Hurricane Sandy Impacts Air Travel

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Hurricane Sandy has been downgraded after hitting landfall Monday evening in New Jersey, but the powerful storm promises to impact air travel for many days to come.

According to FlightAware, over 13,700 flights have been cancelled as a result of the superstorm Sandy.  Heavy winds, rain, and coastal flooding have closed airports in Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore,  and Virgina.

Power is out up and down the eastern seaboard and restoring power will be delayed until the wind dies down enough for the crews to work safely.     As airports return to flight service, it will take several days for things to return to normal.   Many airlines have positioned aircraft away from the storm ahead of it’s arrival.   Combined with continued cancelled flights to the East coast and it will take several days to return equipment and crews to the needed locations.

When storms like this impacts flight schedules, airlines typically waive change fees.  This allows traveling public to make adjustments to their travel plans without penalty; ahead of Sandy, every airline has done so, mostly for flights in or out of the northeastern U.S. through Wednesday.

Dealing with Delays

If your flight plans have been impacted by the storm, consider using online websites to reschedule.   The airline call centers have experienced overwhelming call volume this week and response time is worse than normal.    If you use a third party travel partner like agencies or Travelocity, contact them for assistance.   Remain flexible in your plans and realize that the first few days of returning service will still see many cancellations and rescheduling as flights return to normal.   If you can reschedule for later in the week you are likely to experience less chance of problems.   Some airlines are offering full refunds for those who wish to cancel flights while  others are not so make sure to read the fine print and confirm with a call. Not every airline is offering the same contingency plan for its customers.

Take advantage of technology and set up flight-status email or text alerts through your airline’s website.  There are a number of  flight-tracking apps like FlightView to monitor your itinerary.

The longer the storm interrupts travel along the East coast, the more it impacts travel world wide, so even if your destination isn’t along the path of the storm, keep an eye on your flight status.

Foggy and windy weather often impacts flights into the Rochester MN airport, but rarely impacts the Rochester shuttle service  which travels between MSP  Minneapolis St Paul International Airport and Rochester MN.

Travel trends for Rochester MN

Monday, May 14th, 2012

As we approach the busy summer travel season there is one trend which hasn’t changed  according to top luxury hotel brands: People are traveling more with extended families, friends, and children.  Travelers are applying their money to value added and exclusive experiences.

Trends show that travel  guests are taking longer and more frequent vacations.  Cruise lines and other luxury hotel brans are seeing growth, while top travel agents which have a role to play in planning these experiences are staying busy.  The economy may yet be on shaky ground, but there is a segment of the population not only able to spend money on vacations, they are eager to do so.   Some luxury travel experts who designs high-end itineraries for clients around the world are seeing requests roll in for exotic getaways, but also from those wanting to recharge domestically.

Most of these trends aren’t groundbreaking, but are still at the forefront for luxury travel demand this summer.

Multi-Generational Family Travel: The family road trip to Grandma and Grandpas house is still alive and well, but another type of family vacation is increasing in popularity.   Since families are more likely to be spread across the United States today then they were a generation or two ago, getting everyone together has become a major task for the matriarchs of the family.   Cruising is possibly the best way to avoid family arguments during large gatherings since there is plenty of space on the boat to get away from each other.   In addition,  each person can design their own day while still connecting with their family on board, especially during meals.    Mark Conroy, President of Regent Seven Seas Cruises, says, “Families as small as six and as many as 35 are taking advantage of the all-inclusive, elegant, destination-focused, hassle-free cruises.”    The world has continued to shrink in size as technology brings cultures, and countries into children’s lives.   Parents often enjoy the fact that not only are they building family memories and bonds by traveling together, they are offering their children a world education at the same time.

Active Vacations: Americans are seeing the Baby Boomers age in the most active older generation we’ve ever experiences.   Today, travelers are seeking out ways to stay active and healthy on the road, carving out time for bike rides, hiking, and water sports.   Vacations which include locations where they have plenty of options to take day trips and enjoy active excursions from trekking and diving to fly fishing and white water rafting are common.  Adventure vacation experiences are increasingly a part of the American experience.

Domestic Getaways: Travelers are more frequently choosing to stay state side to unwind and explore. The U.S. has it all, from coastal vacations in California and New England, to big city culture in New York, Chicago and San Francisco.  Domestic vacation experiences remain a strong option given the high cost of fuel and air fares.  The national parks have seen increasing demands on the park services during the summer months for a number of years and expect to see the trend continue.   Luxury resorts are increasingly building near natural wonders of the parks like the Grand Canyon to allow visitors the experience of the natural world mixed with the comfort and luxury a spa or full service resort can offer.    Not everyone want to camp in a tent in order to enjoy a sunset over the canyon.

Electronic Use on Shuttle from Rochester MN

Monday, December 12th, 2011

Electronic Use on Shuttle from Rochester MN

The holiday season is high airline travel time and getting to your destination with the fewest problems is likely your priority. In this case, imitating celebrities is not the path to take. While celebrities are often admired and imitated, Alec Baldwin’s behavior on a recent American Airlines flight is not something you should emulate.

