Podcast #65 – New Ways to the Front of the Line; Southwest Skips Nickel & Dimes

Recorded in the TravelCommons studios outside of Chicago after taking a month’s break. We see if there’s anything to the TSA’s recent attempts to reduce security line waits — the Clear Registered Traveler and the Diamond Lane Self-Select programs. We also take a look at Southwest’s attempts to attract more business travelers. A listener story on traveling injured causes us to look into the cost trade-offs of air ambulance services, while another listener points us to the perfect song for the summer travel season. Here’s a direct link to the podcast file.

Here are the show notes from TravelCommons podcast #65:

  • Intro music — Warmth by Makkina
  • Recorded in the TravelCommons studios outside of Chicago, Illinois
  • Other family “creative” obligations forced me to take a month off of the podcast
  • Playing around with the Dopplr travel website — it’s not bad, but hasn’t yet provided a serendipitous meet-up with other friends on the road
  • However, Dopplr helpfully totes up the carbon footprint for my travels
  • Bridge Music — Discipline by Nine Inch Nails
  • Following Up

  • Thanks to Drew Leifheit for mentioning TravelCommons in his travel podcasting article Travelcasting: Lighten Your Backpack, Load Up Your iPod on the Vagabondish website
  • A listener shares his own “traveling while injured” story after listening to episode #54
  • Air ambulance service like AirMed and MetJetAssist offer insurance-like programs starting at $225/year
  • A listener points out a great song for the summer travel season by the Bar & Grille Singers
  • Bridge Music — One by Cargo Cult
  • New Ways to the Front of the Line

  • Recently had first hand experience with the Registered Traveler program and the Diamond Lane Self-Select program
  • The Clear security line in San Francisco airport (SFO) was empty, but the biometric checks made it take longer the regular 1st-Class/Premium Frequent Flier line
  • The Diamond Self-Select Program in Chicago Midway airport (MDW) doesn’t live up to its promise — too many “non-experts” self-select into the black diamond line
  • Bridge Music — Magnified by Very Large Array
  • Southwest Skips the Nickels & Dimes

  • Southwest Airline’s Fees Don’t Fly With Us ad campaign goes straight at the legacy carriers’ new-found love of add-on fees
  • Southwest is becoming more attractive to frequent business travelers
  • Their Business Select program removes the “cattle-car” boarding queue that everyone hated
  • Southwest’s gate areas in Midway (MDW), Cleveland (CLE), and Balimore-Washington Int’l (BWI) are impressive — comfortable seats and lots of easy-to-find electrical outlets
  • But Southwest still can’t match the value of the frequent flier awards I receive from United Airlines
  • Closing

  • Closing music — iTunes link to iconPictures of You by Evangeline
  • Bridge music from Nine Inch Nails and Magnatune
  • Feedback at comments@travelcommons.com or right here in the comments section below
  • Direct link to the show
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  1. How long are the airlines going to be permitted to screw their customers until congress gets involved? it’s a clear end run around raising their fares, how stupid to they think we are?

  2. The Clear line was worth it yesterday in SFO. The United premium security line was 2-3 turns deep while the Clear line was empty. Watching the machine’s screen, I was able to get fingerprint recognition on my first try.