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Posts Tagged ‘misc.’

Where have I been?

I’ll admit it: I haven’t been posting much this month. That’s because (a) most of the news is waiting for Barack Obama’s key transportation personnel picks and (b) my energies are currently engrossed with NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. What, you say? Basically, more than 100,000 people try to write a 50,000-word novel between November 1 and November 30. Why am I doing this? Eh, it’s an experience, and maybe I’ll like the story I have when I’m done. The funny thing is, I’m already over 21,000 words, and I’m actually having a lot of fun. I still don’t know where my characters are going, but they’ve already had some great adventures. (My protagonist? A sensitive, handsome, young, idealistic aviation policy blogger who lives in Washington, D.C. . . . OK, fine, so that bit’s not true.)

At any rate, I do actually have some aviation policy–related thoughts to share soon, so watch this space. And, like most of my readers, I’m eagerly awaiting transportation-related transition announcements. I’ll be with you fully again in December.

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Can’t get enough of the Aviation Policy Blog? Want to listen to me geek out and generally make a fool of myself for an hour? Then listen to this week’s Airplane Geeks Podcast! We talk a lot about the thirtieth anniversary of deregulation, but we touch on a number of other matters, too.

Thanks to Max Flight and Courtney Miller for inviting me to join them on the podcast and for putting together an outstanding weekly program.

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The Wall Street Journal today profiles ICE Air, an airline with service to exotic destinations like Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Jamaica, Indonesia, and Cambodia. It offers leather seats with custom headrests and in-flight service with box lunches. The forty-pound checked baggage allowance is not enforced. It also has high load factors: “We are making a valiant attempt to overbook.” Would you like to fly ICE Air? Well, unless you’re an illegal immigrant being deported to your home country, you’re out of luck:

This carrier is run by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the federal agency responsible for finding and deporting undocumented immigrants. A crackdown on illegal immigration has led to a spike in deportations and the creation of a de facto airline to send the deportees home.

The air service, called Repatriate by air-traffic controllers, is known simply as ICE Air to agency employees. . . .

In all, the U.S. government deports people to more than 190 countries. Outside of Mexico, ICE flew home 76,102 illegal immigrants in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, up from 72,187 last year and 50,222 two years ago.

Now Boarding: Illegal Immigrants On One-Way Tickets Home [Wall Street Journal]

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I’m back in Washington after a great visit to Dallas and Southwest Airlines’ headquarters for media day. Kudos to their communications team for putting together a fantastic program for the reporters, analysts, and bloggers present. Thanks are also due to Southwest for its hospitality and openness. Southwest had us meeting and talking with their top executives, right up to Gary Kelly.

Me with Paula Berg

Me with Paula Berg

A special thanks goes to Southwest’s “blog girl” and communications director, Paula Berg, who was responsible for inviting us “emerging media” folks down to Dallas. She runs Nuts about Southwest, which Brett Snyder calls “the best” of the airline blogs. It was a real pleasure to meet Paula.

Me with Rob Mark

Me with Rob Mark

I also had the pleasure of meeting a number of the industry’s top bloggers in person, all of whom you’ll find in the blogroll on the right and many of whom I’ve communicated with by e-mail in the past. Jetwhine‘s Robert Mark; Flight reporter Megan Kuhn, who writes the Terminal Q blog; Holly Hegeman of Plane Business; and Star-Telegram reporter Trebor Banstetter, who blogs with a Metroplex focus at Sky Talk.

Paula said she had hoped that Brett Snyder (a.k.a. the Cranky Flier) could make it, but his nuptials this weekend seem to have taken priority. Congratulations!

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Dallas-bound

I’m leaving for Dallas shortly to attend Southwest Airlines’ media day. Look forward to a dispatch or two from Dallas in this space tomorrow. Is there a policy issue you’d like me to ask Southwest about? Let me know in the comments.

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Benet points us to a new initiative by Lufthansa to get into the student travel market by running a social networking site. It provides forums, games, and access to special fares. It’s nice that Lufthansa is reaching out to this demographic, but I don’t know how useful it will prove. I’m no longer a student, so I’m not eligible to sign up, but I don’t think I would if I could. The proliferation of social networks is actually a pain for me. Who wants to have so many log-ins and passwords? I try to limit my exposure, and for this reason, I love Google, through which I follow blogs via RSS, use email, maintain my calendar, comment on Blogger-based blogs, and participate in groups. Facebook, a real social network, has the same sort of thing going on — instead of letting people run all over the web, people can bring everything under one roof. I like OpenID, which allows me to use a log-in for one site at others. That’s what I’d prefer, and if Lufthansa wants to reach folks like me who want to enjoy some simplicity in our frenetic online lives, they’d be of a mind to introduce useful applications for existing social networks and aggregation sites, not necessarily to create ones of their own.

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More on the BAA case

I have a guest post on the Competition Commission’s remedies for BAA’s common ownership over at Towers and Tarmacs. Thanks to Benet Wilson for the invitation!

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