Category Archives: air travel

A PreCheck PostCheck on My Shopping History

Dear Transportation Security Administration,

After reading about your expanded background checks of applicants for PreCheck clearance at airport security, I would like to file this addendum to my application.

I didn’t realize when I sent in the original application that you might be investigating my online shopping activity. Even if you really have postponed the “live prototyping” plan (boy, you guys sure have a knack for creepy names), I would like to take this opportunity to further explain some of my recent purchases.

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JetBlue Adds BDL to DCA

JetBlue will start flying between Bradley and Reagan National in Washington on June 19.

Flights will leave Bradley at 6:35 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. and Reagan National at 9:20 a.m. and 7:25 p.m. Introductory fares as low as $30 one way (Tuesdays and Wednesday only) are available for travel through August, but you have to buy them today. I found other fares ranging from $64 to a refundable holiday weekend fare of $564.

The aircraft on this route will be 100-seat Embraer 190 jets, bigger than a regional jet but not quite as big as the traditional narrow-body Boeing or Airbus jets. Last year the CEO of JetBlue pronounced himself “disappointed” with this line of aircraft but, hey, they have leather seats.

Not Just More ‘Passenger Comfort’ — More Passengers

My first thought on reading this headline — Delta to Improve Passenger Comfort on 225 Domestic Narrowbody Aircraft — was to wonder how many additional seats Delta is going to cram onto those jets.

Call me a cynic, but I was right. The upgrade is going to add about 1,500 seats to 182 jets.

My second thought was to wonder who decided that that narrowbody is one word. I believe it’s a compound modifier requiring a hyphen: narrow-body. (Anyway, it means the aircraft has only one aisle.)

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Bradley Fares: Less Expensive but More Expensive

Fares out of Bradley fell 3.7 percent, adjusted for inflation, between the second quarter of 2012 and the second quarter of 2013, nearly identical to a 3.6 percent drop in domestic fares nationwide, reports The Hartford Courant, citing the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. But Bradley’s average round-trip fare was $36 higher than the national average.

I wonder whether one possible reasons for higher fares is that so much of Bradley’s traffic — 38 percent of passengers — is carried by Southwest and JetBlue, which don’t charge for checked bags. (Bag fees aren’t included in the BTS stats.) So the fares look higher but passengers don’t necessarily pay more.

Or not. Figuring out whether bag fees are a factor would require calculating the percentage of flights flown by Southwest and JetBlue at each airport. And then you’d have to look at the percentage flown by hucksters like Spirit and Allegiant that charge for carry-on bags. And then you’d need to be a good statistician to figure out whether any correlation might involve other factors.

And I’m not that smart or that patient.