Posts about travel

Bad news for London fliers

Eos, the great all-business (all-first, actually) airline to London is shutting down after something snagged its $50 million in financing, forcing it into bankruptcy. This pretty much leaves Silverjet, which I fly every time to London (and which offered Eos paassengers tickets at the same price). I can only hope that with the reasonably priced all-business market to London pretty much to itself — even though Virgin and BA are going to bring in all-biz flights, they are sure to be much more expensive — this will help Silverjet. If I had to fly one of the big, old guys at their big, old prices, I think I’d become an American isolationist. Man, the airline industry is a mess and with the price of fuel doing what it’s doing and the credit crunch, it’s only going to get messier. Damn.

More Lisbon




And the Lapa Palace was nice enough to equip the room well…


In Lisbon

Got to Lisbon at 5:30 this morning and, thanks to a flat-bed seat and Ambien, felt civilized enough to go out for a run around town.

A view from the room:


Bright, polished silver in the fish market:







Taking flight — and fixing it

The other day, I wrote about how I’d like to see airplane flights become social economies as a way to improve and add value to the now-tortured experience. Of course, much of the hassle of flying is in the unfortunately necessary security gauntlet, and others are talking about how to improve that — including the security people running it.

Anthony Williams of Wikinomics points us to an article in FCW describing a successful effort to gather ideas and information from Transportation Security Administration employees through a closed wiki. Williams regrets that we passengers can’t join in and I think he’s right. There’s are obvious reasons why the TSA wiki is closed — namely, security and secrets — but they’d be wise to create a parallel wiki and forum where we, the passengers, could give our ideas and where the TSA people can try out theirs on us.

In the FCW article, Jennifer Dorn, CEO of the National Academy of Public Administration, talks about “rebooting the public square” this way. In a speech, she tells about hearing of the TSA initiative from Kip Hawley, its assistant secretary:

After a great dinner and stimulating conversation, Hawley leaned over and, in a tone reminiscent of the famous scene in the movie “The Graduate,” said, “Jenna, I want to say one word to you. Just one word.”

“Yes?” I said.

“Are you listening?”

“Yes, I am,” I replied.

“Wiki.” . . .

TSA’s Idea Factory is a secure intranet, restricted to registered users inside the agency. It has become an instant hit. Airport TSOs now share ideas for improving their workplace environment and strategies for making the traveling public more secure. Within a week of its launch, TSA employees had submitted more than 150 ideas, offered more than 650 comments and voted on ideas more than 800 times.

Dorn realizes that this is about more than improving airport security. This is about improving government.

Today, we at the academy are convinced that collaborative technology has the potential to transform government in America, to tap into the expertise of people outside the hierarchy of any single agency or department, to make government more transparent, and to open the door to a broader array of experts focused on solving a particular problem or to citizens who want to contribute to making government work better. . . .

As a public administrator, I believe that the real power of collaborative technology extends far beyond the practical solutions that I’ve outlined. It is more than a new capability. It enables an entirely new way of thinking about the everyday management challenges of government. The real power of collaborative technology lies in its promise for bringing citizens back to the public square to re-engage them in the work of government and solving the problems of America and the world.

: Back to improving airlines and airports. Brad Templeton, chairman of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, is filled with ideas. Found via the Lufthansa discussion, where I’ve not been able to post my comment.


I’m off to London for a week and a half today. Flying again on SilverJet so I can sleep (disclosure: I got a comped return thanks to my attendance at a Founders’ Club event; since I bought the ticket late, the net is that I’m paying their regular rate). If I can get a flat-bed seat and sleep on the way over to Europe, it makes all the difference in the world; I gain a day of consciousness. I’ll be working at the Guardian and SkyNews and have lots of other things scheduled: a visit at the BBC, a Yahoo event, a trip to Cambridge, a bonfire. I always leave London energized by the innovation and action there vs. the often Eeyorish moaning I hear here. I’ll also leave London poorer; the dollar is a mess and I’ll be lucky to afford Wimpy burgers. Here’s how bad it is: I’m staying at a Holiday Inn. I think I could be fired from Conde Nast for that if I hadn’t quit. Reports will come as wifi allows.