Frontier Airlines Adds Non-Stop Philly Flights

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Frontier Airlines is once again expanding its presence at the Philadelphia International Airport. The airline is adding non-stop flights from Philadelphia to Fort Myers, Fla., and Montego Bay, Jamaica starting on Oct. 25.

The new routes are part of a larger announcement by the company to add new flights from eight “leisure markets” throughout the United States and Caribbean. Read more »

The Brief: Airlines to Spend Up to $2 Billion More on PHL Improvements

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1. A new lease agreement between airlines and the City of Philadelphia secures an additional $1.3-$2.1 billion in new airline spending at the airport and a $12 minimum for all PHL employees.

The gist: It took two years, but the city and the airlines operating out of Philadelphia International Airport have a new deal. It’ll last between five and seven years. Mayor Nutter signed off on it yesterday. The total overall value of the deal comes to $2.8 billion – $4 billion (depending on how long it runs), which includes as much as $2.1 billion in payments above and beyond the last deal, Wendy Ruderman reports for the Daily News.

By law, all that extra cash must be spent at the airport itself (sorry, schools). About $158 million is set aside for capital improvements at the airport, and as much as $750 million more could be spent on a single as-yet unannounced mega project. The rest will help the airlines “modernize operations,” though it’s not clear from the coverage what that means, exactly.

The big political stumbling block that was cleared in this deal is the requirement of a new $12 minimum wage for all airport employees, including those who work for the airlines through subcontractors. Securing that was a priority for City Council, which refused to sign off on an agreement that didn’t include that provision. Read more »

Jeremy Piven Says He Was Held “Hostage” on Stalled Plane at Philadelphia Airport

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Shutterstock.com

A British Airways flight traveling from London to New York City was diverted to Philadelphia Saturday due to bad weather, and one of the passengers, Entourage star Jeremy Piven, let the world know about it via Twitter.

According to philly.com, the hours-long ordeal started with the passengers being stuck on the runway for three hours. In a tweet that seems to have been deleted, Piven remarked: “Pilot refuses to fly to JFK here on British airways. People are starting to panic.”

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Airport Expansion Is Big for Philly Economy

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Now that a long-awaited settlement between the Philadelphia International Airport and neighboring Tinicum Township is a done deal, it’s an interesting time to examine the potential economic impact of the airport’s expansion plan.

It features an extended runway to accommodate larger planes; a new “automated people mover system;” a consolidated rental car area to cut down on traffic; and a redesign to Terminals B and C (which I know from personal experience can get very busy).

Airport officials have been saying for quite some time that the economic impact of PHL would grow from $14.4 billion annually to $26.4 billion in 2025. CEO Mark Gale says he plans to release updated figures in the future.

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Big Idea: Rename PHL for Ben Franklin

“No other town, burying its great man, ever buried more of itself than Philadelphia with Franklin.”

—Carl Van Doren, 1938

The United States has buried many a great leader throughout its storied history.  The funerals of Presidents Washington, Lincoln (150 years ago this month), Roosevelt, Kennedy and Reagan immediately come to mind.

Among American leaders who never occupied the presidency, the burial of the slain Martin Luther King Jr. 47 years ago, also this April, was another moment of immense national sadness.

And in Philadelphia, precisely 225 years ago on April 21st, the city’s most internationally renowned citizen, Dr. Benjamin Franklin, was laid to rest at Christ Church Cemetery in the presence of 20,000 mourners who had gathered at the State House (now Independence Hall) to pay final respects to their friend and neighbor — without whose unsurpassed contributions to the American Revolution the United States might have never been born. Read more »

Airline Review: I Flew Frontier to Miami for 30 Bucks

frontier

It was good news for Philadelphia travelers when Frontier Airlines announced in September it was returning to the Philadelphia market after a two-year absence. Not only would fliers get low fares from the new airline, it could push down prices among the competition.

“It’s going to force the legacy carrier that dominates the Philadelphia market, U.S. Airways… it forces them to bring down fares on those particular routes,” TravelPulse founder Mark Murphy told Fox 29 last year. “We have been waiting in Philadelphia for this to happen.”

Frontier is a low-budget carrier that nickel and dimes you. Checking your bag costs money. Carrying on your suitcase costs money. (A small personal item, to be stored under the seat, is free.) Extra legroom costs money. Soda and other drinks cost money. The airline also does offer an option called Classic Plus that’s fully refundable and includes most standard features, but those tickets are more expensive.

Frontier began flying again to and from Philadelphia on December 20th. When it made the announcement it was returning to the area, the airline was offering $14.99 fares to and from Miami. I booked a quick jaunt to Miami. I’d fly down one night, then fly back the next. (Frontier isn’t always this cheap, a ticket to Miami costs about $325 round trip this week. Booking the same trip in February is around $225 round-trip.)

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Fog Delaying Flights at PHL Airport

Flights are delayed an average of 75 minutes at Philadelphia International Airport today, as heavy fog led the FAA to order a ground stop this morning.

The foggy morning is expected to give away to a rainy afternoon, with precipitation moving in around 2 p.m.

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Baggage Handlers Picket at PHL Airport

A group of baggage handlers have been picketing at Philadelphia International Airport since this morning.

Though the Pennsylvania director of SEIU 32BJ called the action a strike, Philly.com reports no flights appear to be affected. The airport previously said airlines have a contingency plan in case of a strike. The striking workers are employees of PrimeFlight, an airline contractor, working in ground transportation at the airport (baggage handling, wheelchair transport, curbside check-in, etc.).

The non-union workers make as little as the federal minimum wage, $7.25 an hour. The minimum wage hike for city contractors Michael Nutter ordered in May does not apply to the PrimeFlight workers. Read more »

Passenger: I Was Kicked Off Flight at PHL for My Tweets

All Lisa Carter-Knight wanted to do was fly back to Boston. But the mother of three and “creator of the original Cocktail Competition” (per her Twitter profile) had to wait: Her flight was delayed Tuesday night. Carter-Knight tweeted the delay happened after the pilot accused passengers of accusing him of being drunk.

She later tweeted no passengers actually accused the pilot of this, and updated with a photo of the plane “grounded as authorities board plane for pilot sobriety test.”

You can guess what happened next.

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