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Ridesharing unwelcome at SFO + Virgin matches SW elite + New arrival from Europe

In this issue: Ridesharing unwelcome at SFO, Virgin expands elite matching, SAS nonstops from Copenhagen land at SFO, United upgrades IAH terminal, Presidential visit, 787 flying (empty), $100K a year to travel and blog?

No more pink moustaches at SFO (Photo: Lyftstagrams)

No more pink moustaches at SFO (Photo: Soy_Fans - Lyftstagrams)

RIDESHARING UNWELCOME AT SFO. San Francisco International has issued cease and desist letters to six car/ride sharing services picking up or dropping off customers at the airport. Uber’s licensed, chauffeured town cars are allowed at SFO, but UberX “community drivers” are not. Sidecar, Lyft, InstantCab and FlightCar (recently included in The BAT) all received the letters. Do you use ridesharing services? What do you think about this? Leave your comments below. 

MORE ELITE STATUS. Virgin America has expanded and enhanced its elite-level status match promo. Now, Southwest Rapid Rewards elites (in addition to United and American elites) can get bumped up to Elevate elite. Virgin has also extended the deadline to enroll until June 30.

NEW ARRIVAL FROM EUROPE. A water-cannon salute awaits SAS’s first Airbus A340 at SFO when it lands this Monday (April 8) between 2 and 3 pm.  SAS will offer flights between San Francisco and Copenhagen six days per week (no Tuesday flights). The Bay Area Traveler-The BAT will be trying out the new service later this month, so stay tuned for a full report. Skål!

How do you get the presidential helicopters to SF? On a C5 freighter like this (Photo: SFO)

How do you get the presidential helicopters to SF? On a C5 freighter like this (Photo: SFO)

ENTOURAGE. President Obama and entourage arrived at SFO last week for some Bay Area fundraisers. In addition to the bright and shiny Air Force One B747, a giant C5 military cargo jet was also stationed at SFO all week (which transported the presidential helicopters, et al). Did you see it? Obama’s helicopters touched down at Crissy Field for Golden Gate Bridge photo ops, and then buzzed down to Atherton for the events.

OAKLINK. Have you noticed the progress on the 3.2-mile AirBART rail line connecting Oakland Airport to BART’s Coliseum station? There is now a 300-ft span over I-880. The project is now 60% complete…and should be operational in late 2014.  Will you consider Oakland Airport more often when the trains start to run?

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NEW TERMINAL AT IAH. If you fly United via its massive Houston Intercontinental hub a lot, you will be pleased to see the new $152 million Terminal B south concourse opening this month. The new concourse will house operations for all United Express regional flights. It’s about four times larger than the old terminal, with lots of new stores and celeb-chef and regionally inspired eateries.

COOL TRAVEL JOBS. Have you ever dreamed of being a travel blogger? Travel website Jauntaroo (set up to help you decide where to go on vacation) is hiring a “Chief World Explorer” to travel the globe for a year, at $100,000 salary, to blog about their experiences and give back to communities through the site’s “Travel With a Cause” commitment. Details are thin right now, but Jauntaroo says it will open applications later this spring, and has produced this teaser video to build awareness. Tourism Australia has just launched a separate, but similar “Best Jobs in the World” promo, offering six positions at $100,000 each for just six months work. What are you doing reading The BAT? Get that application in now!

DREAMLINER UPDATE. Boeing is now conducting test flights of its beleaguered 787 Dreamliner, and will submit results of those and other tests to the FAA. The New York Times reports that the FAA could approve the changes later this month, and the plane could be flying again in May—just in time for the busy summer travel season. Would YOU jump on a Dreamliner this summer? Please leave your comments below.

IN THE BAT LAST WEEK. United is expanding its operations at SFO’s Terminal 1 while delays have pushed back the completion of Terminal 3 renovations. Also, there are a few new details about United’s new p.s. service to New York.

-Chris McGinnis

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  • Tony

    My problem with Lyft, Sidecar, etc, is that they call themselves “rideshare”, but they are not. Ridesharing means that a diver and passenger happen to be traveling in the same general direction, and they decide to combine for an overall cheaper and more efficient ride. That’s not what these “ridesharing” companies do - they are an on-demand service, where drivers get paid to transport passengers from one point to another, that is essentially a taxi. They are lying, trying to make themselves sound better by saying they are part of the emerging sharing economy, but at the end of the day, the service is no different than a taxi. So why should they get to avoid regulation?

  • http://www.facebook.com/maltamark Mark Vogel

    No, the difference between Uber and UberX is not just the type of car. UberX uses “community drivers” just like the other banned car-sharing companies mentioned in the article. I’ve used some of those and UberX and I pretty much stick with Uber (Black car version) because those drivers are licensed professional drivers. all the others are often people just trying to make some extra money driving what is often their own cars. I feel they don’t know their way around the City that well and just don’t drive as well in general. They just make me a little nervous.

  • petermjensen

    The article says that only Towncars from Uber are allowed and tHe less expensive Hybrid Uberx cars are not allowed. Probably because they are the exact same cars the taxis drive, except nicer, cleaner, and at the same price. And that would generate competition and ultimately make more Yellow cab drivers use Uber. And that’s a problem if you’re Yellow cab and rely on the kickbacks from drivers for the airport rides.

  • Tim_Dick

    Uber is not banned - please read the article. It’s just the unlicensed ride-sharing companies where you’re getting in an unregulated and untested car driven by an unlicensed, untested total stranger.

  • http://www.facebook.com/heidi.b.hong Heidi Better Hong

    Agree
    Über does a great job. It’s ridiculous to think you can ban something like this. What’s next..ban your friends from dropping you off at the airport ?Taxis are afraid because uber is a better service and people are willing to pay for the better service. There is room for both at the airport and in the city.

  • http://www.facebook.com/heidi.b.hong Heidi Better Hong

    Agree
    Über does a great job. It’s ridiculous to think you can ban something like this. What’s next..ban your friends from dropping you off at the airport ?Taxis are afraid because uber is a better service and people are willing to pay for the better service. There is room for both at the airport and in the city.

  • petermjensen

    Re banning Uberx and: The existing Taxi companies are so corrupt and connected to CIty officials and it is sad that they’re getting away with keeping Uberx to reduce competition. Explain the rationale that if the Uberx driver is driving a Towncar, it’s OK, but if he’s driving a black Camry Hybrid, it’s not. Why would the type of car matter? Could it have something to do with the fact that Uberx cars are Hybrid and therefore cheaper and priced closer to the regular Taxis? OR how about this: If I call and schedule the Camry directly with the driver like any other limo service, it’s OK, but if I use the Uber application on my phone it’s not. Why does it matter HOW I book the car. And finally: It is now possible to book regular taxis via Uber. I do that often when they’re close in the City. DOes this mean that the Yellow Cabs linked up to the uber app can’t be booked at SFO? I have a feeling the taxi companies have managed to keep that option alive.

    We live in SIlicon Valley and should embrace new technology. Anyone using Uber is happily paying more for the added service. Uber is beating the regular cab companies despite higher prices because of better service and less corruption. As long as they’re licensed and insured, let the free market rule to the benefit of all of us.