Thursday, 24 of April of 2014

The Grand Mysteries Of Philly’s Airport

Philadelphia International Airport is considered one of the best in the country, but that doesn’t mean it is without its faults. Like any kind of self-contained world, it has its own myths and folklore. Some of it is fictional and comes from movies or television shows that have featured Philly International as part of the backdrop for a drama. Some of the Philly airport myths are simply a part of passenger frustration at trying to navigate through the terminals and surrounding areas. Here are some of the top Philly airport myths and whether or not they are true.

Terminal ‘F’ doesn’t exist

False. Terminal ‘F’ does exist in more than an architect’s imagination. However, it can be difficult to access from the other terminals. You have to travel by shuttle bus from the main terminal out to ‘F.’ You can find the shuttle stop located down the escalators between the entrance to terminal C and D. The shuttle stop is outside and is not very well protected so come prepared to protect yourself and your luggage should it be raining or snowing. Once you are on the shuttle, you will quickly arrive at the once mythical and mysterious land of Terminal ‘F.’

There is plenty of available parking

True and false. There is always plenty of available parking at Philadelphia International Airport; it just may not be where you want to park. Philadelphia International uses an electronic monitoring system to track the number of cars in and out of the terminal spaces to determine how many available slots are left. This count is posted in various locations outside the terminal to help driver’s locate spaces. Of course, the fastest spaces to go are those nearest the Arrivals and Departures gate and in the parking garages. You can’t guarantee you won’t have to park and take a shuttle bus in, but you will always have parking at this airport.

Free Wi-Fi Everywhere

Half-true. There is free Wi-Fi throughout the entire airport however the placement of the routers does not appear to be working well with the physical structure of the building. There are only a few clear areas where you can receive a full signal. This is no more and no less than what you would expect in any large building with Wi-Fi service. Try walking around and seeing where your connection is strongest before giving up hope on connecting to the Internet.

The Cell Phone Parking lot is on another street

False. Once upon a time it was a designated area on the way into the terminal and little more than a widened shoulder near a bad part of town. Now, it is an official and well-marked parking lot. It is still set just outside the terminal entrances to the parking lots and Arrival and Departure gates so you may want to rethink your timing when telling someone when you will meet them at their gate.

Electronic Walkways make travel faster

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False. Electronic walkways are not designed to make travel through an airport faster or easier. They are designed to help those with mobility issues and heavy flight bags to travel the wide expanses between gates. If you are mobile, semi-healthy and don’t have a ton of luggage – get off. You will just be frustrated and disappointed if you stay on. By the way, unlike an escalator, there is no “passing on the left” etiquette on an electronic walkway.

Pilots Study The Recent Labor Deal

A proposed merger between US Airways and American airlines is being closely studied by representatives of the pilots from both associations. The details within the proposed merger are not publicly known, but the pilots are weighing the impact of the deal on labor agreements. The discussions are being conducted under the guidelines of a memorandum of understanding between the separate pilots groups, a direct result of a contract signed between them to ensure fairness in negotiations for a long term agreement.

The Last Word

Agreements have already been reached with the flight attendants and mechanics of both airlines leaving the pilot’s organizations as the last union to make a decision based upon the fairness and applicability of the agreement. Industry analysts believe that the merger could mean a lifeline to both carriers and the routes they represent. The pilots, the highest paid of all airline employees, are carefully renewing and negotiating the terms as they know that due to seniority concerns, replacing them would not be easy. Even though there is a tactic agreement between the unions and the companies to avoid a job action while the labor agreement is under negotiation, American spokespeople have been loud and clear about the fact that any strike by the pilots would be determined unlawful by a court of law. To date, no job action has been suggested but the pilot’s organizations have expressed concern with how the merger of the two companies would manage seniority.

The Tangle

One of the main issues that the pilots are studying in the labor deal is exactly how two different lists of seniority for pilots is going to be combined and retain its fairness in establishing pay, benefits and route choice. While US Airways pilots are bound to benefit from the furlough and pay security that American pilots have had, there is less surety for American pilots that they will not be downgraded in their seniority standing. Seniority, in the world of commercial aviation, determines everything. Your ranking on the seniority list determines whether you have right of rejection on prime routes and flying times, what pay grade you are eligible for and when you can schedule furlough. For a long term American pilot to lose seniority because of the merged lists, this could have a serious impact on their lives.

The Resolution

It is important to remember that even if the pilot groups approve the labor deal (as have all the other unions involved) this does not determine the approval for the merger. Approval by all unions would be taken as a point in strong favor of the approval of the merger. Should the pilots reject the labor deal or reach a stalemate that may move into a job action, the courts could throw out the proposed merger and all negotiations would have to start again. It is also important to bear in mind that the pilot’s organizations are studying the proposed labor deal but that all direct talks between the unions and the airlines is suspended. Both sides have indicated a willingness to resume negotiations but the American Pilots Association (APA) also approved a strike vote authorization. It remains to see who has the carrot and who has the stick in this instance. The companies, with the planes to fly and jobs – or the unions with the pilots to fly the planes and fill the jobs.