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Search Engine Optimization :: Lyndsay Walker :: Toronto, Ontario

Hey Air Travellers – Keep Your Shoes On

shoes-largeHey good news for those who travel by air frequently, or even infrequently! Canadian Air Transport Security Authority issued a bulletin to front-line officers outlining the new policy.

Security officials can no longer require you to remove your shoes before passing through the metal detectors. This means no more scrambling to get your shoes off while holding up impatient people in line behind you. No more embarrassment over your mismatched socks or socks with the big hole that your toe pokes out of.

One exception and this should come as no shock to anyone – passengers heading to the United States. The standards set by Washington overrule the new Canadian policy.

Another exception occurs after a passenger has set off the metal detectors. At this point, the passenger can be requested to remove his/her shoes.

Passengers can still voluntarily remove their shoes. In fact, that’s what I’ll be doing since I often wear steel toed boots. If I know my boots are going to set off the metal detectors anyway, I might as way save everyone some trouble and remove them right off the bat.

This policy is effective immediately, though won’t be in the operating manual until the next edition is released.

Here’s hoping this will lead to a little more fluidity and a little less pain next time you’re travelling through a Canadian airport.

Information from: Yahoo! Canada News.

SMX Advanced and SES Toronto

It was a bit odd at first to go from traveling somewhere almost every weekend to not going anywhere in three months. I admit, it’s been nice, but I’m feeling the itch to get out out of Winnipeg lately!

Good thing it’s almost June. I’m attending back to back conferences next week. From June 2-3, it’s Search Marketing Expo Advanced in Seattle and from June 8-9, it’s Search Engine Strategies in Toronto.

SMX Advanced will be a big change from what I’m used to at conferences. For one, there are four of us sharing a suite. Will there be sleep? Ha, I would guess not. Pillow fights in our underwear? Well I don’t want to crush anyone’s dreams, so I won’t comment. Haha. But for the first time in a while, I’m not speaking at the conference I’m attending. I think this will take off a lot of pressure and I can just sit back and absorb the info. Given that this is an advanced show, I felt that was extra important.

And, as usual, I’ll be speaking at SES Toronto. This time I’m speaking on a site clinic. This is awesome because I won’t have to prepare a presentation. Plus I love doing site audits! The best part about SES Toronto is that it’s TORONTO. Home. Oh, sweet home. I will take in every siren, horn honking and close call with a taxi.

If you’re going to be at either of these shows, be sure to come on up and say hi!

Airports!

Seriously.

Okay I work for an airline, and I’d say I fly anywhere from 6-10 times in a month. Most of the time that’s standby so I do a LOT of airport waiting.

You’d think airports might take into consideration that travellers are often tired, and possibly stressed or irate because of flight delays, cancellations, etc.

Right now I’m sitting at the Buffalo International Airport, thanking the good Lord that I found an unused plug and can just work with my headphones on. Why? Apparently someone decided it would be a good idea to have ALL the carts that have to drive through the terminal have a constant “BEEEEEEP BEEEEEEP”, like a reverse indicator. Really, wouldn’t a horn suffice? Just use it as needed.

Here is my list of airport “must-haves” and the airports that succeed in that area (of course, these are just airports I’ve visited):

WiFi
For heaven’s sake, why ANY terminal wouldn’t have WiFi is beyond me. Such a huge percent of air travellers are flying for business, so why not make it easy to work while you’re waiting for your flight?
Airports that do this well: Calgary (YYC), Winnipeg (YWG), Toronto (YYZ Terminal 3 – although they didn’t get it until late last year!), Buffalo (BUF)

FREE WiFi
Maybe a pipe dream. Okay, probably a pipe dream. Why would any company give up changing for a service with such a huge return on investment?
Airports that do this well: None that I know of!

Lounges
When I started commuting from Winnipeg to Calgary every week, I made use of the lounge in the Winnipeg Airport. For just $15, I have access to a nice quiet area, uber-comfy couches and chairs, plus for my laptop, free continental breakfast and best of all complementary WiFi!! WestJet has lounges in three other cities – Vancouver, Calgary, and Ottawa – but none have the bang for your buck that Winnipeg does. Sure, there’s no hot buffet like Vancouver… no great view like Calgary… but it’s cheaper and you get the Internet. And that’s what does it for me. Actually, Vancouver has WiFi too. But it costs more. Oh how working for a low-cost airline has been driven into my head.
Airports that do this well: Winnipeg (YWG), Vancouver (YVR)

