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  1. Those a pretty big names to close IMO...Sephora to me stands out for some reason. I wonder if the Apple store there is on borrowed time.
  2. I'm not really sure what Finnair's Asia network has to do with CLT as the North American market was never their target market for their Asian flights…Western Europe was. No one in their right mind would fly say USA-HEL-Asia when an abundance of nonstop flights exist (well existed pre-pandemic) to Asia from the US. The only Asian markets where a connection in Helsinki would geographically make sense would be to India or Southeast Asia, but I don't recall their Southeast Asian flights being timed for US connections. Most of their US flights land in Helsinki in the span between 10am and 11am, and their flights to Bangkok and Singapore depart at 00:00 midnight. I think you are overlooking that the key part of a hypothetical Finnair HEL-CLT flight wouldn't just be about onward connections in Helsinki for US travelers, but rather onward connections in Charlotte for European originating travelers. They recently launched Seattle earlier this year, instead of resuming San Francisco which was discontinued during the pandemic, despite San Francisco having a higher number of passengers daily each way (PDEW) to Helsinki…the flight could easily survive without onward connections (as it did before). My point is, the only reason they added Seattle is to take advantage of onward Oneworld connections with Alaska. Outside of London and Munich (and maybe Frankfurt), no airline would be able to profitably maintain widebody service from Charlotte to Europe without connections. From what I have seen (and I could be wrong), their Stockholm flights outside of Bangkok/Miami haven't been performing that well, and are simply a stopgap measure due to the excess slack in the fleet because of their lack of Asia flying at present. Personally, if I was traveling somewhere in Eastern/Central Europe, I would strongly consider going with Finnair via Helsinki over BA/LHR or Iberia/MAD simply because the mess associated with LHR and MAD...even before the pandemic. The endless and unnecessary lines and multiple checkpoints at the Flight Connections Centre in Heathrow, plus their shuttle busses leave much to be desired. IIRC, no other major European airport forces all connecting passengers arriving from the US or a "sterile" country (a country where the security screening is accepted by the EU) to clear security before connecting. In any case, I am not saying it is likely or anything, but rather something I was thinking about.
  3. I'm not sure of the most recent statistics, but historically an average of 70% of traffic at CLT is connecting, with the remaining ~30% being origin/destination traffic.
  4. Now that we are approaching the time of the year when airlines tend to announce their summer transatlantic schedules for the following year, I am wondering if there is a possibility that Finnair could start service to Charlotte. I haven't seen anything that would indicate that they would do so and this is all hypothetical but there are a few datapoints that could make the flight work: As a member of the AA/BA/Iberia/Aer Lingus transatlantic joint-venture, they partner and codeshare with AA extensively and have recently added flights to DFW that have been quite successful. Finnair seems to prefer to only fly to Oneworld hubs for their US destinations. Their pre-pandemic strategy was largely designed around connecting Europe and Asia...IIRC their slogan used to be something like "The Shortcut Route Between Europe and Asia". With quarantine restrictions still in place in Asia, coupled with the fact that Russian airspace between Europe and Asia is now closed due to the Ukraine War, they have somewhat altered their strategy to focus on the transatlantic market and now have the slack in their fleet to open up new US gateways. Finnish foreign investment in Charlotte has grown significantly in the past several years. In 2022 Q2 alone Finnish companies invested $47 million in the region. There are also a number of other Nordic companies with operations in Charlotte, with Electrolux standing out. I'm not sure who maintains the Electrolux travel contract between Charlotte and Stockholm (most likely AA or Lufthansa), but the fastest way (both in terms of distance and transit/travel time) would be via Helsinki. Granted, I am not sure if there is room on the D Concourse during peak hours to support another carrier, and I could see them also flying to Philadelphia over Charlotte. I seem to recall reading somewhere (it honestly might have been here) that Finnair representatives visited Charlotte in the beginning of the AA/US merger to discuss possible service. Just something I thought of on a slow Monday...
