Top U.S. airports, passenger gawking, FAA funding, TSA groping, Boeing profits and hotel revenue & rates

In other hotel and travel industry news last week…

  • Two business travel publications released their “best of” lists recently and the results go to show you how surveys can differ by reader demographics. For the 12th year in a row, readers of Global Traveler magazine named Chicago O’Hare ‘Best Airport in North America, whereas Denver International Airport was named best-in-class by readers of Business Traveler magazine for the 7th year in a row. My vote would have been for San Francisco, actually, for their outstanding food, shopping and lounge options on both the domestic and international side. I was a bit shocked Business Traveler’s readers voted Delta as having the best frequent flyer program… yikes!
  • I kill time at airports staring out the window looking at airplanes most of the time, but do admit I people watch from time to time. A recent article in the USA Today reveals just how popular the latter activity has become. Entitled, More fliers indulge their inner gawker,” the article interviews everyone from flight attendants to the casual traveler about their gawking activities. There’s even a website and smartphone app out there called that enables you to post funny pics of people at airports. Will have to check it out!
  • Funding for the FAA expires this Tuesday the 31st (at the time of writing), but the House has already passed an extension through February 17th. The Senate is also expected provide an extension before the clock strikes midnight and one article reveals there actually might be a forthcoming full FAA reauthorization bill in the works to avoid further extensions of the last authorization that expired in 2007. Come on, politicians. Let’s do it this time!
  • Senator Rand Paul was “detained” by the Department of Homeland Security’s TSA last week for failing to agree to being molested at an airport. Yeah, I said it. I know virtually every blogger out there does the “opt out” of the scanner routine as a strong showing that our civil liberties are being violated, but I still go through them, as does Sen. Paul. I’d much rather do the naked scan thing than have a TSO touch my unmentionables. I just can’t bring myself to being groped.
  • Boeing had a blockbuster year in 2011 reporting a 21.5% increase in net income to $4.02 billion. 2010 wasn’t shabby, either, when they posted a $3.31 billion profit. President and CEO Jim McNerney is looking forward to increased production rates in 2012, including moving 787 production up from 2.5 per month now to 3.5 by the second quarter of 2012, and up to 10 per month by the end of 2013.
  • Also enjoying a very strong year in 2011 were U.S. hotels and their revenue per available room, up 8.2% from 2010. Total occupancy nationwide surpassed 60% for the first time since 2007 and San Francisco, Miami, Detroit(!) and Nashville saw particularly strong growth.
  • Finally, staying on the hotel front, just released RateGain’s data on North American hotel prices January to March 2012. A median rate four-star hotel in Chicago this month comes in at $186.60 vs. Miami at $370.20 or Seattle at $215.30. In March, Miami again takes top spot among those cities surveyed showing a median rate at the Embassy Suites Miami Airport of $412.06. Ouch.


  1. “Delta as having the best frequent flyer program”? Who’s taking the survey?

    I took a little time to check out Scary. I was relieved to see that my photo wasn’t on there! 🙂

    Great post!

    • @aadvantagegeek: Thanks, and yeah, I’m curious about who voted Delta on top. They received accolades for their first class service, which makes sense from what I’ve heard, but the FFP is just baffling.

  2. Nice post Darren.
    I appreciated your comment about the scanner opt-out. Call me a sheep, but unless I have lots of spare time, I don’t bother to opt out of the millimeter wave machine. I’m of the opinion that the less interactions with TSA the better. I still refuse to subject myself to a backscatter machine.

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