).

The worst arrival rates for 2018?

Frontier Airlines (69.4 percent), JetBlue (71 percent) and Allegiant Airlines (76.9 percent).

Overall, during 2018 reporting carriers posted an on-time arrival rate of 79.4 percent, down from 80.2 percent in 2017. 

Tarmac Delays

In 2018, airlines reported 202 tarmac delays of more than three hours on domestic flights, an increase from the 193 such tarmac delays reported in 2017. 

In 2018, airlines reported 61 tarmac delays of more than four hours on international flights, compared to 51 such tarmac delays reported in 2017.

Incidents Involving Animals

In 2018, carriers reported 10 animal deaths, injuries to seven other animals and zero lost animals, for a total of 17 incidents, down from the 40 total incident reports filed for calendar year 2017. 

Complaints About Airline Service

Overall, travelers filed fewer complaints about airlines with the DOT in 2018 than they did in 2017.

In 2018, the DOT received 15,541 complaints, down 14.4 percent from the total of 18,156 received in 2017.  

Complaints About Treatment of Disabled Passengers and Discrimination  

In 2018, the DOT received 828 disability complaints, down 2.6 percent from the total of 850 received in 2017. 

There were 96 complaints about discrimination, a decrease of 2.0 percent from the total of 98 filed in 2017.

Bumping

After a series of sensational incidents in past years, in 2018 the number of bumped passengers hit a historical low.

In 2018, reporting carriers posted a bumping rate of 0.14 per 10,000 passengers, the previous low was 0.40 in 2017.

Wheelchairs and scooters

For the first time, the DOT’s report includes the number of wheelchairs and scooters checked and mishandled by the 12 reporting airlines.  

From Dec. 4 through Dec. 31, airlines reported checking 32,229 wheelchairs and scooters and mishandling 701, a rate of 2.18 percent mishandled.  

Tampa Int’l latest airport to tighten leash on pets

Last year, Portland International Airport and several other airports followed the lead of airlines in tightening the leash on what consitutes an ’emotional support’ animal and the expected and acceptable behavior of pets in the terminals.

The move came in response to increase incidents of aggressive pets and, in some cases, of pets biting and attacking passengers and employees in airports.

Now Tampa International Airport (TPA), which last May was in the news when a dog traveling as an emotional support animal gave birth to puppies in the terminal, has joined the herd in stepping up its enforcement of restricting non-service animals at the airport.

The aim of TPA’s new policy is reducing injuries to pets and people as well as enhancing cleanliness and sanitation at the airport.

Starting this week, TPA will begin educating pet owners about the airport policy which, it notes, has been in place for decades but loosely enforced.

The policy states that traveling non-service animals (i.e. pets) must be properly confined in a pet carrier or controlled on a leash when they are in the airport.

In addition, pets that are not traveling, such as those greeting arriving passengers in the Main Terminal, are not allowed at TPA.

At the end of March, pet owners who are not following the rules will receive warnings and there could be citations for non-compliant guests.

LIke other airport, TPA is experiencing record passenger growth and a record numbers of animals in the terminals. And TPA paramedics, police and maintenance staff are responding to an increased number of injuries to people and pets and cleaning up hundreds of pet ‘accidents.’

TPA’s policy enforcement was endorsed by the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, which says the policy is a necessary measure to reduce animal incidents such as paw injuries on escalators.

What do you think of this trend? Do you bring your pet to the airport? Have you seen witnessed pets misbehaving at airports?

A pet traveling as an emotional support animal gave birth to puppies last year at Tampa International Airport.