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Survey results on airport security perhaps surprising

(Airports, Security) Permanent link

Nearly three-quarters of U.S. travelers are "somewhat" or "very" satisfied with airport security measures.

Surprised?

The information comes from a Travel Leaders survey of 800 U.S. consumers in March. According to the survey, nearly 73% indicated they were satisfied, to some degree, with airport security measures. Only 13.5% indicated that they were unsatisfied.

Nor were the consumers particularly bothered by the potential use of full-body scanners at airports, an issue that has raised the ire of privacy advocates. In the survey, more than 80% of the respondents said they did not have concerns about the use of the scanners at security checkpoints.

Of the respondents that said they were concerned about the use of full-body scanners, 47.6% cited privacy issues as their main concern; 27.2% said potential health risks and 19.7% said delays.

Security measures aren’t necessarily curtailing travel plans, either. In answer to the question, "Based on the increased level and types of security measures currently in place …. are you more likely to fly more, the same or less," about four-fifths of respondents said they’d fly the same or more than they did last year.

Travel Leaders’ president, Roger Block, said that the majority of travelers appeared to take security precautions and procedures "in stride as the ‘new normal’ for maintaing safety and security for all.

"American travelers are nothing if not resilient and adaptable to screening procedures at airports," he said.

Cuba opens online mall

(Caribbean) Permanent link

Although the travel ban to Cuba remains in place, Cuban souvenirs, music and items with a cultural twist are just a click away.

The Cuban government, playing to the tastes of the massive ex-pat community and the merely curious, recently launched an online mall at www.mallcubano.com, offering everything Cuban (except cigars).

Music, movies, paintings, books, CDs, handicrafts, apparel and accessories are available. All items are priced in U.S. dollars and range from $3 for a wooden handheld fan to $41 for a linen guayabera shirt.

To pay, customers must register and then log in to complete the purchase. Payment is via credit card, and shipping options include postal mail (estimated delivery time, 45 days) and CubaPost (seven days).

Shipping charges are high, $16.58 by mail or $43.15 by CubaPost on an $8 shower curtain with a design by Cuban artist Ernesto Garcia Pena.

— Gay Nagle Myers

'Euronating' on his passengers

(Airlines) Permanent link

It’s almost as if Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary is determined to do anything and everything in his power to remain unchallenged as the Rasputin of the airline industry. It’s a role he clearly savors.

So, when his villain mantle was momentarily challenged this week by Spirit Airlines' announcement that it would start charging passengers $30 for carry-on baggage, O’Leary apparently couldn’t resist playing a trump card.

According to this report in London’s Daily Mail, Ryanair will forge ahead with a once-abandoned plan to charge passengers to use onboard bathrooms.

The airline is reportedly working with Boeing to redesign the cabin and develop coin-operated toilets on 168 of its planes. Passengers would have to pay one euro or one British pound to use the restroom.

At the current exchange rate, that would make it about 15% more expensive for a Brit to relieve an urgent need than it would be for other members of the E.U. Do the Irish have a sense of humor or what?

Ryanair spokesperson Stephen McNamara offered the Daily Mail this rationalization: "By charging for the toilets, we are hoping to change passenger behavior so that they use the bathroom before or after the flight. That will enable us to remove two out of three of the toilets and make way for at least six extra seats onboard."

Ryanair did not tell the Daily Mail when the pay toilets would be in place, but the wise flyer would start extreme bladder-control training before purchasing his or her next seat on Ryanair.

— Rob Fixmer

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