Month: July 2015

Mobile Passport Control App Expands to San Francisco International Airport

U.S. Customs and Border Protection and San Francisco International Airport today announced the expansion of Mobile Passport Control (MPC) to SFO. MPC is the first authorized app to expedite a traveler’s arrival into the United States. Eligible travelers submit their passport information and customs declaration form to CBP via a smartphone and tablet app prior to arrival. Android and iPhone users can download the Mobile Passport app for free from the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

“CBP is pleased to offer Mobile Passport Control as an option to expedite travelers’ entry into the United States at five of the country’s busiest international airports,” said Assistant Commissioner for Office of Field Operations Todd C. Owen. “CBP remains committed to making the international arrivals experience as traveler-friendly as possible through innovation and collaboration with stakeholders while maintaining the highest security standards.”

“As international traffic grows at SFO, we continue to seek innovative ways to expedite the arrival process for our international travelers,” said Airport Director John L. Martin. “With the expansion of Mobile Passport Control to SFO, our customers now have an efficient new option that allows them to bypass a traditional queue.”

MPC currently offers U.S. citizens and Canadian visitors a more secure and efficient in-person inspection between the CBP officer and the traveler upon arrival in the United States. Much like Automated Passport Control (APC), the app does not require pre-approval, is free to use and does not collect any new information from travelers. Travelers opting to use the app will no longer have to complete a paper customs declaration form. As a result, travelers will experience shorter wait times, less congestion and faster processing.

“We’re very pleased to have San Francisco International Airport come on board as the fifth airport to launch Mobile Passport,” said Airports Council International-North America President and CEO Kevin M. Burke. “Mobile Passport has had a fantastic response at Atlanta, Miami, Seattle, and Chicago, which has significantly cut the time in the customs line for thousands of eligible travelers entering the United States. We look forward to additional airports coming online throughout 2015.”

There are five easy steps to MPC:

  • Download the Mobile Passport Control App from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store prior to arriving
  • Create a profile with your passport information
  • Complete the “New Trip” section upon arrival in the United States
  • Submit your customs declaration form through the app to receive an electronic receipt with an Encrypted Quick Response (QR) code.
  • Bring your passport and smartphone or tablet with your digital bar-coded receipt to a CBP officer.

Hornblower Cruises & Events Introduces Summer’s Top Eight Nautical Adventures for Families

Hornblower Cruises & Events boasts ports throughout California and two in New York. Additionally, Hornblower Cruises & Events is the parent company to concessioners for Alcatraz Cruises, Statue Cruises and Niagara Cruises. For those looking to spend time on the water this summer, Hornblower Cruises & Events offers some of the country’s top attractions and cruises, as follows:NY-Hybrid-Night

