March 18, 2011

Reporting airport crimes, plus online and airline innovations

Airport crime report.com

If you happen to be a victim of a non-emergency crime at Washington Dulles or Reagan National, you can now lodge a complaint online.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police Department recently launched the Citizen Online Police Reporting System, which lets airport visitors file reports at www.mwaa.com. (Click on the black box labeled Emergency Services, then on Citizen Online Police Reporting.) The authority will reply with an electronic notification of the report’s status and a printed police report.

The system covers theft and lost property, hit-and-run accidents, identity theft, vehicle tampering, harassing phone calls and vandalism that occur within the department’s jurisdiction, which covers the two airports, the Dulles Toll Road and the Dulles Airport Access Highway.

Kayak’s easy bookings

Internet users can now book hotel rooms directly through Kayak instead of having to click over to Hotels.com, Orbitz or other booking sites.

The new feature, which is being rolled out slowly, will be fully released on the Kayak site and i Phone application “in the coming weeks,” according to the company.

“Our users value that we give them choices on where to book, though some people would prefer to complete their purchases without leaving Kayak,” said Steve Hafner, Kayak’s chief executive officer and co-founder.

Travelocity will process the transactions.

Kayak has also c ompleted a merger with SideStep. The search engines began combining operations three years ago, but travelers were still able to make plans on SideStep. On Thursday, SideStep began redirecting its visitors to Kayak.

BWI’s new lounge

Travelers can soon rest easy while waiting for their flights at BWI Marshall.

The start-up company Airspace Lounge will open its first lounge at the airport in May. Passengers flying any airline in any class can gain access to the lounge for as little as $17.50. The price for a day pass may increase depending on demand but will not exceed $40.

The fee entitles passengers to free bagels in the morning, sandwiches in the afternoon and evening, and other snacks. They will also get free coffee, tea and soft drinks. A full bar will offer alcoholic beverages for purchase.

Also included in the price: wireless Internet, access to on-site PCs and Macs, and an electric outlet at every seat. Color printing will be available for a fee.

The lounge, with seating for 58, will be in Concourse D and open from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Airspace plans to open 40 lounges at airports nationwide.

Lufthansa revamp

Lufthansa will soon be revamping 10 Boeing 747-400s.

Many changes will be in the first-class cabin, but economy-class passengers will get one new perk: individual in-flight entertainment with movies, TV series and documentaries in as many as eight languages. A redesign of the backrest will add two inches of space. The business and economy cabins will also get renovated bathrooms.

The airline has saved the best for first, however: Next to each of the eight seats in first-class will be a full-length, permanent lie-flat bed about eight feet long. Passengers will be able to enoy sweet dreams thanks to sound-absorbing curtains and sound-deadening insulation beneath the carpet. They will also receive temperature-regulating blankets and pillows and an amenity kit from Porsche Design containing items from La Mer.

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