Meetings & Conventions: Planner's Portfolio October
By Sarah J.F. Braley
NEW USE FOR FINGERPRINT TECHNOLOGY
Testing keyless airport lockers... No more superfluous
Safer lockers. Heightened awareness around the
country has led to the disappearance of a traveler’s convenience:
the airport/bus station/train station locker.
After Sept. 11, 2001, storage facilities inside airport security
checkpoints were shut down and have yet to be reopened. The fear
was that an airport employee not subject to security screening
could put something a gun, explosives into a key-operated locker,
to be retrieved by a co-conspirator and taken on the plane.
Soon, however, a spot to store your stuff might return. The
Transportation Security Administration is testing new secure public
lockers at Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport. A product of
St. Paul-based Smarte Carte Inc., the bins use fingerprint
technology to lock and unlock.
If the TSA is happy with the results of the pilot program, it
will revise the policy that currently prohibits the use or
installation of any lockers at airports.
Yes, I packed my bag myself. Wondering why you
haven’t been asked the usual security questions lately when you
check in for a flight? The Transportation Security Administration
decided the questions no longer had much meaning for the safety and
security of air travelers. “We are working hard to balance
world-class customer service with the need for world-class
security,” says Admiral James Loy, Acting Under Secretary for
Transportation Security, who was also instrumental in lifting
restrictions on carrying drinks in paper or foam cups through
airport metal detectors. “Over the years, the questions have lost
whatever original value they contributed,” he adds.
Medic alert. If you need to get in touch with
one of your doctors when you’re on the road, there’s a free Web
site that will help save you money on the toll call. MDhub.com (www.mdhub.com) is a
clearinghouse for sending nonurgent messages to just about any
medical practice in the country. Communications are sent directly
to the doctor’s fax machine.
Patients contact their doctors using the service to renew
prescriptions, ask a question, make an appointment or find a
Emergency airlift. Insure-MyTrip (www.insuremytrip.com), a conglomerate site for travel
insurance that offers quotes from several companies, now offers
among it’s many options medical evacuation coverage with MEDJET
Assistance, an annual membership program that provides
transportation from practically anywhere in the world.
Among its other products, InsureMyTrip gives quotes on package
policies designed for a single trip that can be used for cruises,
tours, flights, house rentals and other voyages. Policies cover
trip cancellation, baggage, medical, dental, emergency evacuation,
24-hour assistance, baggage delay, travel delay and accidental
death. Other options include collision/damage coverage for rental
cars and flight insurance. Some package policies include coverage
for children at no extra charge. Multitrip deals also are
Detective notes. Finding that pilots and flight
attendants are happy to share their destination secrets, Peter
Greenberg, travel editor for the Today show, has compiled their
insights in The Travel Detective Flight Crew Confidential (Villard
Books, www.randomhouse.com). The tips, offering advice on
shopping, services, food and more, come from more than 300 crew
members representing more than 30 airlines.
The author’s earlier book, The Travel Detective (Villard, www.randomhouse.com), is even more indispensible,
offering insight into how to get the best service and deals from
travel providers. His knowledge includes which cruise ship
brochures lie and which credit card companies will be the fastest
or slowest to come to your aid in a foreign land.
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