No delays at MSP, so far
Following reports that the partial government shutdown has crippled air travel due to Transportation Security Administration staff absences, security lines at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport were moving along nicely last week. TSA checkpoints at both MSP terminals on Tuesday were fully staffed as 320 to 350 officers worked without pay, said Cliff Van Leuven, TSA’s federal security director for Minnesota. The average wait time in MSP security lines on Monday was 20 minutes, and 4 minutes for passengers with TSA PreCheck. But that could change over the weekend, especially with the Martin Luther King Day holiday on Monday. Elsewhere, a shortage of TSA officers prompted Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport to shutter a terminal. Painfully long security lines averaging 88 minutes were reported at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International, the world’s busiest airport.
But TSA dogs look friendlier
The TSA is increasingly replacing retired pointy-eared dogs — think German shepherds — with floppy-eared sorts, including Labrador retrievers. The recruits have a friendlier look, officials say. “We find the passenger acceptance of floppy-ear dogs is just better. It presents just a little bit less of a concern,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske told the Washington Examiner. “Doesn’t scare children.” About seven breeds of dogs are used for screening, TSA spokesman James Gregory told the Washington Post. Five are breeds whose ears rest softly on their heads: labs, golden retrievers, German short-haired pointers, wire-haired pointers and Vizslas. Two have ears that shoot skyward: German shepherds and Belgian Malinoises. Four in five recent additions to the canine corps are of the droopy-eared persuasion, and the agency hopes to stick to that ratio, Gregory said.
What’s new in NewYork
Planning a trip to New York City? So much is happening that tourism agency NYCGo has dubbed 2019 “a monumental year.” Vessel, a climbable structure that could become Manhattan’s answer to the Eiffel Tower, opens this spring in Hudson Yards. At JFK Airport, the TWA Hotel gives new life to Eero Saarinen’s TWA Flight Center. In June, the city hosts the WorldPride festival and marks 50 years since the Stonewall Riots, which sparked the gay rights movement. The Whitney Biennial runs May 17 to Sept. 22; the Jewish Museum opens a show about Leonard Cohen on April 12; and the Museum of Modern Art expands its gallery space by 30 percent. The Brooklyn Museum hosts the largest Frida Kahlo exhibit in the U.S. in 10 years, Feb. 8 to May 12. For theater lovers, 2019 brings revivals of “Kiss Me, Kate” and “Oklahoma!”; a new Temptations jukebox musical; and stage versions of “Beetlejuice,” “Moulin Rouge” and “Tootsie.” For shoppers, new Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom stores will debut.
Around the world for $6,599
Book by Jan. 31 and save $300 on SmarTours’ new Around the World package. The trip starts at $6,599 per person double and includes around-the-world airfare starting in New York and ending in Los Angeles; 17 nights’ lodging in London, Cairo, Bangkok, Bali, Sydney and Fiji; 26 meals; 12 tours with entrance fees; ground transportation; and taxes. Also, pay by check and receive an additional $100 off. For the lowest price, depart July 1 or Nov. 4. (Info: 1-800-337-7773, smartours.com/tour/around-the-world.)