Southwest hops on the pre-check bandwagon

Southwest frequent flyers of the Baltimore-Washington corridor, rejoice.

BWISouthwest, the airline of choice for 71 percent of BWI flyers, has joined the TSA pre-check program at BWI/Thurgood Marshall Airport. The airport now has TSA pre-check lanes at checkpoints A, C and D.

As noted in a Maryland Business blog post last week, the pre-check program applies to only a select few customers from each of the participating airlines. These lucky few are spared from taking off shoes, light outerwear and belts, and removing laptops and compliant fluids from their bags.

So you may see more flyers speeding through security at BWI. The TSA also said it will also create an application program later this year, so that even more can enjoy a less cumbersome checkpoint experience.

Broken water main soaks Saratoga St.

A broken six-inch water main shut down a portion of Saratoga Street near St. Paul Tuesday.

Water Main Break

A woman steps over water flooding the street after a water main broke Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013 in downtown Baltimore, Md. (The Daily Record photo/Maximilian Franz)

The broken pipe snarled morning rush hour traffic as it sent water bubbling up from the ground and running downhill toward Guilford Avenue.

Kurt Kocher, a spokesman for the city Department of Public Works, said the break was relatively minor and water outages, if any, would only affect a small number of buildings north of the intersection.

Kocher said crews were monitoring the break to ensure that it would not disrupt services at Mercy Medical Center or the Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. Courthouse which houses the Baltimore City Circuit Court.

Game-side assistance

Save the roadster.

That’s what AAA Mid-Atlantic is urging people to do. AAA — which, after all, has “automobile” in its name — has entered the fray as Hasbro, maker of Monopoly, has launched a campaign to let the public decide which of the game pieces will live to continue passing “go” and collecting $100 and which one will be relegated to the board-game mists of time.

In other words, the piece with the fewest votes ends up in jail permanently, dropped from Monopoly. (You can vote here.)

Ragina C. Averella, manager of public and government affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic, presents a logical argument for making sure the car stays in the game:

“Without the race car, how else are you going to get to the shore?” which references the game board’s roots in Atlantic City, N.J. “The race car is the only automotive token in the Monopoly game. Millions of motorists will be heartbroken if it disappears. Imagine playing the game and not getting to be the race car. It would be a crushing disappointment to everyone who dreams of getting behind the wheel as they race around Park Place.”

The thing is, AAA need not worry. Though the results won’t be announced until next month, the car is so far safely near the top, in second place behind the Scottie dog. The boot — which has always looked as if it had been lost and left outside in the rain for a week — is near the bottom and in big trouble.

And Hasbro has accomplished its goal, getting us actually talking about Monopoly.

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Eat, fly, love

If travelers through Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport have a long enough layover, they should scoot on over to Concourse B to eat, according to The Daily Meal website.

The site recently listed Obrycki’s as one of the world’s 31 best airport restaurants. (Was that a sigh we heard from world-weary frequent fliers who say the bar — or bar-restaurant — is set pretty low for such a list?)

Obrycki’s Concourse B location (there is a smaller bar on Concourse A) opened at BWI in July 2006. The Daily Meal recommends crab cakes, of course.


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Grounded? Here’s the place

If you have to get stuck in an airport, Dallas-Fort Worth International is the place to be, according to a survey at

MissTravel asked 5,000 of its members to pick the top airports they would least object to spending extra time in — those with the best space for working or relaxing and the most palatable dining options. Following D/FW at the top were Pittsburgh, Austin, Milwaukee and Chicago O’Hare.

Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport didn’t make the top 10, but at least it didn’t rank among the worst — which included Dulles,  Atlanta and JFK.

Then again, this survey was conducted before this bit of news: Pinkberry is now at BWI, on Concourse A/B. Pinkberry, which has spread across the country from California, serves delicious frozen yogurt.

And, by the way, if you were wondering what is, the site describes itself this way: “ is the only online dating website for travelers, and more specifically, we match Generous travelers who hate to travel alone with Attractive travelers who would love the opportunity to travel the world for free.”

Now, don’t get the wrong idea. A note on the home page advises: “ is strictly an online dating website. Escorts are not welcome.”

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Model behavior required on Abercrombie jet

If you want to be on the flight crew for Abercrombie & Fitch Co.’s corporate jet, you can’t have cold feet — metaphorically, that is. Because literally you may well have cold feet.

According to the detailed instructions laid down in an “Aircraft Standards” manual — which apparently was partly written by Matthew Smith, partner of Abercrombie CEO Michael Jeffries — the strict standards of attire for cabin attendants mandated that they always wear flip-flops.

