AUSTRIAN AIRLINES Opens New Star Alliance Terminal Next Week

A lot of “NEW” things are happening within the Lufthansa Group over the next week. As no doubt you know if you’ve been reading my posts, Lufthansa’s first Boeing 747-8i enters passenger service this Friday when she flies from Frankfurt to Washington DC. But thats not the only first for passengers.

On June 5th, Austrian will officially open to the public their new dedicated Star Alliance Terminal at their main hub in Vienna (VIE). Austrian will consolidate all of their aircraft operations to this new facility.

The terminal promises to be a work of art that will provide passengers with a streamlined travel experience. This terminal is actually “rated” to allow passengers to transfer with as little as 25 minutes between connections. This beats Munich, currently rated as one of Europe’s best at 45 minutes.

The new 150,000 sq. meter (164,000 sq. yd) terminal will boast 69 Check-In Counters and 40 self service kiosks along with dedicated Check-In areas for Business and Star Alliance Elite Level passengers. Additional, new Lounges will also be open as part of the new terminal. New lounges will include HON Circle/First Class, Senator/Star Alliance GOLD and Business Class lounges. Based on my experiences in transiting through Vienna, this in itself will be a major upgrade!

The terminal will be a very open facility, with walls of windows that will provide great viewing of Aircraft and the rest of the airport.

Images courtesy of Austrian Airlines:

For an interactive guide of the new terminal, please follow this link.

Of course there is one minor downside to all this……as part of my trip to Frankfurt, I’m taking a couple of days in Slovakia to visit family which will involve flying in and out of Vienna over this weekend, so I will just-just-just miss experiencing the new facility first hand. I’m hoping there’s a “soft opening” and perhaps the facility is already operating.

AIRPORT WORLD CUP: Last Semi-Final Match Underway

The last Semi-Final match has Singapore squaring off against Amsterdam. The match will end on 31 May at 8:00p US eastern time.

[poll id="84"]

So far things have fallen into place predictably but its setting up for a fantastic final regardless of who advances.

For the Semi-Final, if a match results in a tie, I will run a “best out of 5″ random number generator “overtime” to determine the winner.

As always, thanks for your participation!

Did I See What I Just Saw?

On the evening of Memorial Day, I went to my local airport to pick up my wife who was returning from visiting her brother and his family for a few days. As usual I get to the airport a little bit early so I can plane-spot the very rare ERJ’s and CRJ’s that tend to make it to town.

As I was waiting near the one-way corridor where arriving passengers walk down after leaving the airside part of the terminal, I saw something that I don’t think should happen at any airport. A pair of TSA officers were pushing a cart full of food containers (Tupperware type), grocery store bags, and bottles of soda and water up this one-way corridor (which does not have any security since it is for arriving passengers) and proceeded to disappear into the airside part of the terminal.

Now I may not know every rule that the TSA has or doesn’t have, but shouldn’t ANY ITEM being brought AIR SIDE by ANY ONE be subject to the same scrutiny as a normal passenger? In other words, shouldn’t the cart and it’s contents be screened and X-Ray’d?

The scene was harmless enough. A few TSA agents perhaps planning a pot luck or small gathering after their shift in their break-room is all well and good. But the impression that was left in my mind is that a cart full of “stuff” just bypassed security without the slightest effort of screening the contents.

Do I have cause for concern? I think so.