  5. During today's/last night's vote-a-rama in the Senate, the Republicans were able to successfully get the $35 insulin cap (on private insurance) removed from the Inflation Reduction Act after the Senate Parliamentarian ruled that the insulin cap was not compliant over the reconciliation rules (a split 51-50 vote over the filibuster) Democrats were trying to use to pass the bill. The insulin cap on Medicare remains. Pretty disgusting IMO, and it somewhat points to @kermit's point above about Lilly. Pharmaceutical companies will complain all they want to about the GOP when it comes to social justice/inequality/inequity (and rightly so) but they have no problem continuing to make political contributions to GOP candidates to ultimately protect their bottom line and prevent regulation. I'm so sick and tired of pharmaceutical companies attempting to justify high prices and link them to innovation, especially considering most new drugs are developed at start-up pharmaceutical companies that have basically no revenue. I think something like 60% of all new drugs the FDA approved in 2020 came from start ups.
  6. It actually looks like their Charlotte flight was only cancelled once (yesterday).
  7. Frankly you have a better chance of going to Harris Teeter, buying a lotto ticket, and winning a million dollars than AA failing. Even if AA was on the verge of a total liquidation, you can bet that Uncle Sam will come knocking on Fort Worth's door with a massive bailout package. Consolidation amongst the industry has largely led to AA/DL/UA being too big to fail, and a failure of any of the big three carriers would likely be detrimental to the economy. Just because they have greater liabilities than assets is no reason to file for bankruptcy. At present, AA has plenty of cash and hasn't shown any signs that they are struggling to pay their bills. The only reason I see AA filling for bankruptcy at present is to attempt to alter/make void union contracts in a way that's beneficial to the airline (often by rejecting collective bargaining agreements), but I suppose there isn't a guarantee that a bankruptcy judge will permit that. Keep in mind that filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy doesn't equate to going out of business or liquidation. It's simply a way for a corporation to restructure their finances. United operated in Chapter 11 for a whooping four years in the early 2000s. In short, AA's finances aren't a reason for consumers to stay away from booking with them. Rather they should stay away from them because of their abysmal service, poor customer service rankings, and trifling baggage handling record.
  8. As it stands, 20007 tends to have a more transient population as it stands due to both GW and Georgetown students residing in the zip code (more so Georgetown) so I would wager a good number of those moves were simply college kids moving back home. 20016 is a far wealthier zip code.
  9. While I understand that this industrial action will impact thousands of travelers, I can't help but have sympathy for the ground staff. The entire Lufthansa Group (with the exception of SWISS, see below) is simply a basket case and a shadow of its former shelf. The CEO sent Lufthansa flyers an apology letter for the mass cancellations/baggage issues/etc begging for forgiveness last month calling this summer an "extraordinary situation". I got one somehow and I found the letter to be intellectually insulting as this isn't an extraordinary situation. Staff did not just disappear one morning and decide not to come to work. The German government gave Lufthansa a bailout equivalent to $USD 10 Billion, and they literally used that money to streamline/cost cut/restructure their operation, and now they are somehow surprised that new streamlined operation cannot keep up with demand. I would be livid if I was a German taxpayer. They embarked on a massive cost-cutting program last year...from eliminating free snacks/meals/drinks in Economy on European flights to eliminating free liquor, snacks, and the pre-arrival meal in both Economy and Premium Economy on intercontinental flights (the main meal is still free, if you want an additional snacks you have to pay). I would be irritated if I spent an additional $1000 to fly in Premium Economy and then have to pay for a bag of pretzels and a Gin & Tonic. Their top-tier frequent flyers are now forced to pay for advanced seat assignments on some fares and routes. The only thing holding the Lufthansa Group up at this point is SWISS, which has for the most part resisted much of the group's forced Lufthansa-ization and still offers a quality product, in all cabin classes. I am going to the Balkans in a couple weeks and I purposely booked away from Lufthansa simply because I didn't want to have to deal with them, despite the fact that I would have preferred to fly them to collect UA miles (and fly on a 747!). I paid an extra $100 and am flying Air France there and then KLM back. While both carriers have their own issues with cancellations and bags, their performance has been been markedly better and I'm just not going to check a bag, plus they still offer free snacks/meals on the European flights in Economy. It looks like today's inbound flight from Munich is operating, although they cancelled the outbound from Charlotte. Both flights are cancelled all together tomorrow, although as still scheduled for Thursday. During times of industrial action, European carriers tend to do everything they can to keep their long-haul flights operational (at the expense of their short-haul network) so I wouldn't be surprised to see the flight back up and running Thursday. Depending on what provider AA uses in Munich, this could ultimately impact their flight as well.