The manual is contained in a federal lawsuit filed in 2010 by a pilot, now 55, who claims he was fired for being too old.

A Bloomberg news story lays out the standards for the attendants:

The flight crew uniform included Abercrombie jeans, polo shirts, flip-flops, sweatshirts and a winter coat, with some items applying just to males: a belt, hat, gloves, boxer briefs and a ‘spritz’ of the retailer’s cologne. The coats were only to be worn when the temperature fell to 50 degrees or lower, with the collar flipped, and the flip-flops were mandatory in flight and when meeting passengers.

Abercrombie hires the attendants from Cosmopolitan Management LLC, Bloomberg reports. The “About” section of Cosmopolitan’s website reads: “Since 1992, Cosmopolitan Management has been staffing events using actors and models with just the right look and personality.” Cosmopolitan actor/models are also employed at the home Jeffries and Smith share in Columbus, Ohio, according to court papers.

As Abercrombie’s fortunes have fallen in recent years, the retailer’s board sought to limit Jeffries’ personal use of the corporate jet, paying him $4 million in 2010 so he would compile no more than $200,000 worth of jet use in a year.

And, speaking of Abercrombie & Fitch…

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1-2-3 red light

Today’s news item about Westminster shutting down two of three red-light cameras obviously holds greater interest for those of us who frequent those highways. But one aspect of the report really jumps out.

Westminster Police Chief Jeffrey Spaulding recommended turning off the devices at the heavily trafficked intersection of routes 140 and 97 on the eastern end of town because it was more dangerous that people weren’t running red lights.

It certainly sounds counterintuitive, but Spaulding said there were more accidents at the intersection because of the cameras. Rear-end crashes apparently were occurring as drivers stopped short to avoid red-light tickets while trailing vehicles were ready to take a shot at getting through the intersection.

OK, the chief certainly wasn’t endorsing red-light running, but he was pointing out that his department was seeing more accidents from people suddenly stopping than rolling through. Maybe motorists are more conditioned not to trust that other drivers will stop.



Stop hogging the left lane!

This is for all those slow-poke drivers who hog the left lane – the passing lane – by driving at less than the posted speed limit.

The Delaware Senate has unanimously, and without debate, passed a bill prohibiting slow-moving vehicles from remaining in the left lane and impeding traffic on Delaware highways. First-time offenders can expect a fine of at least $28, which could go up to $230 per violation. Repeat offenders could be fined as much as $575 per violation.

The bill was unanimously approved in the House of Representatives last month, and now goes to Gov. Jack Markell for his signature.

The bill’s chief sponsor, Democrat William Carson of Smyrna, said slow-pokes on the highway who drive at less than the posted speed limit, who block cars from passing them and cause traffic backups, frequently are the cause of road rage on the part of those who want to get around them.

An amendment to the bill specifies that motorists traveling at the posted speed limit in the left lane would not be in violation of the legislation.

As a driver who frequently passes through Delaware, I applaud the “First State” for its forward-thinking law, and I hope other states will adopt this sensible approach.

Now if DelDOT would only finish all that construction on I-95, I might be able to get through Delaware faster than ever.

No go on Ocean City gas promo

The town of Ocean City announced Friday it won’t be going forward with a proposed gas promotion.

The town made an announcement on June 3 it was gearing up for a $100,000 free gas promotion, making it the first resort town in the country to do so. The announcement was listed on Ocean City’s website, although it has since been removed.

“After reflection, the council established that gas giveaway promotions in place throughout the local business community are effective and a town-sponsored giveaway would only be of benefit to a small number of visitors,” according to a statement from the town.

Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan said in a statement that the proposed promotion was reconsidered by the city council and many of Ocean City’s free events should be focused in promotional efforts instead.

But that’s not to say visitors can’t get gas card offers through businesses in Ocean City. (Put away your pitchfork and spare Rodney the Lifeguard!) Many incentives are listed on the town’s website, and by checking the “Rodney’s Roadside Assistance” box.

As for those free events (because we all love free things), you can still find them listed here.

I want to ride my bicycle…

Now that the weather’s nicer and traffic is just lousy around downtown already, commuting to work by bicycle is looking like a better option these days.

Waterfront Partnership and Bike Maryland are teaming up to host a workshop June 30 on the basics of bicycle commuting. Interested bicyclists will learn on how to get started on biking, staying safe on those dangerous roads, choosing the right equipment, routes and what to do in inclement weather.

All attendees will be entered to win a TREK 700 hybrid bike. The event, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., will be free, but attendees must register.

Check out Waterfront Partnership‘s site for more details and registration.