  1. Alcatraz — Recently named as the #1 attraction in the USA by TripAdvisor and #8 worldwide, this former prison is one of America’s most recognized world attractions. Alcatrazis often associated with Chicago crime boss Al “Scarface” Capone, who was imprisoned in Alcatraz in the 1930s. In fact, many A-list criminals passed through this former maximum-security penitentiary, including dapper kidnapper George “Machine Gun” Kelly and Morton Sobell, the military contractor found guilty of Soviet espionage along with Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. But a tour to this National Park is more than just seeing the inside of an old prison. Visitors also see some of San Francisco’s top attractions on the scenic ferry ride across the bay to Alcatraz, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Bay Bridge and Angel Island (the Ellis Island of the west). alcatrazcruises.com
  2. Statue of Liberty — An American architectural icon, “Lady Liberty” proudly stands on Liberty Island, guarding the entrance to New York Harbor. The 305-foot Statue of Liberty was given to the United States from France to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the young country’s independence. Once on the island, guests can visit the Statue of Liberty Museum to view the original torch and an explanatory exhibit before taking in a close-up view of the Statue of Libertyon the 10th floor. A tour to Liberty Island from NYC is a great way to see this iconic landmark. statuecruises.com
  3. Niagara Falls — Pounding water, glistening mist and an engineering feat…is it any wonder Niagara Falls is a top tour in Canada? Located at the border of Ontario and New York, Niagara Falls combines the brute force of water with engineering to create magnificent waterfalls. Whether visitors witness Niagara Falls via boat, helicopter or from the Observation Tower, spectators marvel at the amount of water crashing through the falls each second. niagaracruises.com
  4. Blue WhaleWhale Watching in San Diego — Hornblower Cruises & Events’ San Diego port has launched their seasonal Blue Whale Watching Adventures cruises, which are available through September 6, 2015. Departing from the convenient location of Embarcadero downtown San Diego at 970 North Harbor Drive, daily tours start boarding at 8:45 a.m. for the 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. daily excursion. Price is $75. per person ($40 for children 4-12), with the addition of tax, service charge and landing fee. This specialty cruise is designed for those that love whales, dolphins, sea lions and sea birds. After boarding, guests will speed out to sea on one of the fleet’s comfortable yachts and pass barking sea lions and pods of leaping dolphins in search of the legendary blue whales. During the four-hour tour, passengers will be treated to a live narration by an experienced captain and an on-board naturalist (from the San Diego Natural History Museum). https://www.hornblower.com/port/overview/sd+bluewhalewatching
  5. New York Imbible Cruise — For those feeling stuck on land, join Hornblower Cruises & Events and the cast of “Imbible” on the high seas for pirates, sea shanties, rum drinks and more. Passengers are welcome aboard to down new rum cocktails while experiencing the best views New York City has to offer from the East River with Lady Liberty herself. Created by world-renowned mixologist, spirits educator and author Anthony Caporale, “The Imbible: Rum Drinks…And Pirates!” tells the story of rum from its origins right up to modern-day. Join the cast of Imbible for their thirty-minute musical spectacular and gain access to this exclusive experience by anchoring on the Private Pirate Deck to learn all about the history and science of cocktails. Imbibing in this Boozy Musical Experience not only provides access to one of the hottest theatre tickets in town, but also gives the chance to try three complimentary cocktails aboard one of NYC’s premier yachts. Must be 21 and older to attend, scheduled for Thursdays and Sundays through September 6, 2015. http://hornblowernewyork.com/cruises/the-imbible/
  6. Historic Harbor Tours of the Marina — To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Marina del Rey, Hornblower Cruises & Events Marina del Rey Port is celebrating the occasion with a $1 (yes one dollar) per guest tour where passengers will enjoy the sight of Marina del Rey from the comforts of a classic yacht. Available through September 6, 2015. The 45-minute tour is narrated by one of Hornblower’s Captains with information about local landmarks and 50 year history, features sightings of local marine life and an introduction to local environmental efforts. https://www.hornblower.com/port/overview/mdr+county-history-harbor-tours
  7. Newport Beach Wild Goose Dockside Tour — Passengers are invited aboard to experience one of the most famous yachts in Newport Beach, the Wild Goose. Once the yacht of acting legend John Wayne, this legendary vessel boasts an impressive history. The tour includes informative narration that guides passengers throughout the yacht, highlighting interesting facts and intriguing stories. https://www.hornblower.com/port/overview/nb+wild_goose
  8. San Francisco Dinner Cruise — For those interested in taking in the stunning views of the San Francisco Bay, passing by two of the top ten attractions in the United States (Alcatraz and Golden Gate Bridge), this 2½ hour cruise is available on Friday and Saturday nights, with boarding at 6:30pm. For only $103 per person, guests will enjoy a four-course dinner, live entertainment and dancing, full no-host bar and scenic San Francisco Bay views. (Insider tip: look forward to the Feet Week cruises, available from October 9-11, 2015) https://www.hornblower.com/port/category/sf+diningcruises

Alcatraz on Own

Hornblower Cruises & Events has been the leading charter yacht and public dining cruise operator headquartered in California for 35 years. The company operates over 70 vessels, including the three largest dining yachts on the West Coast and has ports in San Francisco, Berkeley, Sacramento, Long Beach, Newport Beach, Marina del Rey, San Diego and New York City. Two Hornblower subsidiary businesses, Alcatraz Cruises and Statue Cruises, are National Park Service ferry concessioners to Alcatraz Island, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. In 2014, Hornblower Cruises & Events began operating the third subsidiary, Hornblower Niagara Cruises, out of Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. For more information visit: http://www.hornblower.com or http://www.hornblowernewyork.com.