30 Rock star, Alec Baldwin was removed from one of the America Airline’s Los Angeles to New York flights in a dispute over using electronic devices prior to takeoff. The Federal Aviation Administration rules state that once the cabin door is closed for boarding, electronic devices must be turned off. Alec Baldwin’s addiction to the Word with Friends game is blamed for his apparent refusal to comply. After refusing to turn his device off, he proceeded to use inappropriate language aimed at the flight staff and entered the lavoratory slamming the door so loudly that the pilots in the cockpit heard it and became concerned about what has happening in the cabin.

There are two issues here to consider. Whether or not you think the rule about use of electronic devices is safe really isn’t an issue. You are a passenger on a commercial flight which must comply with federal rules. The airline staff are just doing their jobs, they don’t make the rules either. The FAA has developed criteria for electronic devices proving their safety but it is difficult for the FAA to evaluate the effects of the use of untested electronics. Certain devices in the cockpit are most sensitive to disruption during the takeoff and landing portions of the flight. In order to assure the safety of all passengers, they have the ban on all electronic devices below 10,000 feet. It’s a sweeping rule that is necessary with the speed at which new devices are introduced into the marketplace. After all, the FAA is a government agency and there’s no way they could keep up with testing for a free market developing new electronic devices for our tech savvy population.

Another issue here is to consider the behavior of the passenger after being instructed repeatedly to turn off the electronic device. Forget for a moment that this is a famous person which we have seen rant, rave, and act in unexpected ways in the past. If an unknown person were to swear at the staff, unbuckle and go to the bathroom during the taxi portion of takeoff , wouldn’t you be a bit concerned? Wouldn’t you wonder if this erratic behavior would pose some kind of threat to you or your fellow passengers safety? Post 9/11 , the public is wary of unusual behavior and has been instructed to report such events. The airline staff were again doing their jobs as they have been trained to do in removing such passengers from the flight.

When you fly on a commercial airline, you agree to a known set of criteria and rules. You and your baggage must pass through security, you may not carry on unlimited amounts of liquids, certain items like firearms and other weapons are not allowed on board. Airline passengers must comply with requests by airline staff and it is in your best interest to do so. If you don’t like the rules, take the appropriate action to change them. This involves the FAA and federal laws, not complaining to the airline staff or tweeting rants.

On a plane – keep your mouth shut,  and read a magazine.

Go Rochester Direct, a Rochester shuttle service, not only allows electronic devices during the ride from Rochester MN to Minneapolis, they provide free WiFi so that you can be connected the entire trip and play your Words with Friends game to your hearts content.

Minneapolis to Rochester Shuttle

Monday, December 5th, 2011

Minneapolis to Rochester shuttle

Minneapolis to Rochester Shuttle

Airport Security

Most people who travel on our Minneapolis to Rochester shuttle, originate at the Minneapolis St.Paul International Airport (MSP).    If you’ve ever traveled through MSP you’ll know that like most major airports in the United States today, getting through airport security sometimes feels like running the gauntlet.  There may be some changes in the security at airports across the nation as the TSA turns ten years old.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA)  was created a decade ago to federalize luggage screening as a step toward better security after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Recently, the TSA has endured a public outcry over the way that baggage and passenger screening is handled in airports across the nation.

Some airports and lawmakers like Sen. Roy Blunt from Montana want to hire private baggage screeners instead of government workers under a program the TSA administrator is hesitant to expand. Speaking of the Screening Partnership Program, Blunt says “Frankly, competition is a good think in almost all places” .

There are already seventeen airports that use private companies to work at the security screening. But TSA Administrator, John Pistole, rejected new applicants in January of 2011 claiming there’s no proof that private companies are cheaper or more effective than TSA. The program is especially important to smaller airports as they try to balance work load during time between flight arrivals or departures.

Private companies have more flexibility in moving workers around to other duties like cleaning or operations. They can be shifted from one location to another more easily, as well as easing the human resources jobs of part time workers or firing. In San Francisco, concerns over turnover rates of immigration and customs officials caused them to move to a private contractor. The high cost of living in the bay area is blamed according to airport spokesman Michael McCarron.

It would seem that the advantages of privatizing the jobs is not easy to measure monetarily. According to a Government Accountability Office report (GAO), the TSA estimated in 2007 that the private contracts cost 17% more than having the government perform the job. However, after skepticism from GAO and lawmakers, TSA lowered that estimate to just 3% more. Even that estimate is met with opponents.

Chairman of the House transportation committee, Rep. John Mica, argues that private workers are cheaper. Mica produced a 137-page report in June that projected the country could save $1 billion over five years by hiring private security for the country’s 35 largest airports. The savings come mostly from avoiding federal pensions and reducing overtime and turnover, according to Mica’s report. “TSA cooked the books when conducting past cost comparisons,” Mica says.

The TSA is in the difficult position of having opposing goals – providing security while still moving travelers through to their planes in a timely manner. Most officials do not want to abolish TSA entirely, just to reduce the staff and enhance it’s position as supervisor and auditor of private screening companies. Federal supervision and standards are still an important role that the TSA alone needs to fill.