Boarding Gates
So you don’t want to hang out in the lounge. Fair enough, you could miss important pages about your flight, since those pages aren’t heard in the lounges. But do you really want to sit and wait on a plastic bench with a little padding? No. Wouldn’t you like something not so hard on your back? I sure do. And that’s why when I’m at Calgary’s airport, I stalk the nice comfy leather chairs that some gates have… waiting for one to open up and I grab it. Calgary’s the only airport I know of that has a comfortable seating option that’s open to anyone, just not special assistance guests.
Airports that do this well: Calgary (YYC)

Well I think my long lost flight to New York City has arrived so I will be logging off now. Any comments or suggestions for my list, let me know!

Google includes flight info in search results

For a while, Google’s flight tracker tool has allowed searchers to enter an airline’s flight number, showing a link to that flight’s updated information on www.flightstats.com.

Google announced yesterday that it is now included those flight stats right in the search results. See below for WestJet’s flight WS 208:

WestJet WS 208 Cheap flights

This is great for the user – a simple and effective way to find out if his or her flight is on time. Of course, WestJet guests also have the option of visiting WestJet.com’s Flight Tracker to find out the status of flights.

Now, how do we tell FlightStats.com that they’ve spelled WestJet wrong?  10 lashes with a wet noodle!

WestJet Cheap Flights

Transborder Travel

Well, first of all, I had an absolutely fabulous week in Las Vegas. As soon as I got on the plane to come home, however, the fatigue and hunger I’d been ignoring all week hit me. All of the sudden I regretted choosing a flight that connected in Vancouver.

As I deplaned in Vancouver I hurried along my way, hoping to get to my next gate with enough plenty of time to enjoy Vancouver Airport’s traveller’s lounge (complete with hot buffet, WiFi and comfy leather seats). I knew I had to pass through customs, but it shouldn’t be too bad right?

WRONG! The lineup was massive!! It moved fairly quickly, but I still had to wait in line for 50 minutes, with a heavy backpack and a heavy purse. I was tired and hungry and cranky to say the least. Then my eyes gazed upon something… a reminder of something I had been meaning to apply for for a long time…

Nexus. Nexus is a program that allows hassle-free passage between Canada and the US. I’ve known about it for years. I’ve always thought it would be great to have that. But it wasn’t until the hot, sweaty wait in line, as I yearned for the empty Nexus line (it’s self-serve!) that I was finally motivated to apply.

As soon as I got my self to the travel lounge, I hopped online and started my application. For $50, I can bypass all the customs lines for air, land and sea crossings. Definitely worth it I’d say! Now I wait a few weeks and find out if I’m approved. The application took my an hour to do, I had to account for every minute of the past five years. Fingers crossed, everything will go smoothly, and I’ll be bypassing everyone at customs when I head to Orlando next month. And that includes my fiance who doesn’t think the $50 is worth it. Ha! We’ll see!

Tales of the San Jose Airport

Not really knowing what to expect, I planned to arrive at the airport for my flight home to Winnipeg nice and early.

As the taxi rounded the airport and we passed Terminal 1, the line for Southwest was outrageously long. I’m thinking to myself, WOW am I ever glad I’m three hours early.

But then we got to the United area of Terminal 3 and no one is waiting. Well that’s good anyway.

I cleared security at about 8:30, but the flight doesn’t leave until 10:55. Looooooooong wait. But thankfully I found a seat next to a plug and forked over $10 for Internet access until we depart.

Still have a little more than an hour to go and I am ready for the nice nap I plan to take on the plane. I figure I’ll need the rest for my mad-dash sprint across two terminals at O’Hare. Yipee!!

Internet at the Hilton San Jose

I haven’t taken my laptop down to the WIFI spots here at the Hilton yet – frankly, my laptop is a piece of crap so I’m leaving it in my room.

I was rather disappointed to learn that not only is WIFI not available in the guestrooms, but wired high speed internet is not free. Okay, so I pay my $53 or whatever it is, and am happy because I’m at least connected for the rest of my stay.

I have never experienced such slow internet since the last time I was making use of my 56K. This is absolutely rediculous. I have no idea how long it’ll take to publish this post – if it’ll even get that far.

SearchEngineWatch.com is lost to me. I’ve been trying for 20 minutes now to make a post. I don’t know if that site is bogged down because of added traffic from the conference, but I cannot believe how hard it is.

Come on people. It’s 2006. No one expects these waits anymore!!!