  10. Essentially almost all major urban rail systems are in trouble in the US, albeit for different reasons, though most come down to poor management. MTA NYC Transit has essentially always been in some sort of crisis. I'm not too familiar with MBTA's history but that system is a hot mess right now. BART has a safety issue and is the only rapid transit system in the US where I have genuinely felt creeped out on. WMATA is clean, safe (for the most part), and has great infrastructure, just every single issue with them comes back from poor management, whether it being the agency's internal purging of their entire planning/engineering staff in the 1990s to the out of touch board that refuses to answer questions about ATO and has members that boast about having personal drivers. The difference between CATS and most systems in larger, core US cities is that most of the larger cities have a large bus network that is (for the most part) functional and efficient and there is less of a reliance on the rail network in these cities. WMATA, for example, has a ton of high-quality local and limited-stop bus lines that run frequently (every 5-10 minutes when combined with other services on the line), and several routes that run near 24/7 service. WMATA actually recently announced that recent bus ridership growth is exceeding the agency's expectations. Unfortunately, outside of the "core" US cities (I guess I would consider those to be NYC/Boston/DC/Chicago/SF/LA/Philly), most politicians and the general populace (on both sides of the aisle) see public transit as a welfare program or a system of last resort for people who can't afford to drive, which is why secondary cities, like Charlotte, are able to put up with garbage sub-standard bus service patterns. Until that changes I can't imagine we see huge changes in the US transit space.
  11. This is a pretty good comment: Then there is also this comment:
  12. I know the Biden administration had pledged to work on CDC Director Dr. Walensky's messaging (I think she hired a media consultant) but hot damn this is what she said to WaPo yesterday about the two children who were diagnosed with monkeypox: I literally cannot believe that such a high-ranking official would make such a statement. All she had to say was that "both of these children were infected by household transmission". Nothing more. It's irrelevant to the story what someone's sexuality is in regard to the virus' transmission. Sexuality doesn't make any difference how monkeypox spreads, close physical contact does. I get that we all make mistakes and sometimes we speak without thinking, and while I don't think she meant to disparage the gay community, focusing on the "gay" aspect will just translate to people who aren't gay (but have been exposed to the virus) ignoring the symptoms (because they'll think "I'm not gay, so I can't get it) and furthering its spread, all while helping to fuel greater hate and discrimination onto the LGBT+ community. Right-wingers will literally take this statement and say that gay men are "grooming" children and purposely giving them the virus, and will just be another reason for them not to want gay marriage and especially LGBT adoption.
  13. Here's an interactive 3-D rendering of the baggage claim area and lower courtyard: The airport's YouTube page has similar 3D renderings for other phases of the lobby project.
  14. I don't necessarily think the area with trees has been dropped from the final project. Rather, I think the trees will just be installed once construction is finished and the entire project is ready to open. The trees in the rendering seem to be embedded in some type of structure/bench, and I doubt those will be installed while construction is still ongoing. It seems to me that there is a temporary wall installed (shielded by the black curtain) where one set of trees will be. The pictures below provide a better overview of the area: Given that the Atrium + Concourse D have always had trees (even during the cheap Jerry Orr days), I don't think they are necessarily an expensive proposition. The plethora of rocking chairs in the area just seems to be a temporary measure.
  15. Yeah, I wasn't speaking how it will look in 30 years in terms of upkeep/quality, but rather it will likely look dated much like the wood paneling you describe.
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