Shuttle to Rochester MN Winter Wonderland

Monday, December 5th, 2011

Shuttle to Rochester MN Winter Wonderland

After receiving about 3 1/2 inches of snow this weekend, it’s  beginning to look a lot like Christmas here in Rochester MN.

Many of our customers who use our shuttle to Rochester MN are visitors and are looking for something to do during free time.  We suggest you check out the Market Strasse.

 

shuttle to Rochester MN

photo used with permission from lifewithmy4boys.com

The Rochester Downtown Association has opened the European outdoor market, Market Strasse,  on Peace Plaza.

The market is open from 11am-8pm offering shopping, food, entertainment, and special events like Santa,  kid’s crafts, and horse-drawn carriage rides .

Open Dates: Nov. 27th, Dec. 2nd, Dec. 3rd, Dec. 9th, Dec. 10th, Dec. 16th, Dec. 17th

Hours: Nov. 27th (5-8pm), Fridays & Saturdays Dec. 2nd-17th   (11am-8pm)

 

Check the official schedule here: http://www.downtownrochestermn.com/news-events/MarketStrasseEntertainment.htm 

Another Christmas related activity is the Kahler Grand Hotel’s Dinner with Dickens.   The menu for dinner is a-la-carte parody referencing Ebenezer’s adventures.  Don’t expect bland English old-world food, the food is very tasty.   I highly recommend the  turkey soup and the osso buco, but I don’t think you can really go wrong with ordering anything off this limited menu.   The dinner portion was quite large and I did not have room for any of the amazing looking desserts, though I’ve heard the bread pudding is the best this side of the Mississippi.

The staff are dressed in period costumes to add to the atmosphere.   However, don’t expect any English accents here, staff is purely Midwest and do not put on airs.   We are in Minnesota after all, home of  ‘Minnesota Nice’.   Live carolers and a version of the classic film plays during the dinner as well.   This dinner is a fun twist on a traditional Christmas classic.   Reservations are recommended and it’s only open on Wednesdays and Thursdays so you have a limited time to take advantage of this.

 

Come join the celebration of the season and get in the spirit of the holidays by taking part in community events!

If you are looking for more info on a Shuttle to Rochester MN, please visit our homepage.

MSP to Rochester Shuttle recommends 5 Useful Travel Apps

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

MSP to Rochester Shuttle

MSP to Rochester shuttle

5 Useful Travel Apps

The traveling public on the MSP to Rochester shuttle  is constantly more technology focused.  It is more common to see an e-reader or laptop come out while waiting on the tarmack than it is to see a paperback.  While we are more connected than ever, having information at our fingertips is quite useful for a traveler.  Especially one that may not be familiar with the destination.

Here are some apps to help your trip go smoothly:

  • TripCase

We recommend TripCase over the popular TripIt. This app will show you flight legs and gate info available with most flight apps, but this also shows you what other flights are available that day for the destination on your airline. That way, if your flight gets in early, you can see the status of earlier flights even before deplaning. An easy way to make your travel day shorter by decreasing layover time at airports.

  • FlightAware

Knowing your plane is not at the gate is not enough any more.  Now you can find out if it’s just 5 minutes from arriving or if it’s still on the ground in Chicago.  This easy to use app will track your flight. You can see exactly where your plane is and then determine if you have time to run down the concourse to your favorite restaurant for a bite to eat, or if you only have time to grab a bag of chips at the nearest vendor. You can accept the push notifications to be kept up to date on gate changes, flight delays and cancellations.

  • Airline app

There is a lot of overlap between this app and the previous two but it’s worth considering downloading your airlines app.  Depending on which airline you fly, using the airlines app can be helpful. Using a more universal app is more realistic if you fly many different airlines, but if you are loyal to one company downloading their app is the way to go. Checking flight status, standby lists, and checking in are all frequently available functions.

Even if you don’t download the airline’s app you should consider setting up the voice announcements from your airline to come to your phone. This way you’ll get a call if your flight is late, there is a gate change, your connecting flights or baggage claim area.  No more trying to understand the garbled voice over the airports PA system.

  • Kayak

Kayak is Apple’s most popular iPhone travel app and it’s easy to see why. It is the easiest way to search for flights, hotels and car rentals all in one place. Additional features include a function for a Packing List. With Kayak you can track your flight, convert currency and check out tours and attractions around your destination.  Many users boast that they found less expensive options with fewer searches using this app than other travel sites.

  • GateGuru

This app contains a directory for 98 U.S. airports (124 airports overall) and more than 25 international hubs. Layovers at the airport have changed with the information from Gate Guru.  They take the guesswork out of finding an ATM, a last minute souvenir, or a restaurant that is worth the airport prices — wherever you happen to be delayed. Some locations even have user reviews, rankings, and photos.

Welcome

Monday, August 1st, 2011

Welcome to Rochester MNlincocin precio. This is a great community to live, work, and visit.
We hope you enjoy your time in Rochester.  You may find the following information helpful:

Rochester Visitors