The Tactical Traveler



This week: Airline on-time ratings plummet; Priority Pass offers airport club access at a discount; where to find a carrier’s "Contract of Carriage”; Laptop Lane opens outposts at six airports; Staples set to open in Philadelphia International airport; high-speed Arlanda Express rail service will link Stockholm to Arlanda Airport; and more.

BY THE NUMBERS: DOT Details Air Service Deterioration
The latest Air Travel Consumer Report from the Department of Transportation ( reveals a serious deterioration in airline on-time service. Industry-wide, only 70.8 percent of flights operated by the 10 major carriers arrived on-time during the month of July. The worst performer, America West, had an on-time rating of just 59.7 percent.… The airport where arrivals were most likely to be delayed in July? Philadelphia International, where 59.6 percent of planes arrived on time. Best airport for on-time arrivals? Salt Lake City, at 81.9 percent.… Twenty-five flights arrived late at least 85 percent of time in July. All but six were operated by USAirways or America West. Worst in the nation? USAirways Flights 1692 from Richmond to New York's LaGuardia Airport. It operated late 96 percent of the time in July and averaged 68 minutes late. … DOT's next report is due October 4.

COST CUTTERS: Airport Clubs at a Discount
The single best investment business travelers can make in their on-the-road comfort is buying membership in an airport club. But if you think it's absurd to give one carrier upwards of $400 for annual membership in a club network of as few as 30 clubs, try Priority Pass ( For just $299 a year, Priority Pass gives you access to more than 260 clubs in 65 countries. Among the lounges that accept the Priority Pass: all TWA Ambassadors and America West clubs, three dozen Delta Crown Rooms and domestic Northwest WorldClubs.

BEST OF THE WEB: Rights and Rules
If you want to know an airline's policy on virtually anything, it's probably part of the carrier's "Contract of Carriage." The contract is supposed to be available at any ticket counter, but lots of luck finding one. But check into the Rules of the Air section of ( and you'll find Terry Trippler's cogent analysis of the contracts of more than a dozen airlines. … Meanwhile, an online version of the Transportation Department's Fly Rights brochure is now posted on the DOT site (

CONNECTIONS: The Airport Update
A company called Laptop Lane ( has opened outposts at six U.S. airports. The firm rents private workstations, equipped with computers, laser printers, fax machines and T-1 connections. The all-inclusive price: $2 for the first five minutes, then 38 cents a minute. … Staples (, the big office-supplies retailer, expects to open its first airport store at Philadelphia International by the end of the month. The 1,500-square-foot kiosk will be located in Concourse B. … Hilton opened a 600-room hotel at Boston's Logan Airport on September 15. The hotel ( is directly connected to all terminals. The opening rate is $169 a night through October 15. … A 200-kilometer-per-hour train, the Arlanda Express (, will link Stockholm to Arlanda Airport in about 20 minutes. That's about half the time required by bus or taxi. The service, due to begin later this year, will cost about US$15 one-way.

This column originally appeared at

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