Phoenix Sky Harbor named best large U.S. airport for 2019

The Wall Street Journal just released it’s list of the best and worst U.S. airports for 2019, with Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport receiving the number 1 spot for large airports.

The Wall Street Journal used 15 metrics to determine the rankings, which included operations, dining options, and on-time departures and arrivals.

Rounding out the top 5 are Denver (DEN), Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Detroit (DTW), and Orlando (MCO).

The top 5 worst large U.S. airports, ranked in descending order, are Chicago O’Hare (ORD), Miami (MIA), Philadelphia (PHL), New York (JFK), and Newark (EWR). Adding insult to injury for NYC-based travelers, New York LaGuardia (LGA) was ranked as the worst mid-sized airport in the U.S.

What do you think of these rankings? Let me know in the comments!

 

My experience with Delta’s new facial recognition boarding process

When I was flying from Atlanta to the Cayman Islands last month, I was in for a surprise – there was a sign at the gate saying that I’d be boarding using Delta’s new biometric boarding process.

Prior to seeing the sign, I actually had no idea that this was even a thing (and, in fact, already had a boarding pass ready to go on my phone). Before boarding began, the gate agent made an announcement telling passengers how it would work – basically that instead of handing over a ticket to board, we’d need to stand in front of a machine that would scan our faces, recognize us, and print out our ticket.

I think the process actually took a little longer than actually handing over tickets, but it may have been because there were a few families in front of me with small children that the parents needed to lift off the ground so that they were high enough to have their faces scanned. When it was my turn to go, it took about 2-3 seconds for my face to be scanned and for the boarding pass to be issued, which was pretty cool.

As cool as it was to try out biometric boarding, it definitely made me uncomfortable that Delta had enough information that it could recognize my face without me ever consenting to it. That said, like most Americans, I’m usually ready to trade a bit of privacy for convenience.

Have you tried Delta’s biometric boarding yet? What were your thoughts?

Alaska Airlines is offering up to 30% off flights to Hawaii based on wave height

Not only do I love Hawaii and Alaska Airlines, but I love big waves.  When I was in Maui for whale season last year, there was a 40-60 foot swell at Jaws, the world-famous big wave surfing hot-spot, which I tried to get to (but had to miss because of wind conditions).

So, I was thrilled when I received notification of a really cool Alaska Airlines sale to Hawaii where they are discounting travel based on wave height. Here’s how it works:

The bigger the waves, the more you’ll save on flights to and from Lihue, Kona, Maui, and Honolulu for travel between November 4-20, 2019.

Discount amounts are determined by the predicted heights of upcoming swells from Surfline. How much will you save? If the maximum swell height is:

0 to 10ft = 10% off

11 to 15ft = 15% off

16 to 20ft = 20% off

21ft or more = 30% off

The deal ends on November 8th and you’ll need to use code SURFLINE15 to access the reduced fares (currently at 15% off based on 12.9 foot swells).

SFO to introduce priority security line for public transit riders

On Thursday, the BART Board of Directors approved a measure with the goal of creating a priority security line for public transit riders at SFO. In their meeting, the directors voted to approve something called trip verification technology (TVT), which would work as follows:

With TVT, SFO-hired staff would use devices at a designated entry point to scan Clipper cards or QR codes on BART apps to verify a customer used public transportation to get to the airport. If the trip on BART or other public transportation is verified, the customer would proceed to a priority line to go through TSA screening.

I’m really excited about this for a few reasons, but mostly because I’m a huge fan of public transit in general and because of the environmental impacts of getting more cars off the road.

Although I almost always take BART to and from the airport, this new system likely won’t affect me since I already use CLEAR which gets me through security in a matter of minutes, regardless of crowds. That said, I do hope this encourages more passangers to take BART, which is really a quick and easy way to get to the airport from SFO (especially if you’re flying out of the International Terminal or Terminal 3, where you can walk to security without even needing to take the AirTrain to get to security).

Will this make you more likely to take BART to the airport? Let me know in the comments!