San Francisco Hotels Are Priciest in Bloomberg Survey

San Francisco already is one of the priciest U.S. cities for apartment renters and companies seeking office space. Now the area has a new distinction: it’s the world’s most expensive place for visitors to spend the night.

The average price for a San Francisco hotel room has jumped 88 percent in the past year to $397 a night, according to an index compiled by Bloomberg of the world’s top 100 financial centers. The city ranks ahead of Geneva, where rooms set travelers back $292 a night, and Milan, at $271. Chicago, with rates at $240, ties Miami as the second-costliest U.S. cities. The Hotel Council of San Francisco and the San Francisco Travel Association say the price calculations are skewed because they include the dates for next year’s Super Bowl.

The World’s Top 100 Airlines in 2015

In the World Airline Awards ceremony at Paris Airshow, Skytrax announced the world’s Top 100 Airlines in 2015, voted for by airline customers around the in a global passenger survey. The World Airline Awards are coveted Quality accolades for the world airline industry and regarded as a global benchmark of Airline Passenger Satisfaction levels. The Awards are not subscriber based or a profit-driven award programme, and are referred to as the Passengers Choice Awards for the airline industry.

2014 Rating
1 Qatar Airways 2
2 Singapore Airlines 3
3 Cathay Pacific Airways 1
4 Turkish Airlines 5
5 Emirates 4
6 Etihad Airways 9
7 ANA All Nippon Airways 6
8 Garuda Indonesia 7
9 EVA Air 12
10 Qantas Airways 11
11 Asiana Airlines 8
12 Lufthansa 10
13 Austrian 21
14 Swiss Int’l Air Lines 13
15 Air France 25
16 Virgin Australia 15
17 Air New Zealand 16
18 Dragonair 28
19 Thai Airways 14
20 British Airways 17
21 Japan Airlines 23
22 Hainan Airlines 19
23 Bangkok Airways 20
24 Malaysia Airlines 18
25 AirAsia 31
26 Virgin America 46
27 Air Canada 24
28 KLM 32
29 Aegean Airlines 30
30 Hong Kong Airlines 29
31 Finnair 37
32 LAN Airlines 33
33 Norwegian 38
34 South African Airways 22
35 Oman Air 27
36 China Southern 35
37 Virgin Atlantic 34
38 Korean Air 26
39 easyJet 44
40 Air Astana 41
41 Jetstar Airways 39
42 SilkAir 40
43 AirAsia X 36
44 Indigo 43
45 Delta Air Lines 49
46 Aeroflot 51
47 WestJet 45
48 Porter Airlines 55
49 Avianca 47
50 jetBlue Airways 59
51 TAM Airlines 42
52 China Airlines 54
53 Jetstar Asia 50
54 Brussels Airlines 48
55 Vietnam Airlines 58
56 Iberia 67
57 SAS Scandinavian 52
58 Scoot 61
59 Thomson Airways 68
60 United Airlines 53
61 Aer Lingus 65
62 Azul  Airlines 63
63 Air Seychelles 62
64 Copa Airlines 57
65 Alaska Airlines 69
66 Azerbaijan Airlines 72
67 Southwest Airlines 71
68 Transaero Airlines 56
69 Air Mauritius 60
70 TAP Air Portugal 64
71 Air Berlin 70
72 Germanwings 82
73 SriLankan Airlines 73
74 Alitalia 76
75 Peach 80
76 Jet Airways 75
77 Ethiopian Airlines 74
78 American Eagle 79
79 American Airlines 89
80 Air Transat 90
81 Icelandair 81
82 Hawaiian Airlines 88
83 Air Nostrum 83
84 Saudi Arabian Airlines 77
85 China Eastern 94
86 Kenya Airways 84
87 Philippine Airlines 93
88 Gulf Air 86
89 Juneyao Airlines 118
90 TAAG Angola Airlines 92
91 Tianjin Airlines 66
92 Shenzhen Airlines 78
93 Air China 85
94 SpiceJet 87
95 Tiger Airways SIN 91
96 Mango 95
97 Vueling Airlines 96
98 NIKI 103
99 Kulula 100
100 Fiji Airways 97

Results may only be reproduced by prior agreement of Skytrax