Thursday, January 29, 2015

Let's be social WHAT WAS I THINKING??? (An Ontario Airport tweeter gets unwanted attention)

While searching for the latest news about major investments that Los Angeles World Airports is planning for Ontario International Airport, I ran across a breaking story about a United Airlines jet that took off from LAX, bound for Dulles.

It didn't get that far.

In fact, it only got as far as Ontario before making an emergency landing.

At the time that I read the story, there was no official word on what caused the abortion of the flight. So we had to rely upon "citizen journalists" to fill in the gaps.

"They can't deplane us until the fire is out, it's not in the cabin. Cabin has smoke in it though. It was smoky mid-flight. Again, not fun," tweeted passenger Mitchell Hashimoto...

But then...

...who later deleted the post, citing unwanted media attention.

Well, not exactly. As the founder of HashiCorp, Hashimoto presumably wants media attention - of a particular type.

When I checked Hashimoto's Twitter feed, I did find a few tweets about the flight.

9:11 am:

I don’t think I’ll be flying to Belgium today. One flight is good enough for me today. Well try again another day.

9:12 am:

But also, our pilot handled that situation super fast and professionally. High five.

That second tweet elicited a reply from Rachel Hawatmeh, someone that Hashimoto didn't know.

@mitchellh Hi Mitchell, reaching out from ABC News, can you give us a call at 818 553 5500??

At some point Hashimoto tweeted the information on the fire. He later deleted the tweet, but the text was preserved by - you guessed it - ABC News.

Eventually, Hashimoto tweeted this at 10:06 am:

Sorry folks, deleting some tweets because I’m being contacted by press about my flight and I’m not interested.

The sentiment is understandable - one moment you're on your way to Belgium, the next you're stuck in Ontario, without a Hugo Boss store in sight.

But when HashiCorp wants coverage for its latest product, forget about getting coverage from ABC News. Rachel Hawatmeh will be otherwise occupied.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Addendum to last year's post about Tom Bradley International Terminal

Since Ontario's local airport will be managed by the city of Los Angeles for the foreseeable future, it's natural to take an interest in the airport that the city of Los Angeles REALLY cares about. As a result, I wrote a post on March 27, 2014 in this blog that concerned the placement of the restaurants at the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX. After the recent renovation, most of the restaurants that were BEFORE the security checkpoint had been removed. Great if you're flying out of LAX, but not good if you're meeting someone or dropping someone off.

Well, now it's 2015, and I recently had the opportunity to be on the other side of security at TBIT.

This is just part of the shopping area between the gates. Yes, there are food places behind security, but frankly the majority of them are pretty dinky, and the nicest sit-down restaurant was completely empty. At lunchtime.

It turns out that restaurants aren't the primary focus of the redesigned TBIT. Shopping is. The TBIT shops include:

Bead Factory North Concourse
Bliss South Concourse
Bvlgari Great Hall
CNN Newsstand South Concourse
Coach Great Hall
Emporio Armani Great Hall
Fred Segal Great Hall
Hollywood Reporter South Concourse
Hudson Great Hall
Hugo Boss Great Hall
iStore Boutique Great Hall
Kitson Great Hall
Michael Kors Great Hall
Porsche Design Great Hall
Relay Great Hall
Sanrio South Concourse
See's Candies North Concourse
The Economist North Concourse
Tumi Great Hall
Victoria's Secret Great Hall
XpresSpa South Concourse

So while my personal goal was to eat a burrito at the Border Grill, apparently the TBIT planners are instead catering to the shoppers at Victoria's Secret and Porsche Design. This makes sense, when you think about it; people who are flying internationally tend to have more disposable income. Back in 2012, LAX and shopping manager Westfield anticipated $98 million in sales.

LAWA wants the TBIT offer to change LAX from a transit point to a destination in its own right. The airport operator, which is a department of the City of Los Angeles, confidently predicts that “the new TBIT will revolutionise the passenger experience in North America”.

Which begs the local question - what does this mean for Ontario International Airport? Will Los Angeles World Airports invest hundreds of millions of dollars to bring Coach, Fred Segal, Hugo Boss, and the like to our airport?

You can stop laughing now.

Frankly, I'd be happy if the existing shops and restaurants would actually stay open for the entire day.