All posts in Hot Topics

Frequent flyers’ rating of TSA airport security leaves much to be desired

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

TSA infographicEighty-seven percent of frequent flyers think that the Transportation Security Administration is doing either a poor or fair job in performing security screenings at the nation’s airports, according to a new survey of frequent flyers conducted by Frequent Business Traveler magazine.

The survey finds that the typical American frequent flyer continues to hold the TSA in low regard with 71.9% of respondents indicating the TSA’s screening procedures are either not effective or not too effective at preventing acts of terrorism on an aircraft, an increase of 4.9 percentage points from 2014 and 6.4 from 2013.

In contrast, only 20.8% indicated the procedures are somewhat effective, 5.5% said very effective, and 1.9% said extremely effective.

A total of 2,129 respondents took part in the online survey conducted from August 21 through September 24 in partnership with FlyerTalk, the world’s largest online travel community, and ExpertFlyer, a provider of air travel information tools.

“This year’s survey results show that the TSA has a long way to go to build confidence in its mission,” said Jonathan Spira, editorial director, Frequent Business Traveler.  “Our survey respondents traverse security checkpoints multiple times each month and are in an excellent position to render a verdict on this subject,” he added.

Other Key Findings

—  Nearly 45% stated they were not satisfied with their last security experience;

—  Over three quarters (76.7%) of survey respondents have used PreCheck, the TSA trusted traveler security lanes.

— Satisfaction for PreCheck continues to fall from a high of 80.3% in 2013 to 62.7% in 2015 and the drop may be partially attributed to the TSA’s policy of allowing infrequent travelers, whose unfamiliarity with procedures slows down the screening process, into PreCheck lanes.




“Did you know…Man gets thrown in jail because he was 100 pounds heavier than his passport photo?”

Atterbell Maplanka

Atterbell Maplanka reunites with family – Photo via The Argus

In a recent USA Today story, it was reported that Atterbell Maplanka was arrested at Heathrow Airport after returning to London from his mother’s funeral in Zimbabwe because border officials refused to believe his passport was legitimately his own, since he appeared much heavier than his passport photo.

A resident of the UK for more than 15 years, Maplanka was prohibited from reentering the country. Instead, he was arrested and sent to an Immigration Removal Center after agents failed to recognize Maplanka as the markedly thinner man in his own passport photo. Maplanka did admit that he gained about 125 lbs. since the photo was taken.

Read the full story here.

“Did you know…’World’s best’ travel jacket gets $9m on Kickstarter?”

The Economist recently reported that crowd-funding site, Kickstarter, facilitated raising more than $9m for the “world’s best” travel jacket by a company called Baubax.

travel jacket

This is no ordinary blazer…far exceeding the creator’s funding goal of $20,000, the jacket, which looks more like a zip-up hoodie, sports more than a dozen pockets to hold all the key accoutrements of travelers who like getting around with minimal baggage.  In fact, there’s a pocket for your tablet, passport, phone, phone-chargers – even space for a blanket. That’s not all. The jacket has other features: earphone-holders, a built-in travel pillow, an eye mask, gloves, a pen/stylus and a microfibre cloth all form part of the garment.

With the continued increase in baggage fees and the convenience of light travel, this seems worth a look-see.

Tax crackdown on home rentals in the sharing economy

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway  

The poster child of the travel sharing economy, Airbnb, has more than 20 million users; 640,000 hosts and facilitates more than half a million stays a night. But municipalities, like Paris, and Airbnb itself, are cracking down on tax collections from property owners who have been enjoying financial rewards. Watch our interview with Rob Stephens of Avalara MyLodge Tax, a financial and tax expert in the home rental space, and learn what you need to do to comply and minimize your risk with the IRS.

Great International Golf Getaways

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

In part 1 of our Golf Getaway series, we offered a snapshot of some U.S. golfing resorts that may not be on your radar, but are worthy of a tee or two.  Because golf is one of the easiest sports to take with you on vacation, in part 2 of our series we profile phenomenal international courses that attract millions of golfers from around the world in the hopes of winning a championship, improving their personal handicap, or just learning the rules of the game – surrounded by stunning landscapes.

St. Andrews, scotland golf

St. Andrews, Scotland

A trip to St. Andrews, Scotland should be on every golfer’s bucket list. St. Andrews is considered the birthplace of golf, in part because the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, founded in 1754, exercises legislative authority over the game worldwide (except in the U.S. and Mexico). St. Andrews boasts challenging, but beautiful courses along with historic castles, botanical gardens, local festivals and relaxing spas.

If you’re looking for something a bit more temperate, there are a host of international golf getaway destinations.  Here are some that may be new to you:

Lucaula Island

Laucala Island, Fiji

Laucala Island, Fiji

Home of the exclusive Laucala Resort, this private island also features a championship 18-hole golf course with volcanic mountains as its backdrop and a sheer cliff drop into the Pacific Ocean. Non-golfers will enjoy an array of watersports, rainforest walking tours, relaxing beaches, farm visits, game fishing and horseback riding.

Royal Isabella, Puerto Rico

Royal Isabella, Puerto Rico



Royal Isabela, Puerto Rico

This course was designed on site, not on paper, so the land would dictate the final layout with minimal impact on the surrounding area. Native grasses, natural sand dunes and deep canyons are integral to the layout and pose challenges at every hole. Family members will enjoy the private club lifestyle on this 1800 acre resort with beach, nature trail and farm to table restaurant.

casa de campo, Costa Rica

Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic

Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic

Golf fans will clamor to play Teeth of the Dog, which is ranked the #1 course in the Caribbean. The stunning, waterfront scenery will surely distract from your game. Dye Fore is the second championship golf course on this property, with 7 cliff-side holes and breathtaking 360 degree views. Your kids will enjoy one of the 3 kids clubs that have age-appropriate activities scheduled. There are also tennis courts, polo fields, beaches, spa and a shooting facility.

Algarve, Portugal

Algarve, Portugal

Algarve, Portugal

Algarve is Portugal’s southernmost region, known for its sunny Mediterranean climate and its beach and golf resorts. Algarve is home to 80 golf courses, stunning scenery and for your non-golfers, there are plenty of historic sites along with walking trails, surfing, parasailing, hang gliding, clubs, restaurants and local festivals and events.

We’d love to hear where you played your favorite round of golf! Leave a comment below.