Wednesday 17 October 2018

Canadian Airports with US Border Pre-clearance

With the legalization of cannabis in Canada today, there are new considerations for Canadians travelling to the USA. While we won't delve into these here, we offer the following in response to increased interest in Canadian airports with US customs and immigration "pre-clearance" facilities.

What is pre-clearance?

The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) service operates border pre-clearance facilities at eight (8) major Canadian airports. If you fly to the USA from one of these airports, you will pass through U.S. Immigration and Customs, Public Health, and Agriculture inspections before boarding your flight.

What are the benefits of pre-clearance?

Leaving the security check and baggage area,
transitioning to US CBP pre-clearance
You will not need to clear customs after landing in the USA, eliminating delays if you have a connecting flight.

Your baggage will be checked through to your final destination (in other words, you won't need to collect and recheck your bags if you have a connecting flight).

If you are denied entry into the United States by United States Customs and Border Protection, and are not allowed to board your flight, you can simply leave the airport (as contrasted to the complications resulting from being detained by CBP in the USA).

Are there any downsides?

Entering US CBP preclearance in Vancouver
Any delay in US Customs and Border Protection pre-clearance could cause you to miss you outbound flight from Canada (arrive early, especially at Toronto Pearson Airport, which is prone to delays).

US Customs and Border Protection hours may differ from airport open hours. You should be aware that if your flight departs outside US CBP operating hours, you will clear customs at your destination airport.

What Canadian airports have pre-clearance?

After preclearance at Vancouver International Airport,
travellers are considered to be in the USA
Canadian airports with US Customs and Border Protection pre-clearance are:

Is pre-clearance available at other crossings?


US Customs and Border Protection operates pre-clearance at:
  • Pacific Central Station in Vancouver - for Amtrak Cascades train service to Seattle
  • Port of Vancouver - for cruise ship passengers embarking at Vancouver

US CBT preclearance at Victoria ferry port
US Customs and Border Protection offers immigration-only pre-clearance at these crossings (meaning you will still clear customs upon arrival in the USA):
  • Port of Victoria - for Black Ball Line MV Coho car ferry service to Port Angeles
  • Port of Victoria - for Victoria Clipper passenger service to Seattle
  • Sidney, BC - for Washington State Ferry service to Anacortes

What else should I keep in mind?

While flying from a pre-clearance airport means that you will arrive in the USA as a domestic traveler, you are, of course, still subject to reinspection at the discretion of US Customs and Border Protection service.

This article is posted as general information only and is not to be considered as legal advice.

Related resources
The 420 From PDX
Is Uber Doomed?
How to Get Away from the Airport
Spot the deadly fake taxi on your international travels!
Dealing with Taxi Drivers
14 Great Cities Where You Can Eat Like a Cabbie

Thursday 9 August 2018

NYC vs Uber + Lyft

In the news on August 8th:

"In a much-anticipated vote Wednesday afternoon, the New York City Council moved to impose a slate of new regulations on ride-hailing services. If Mayor Bill de Blasio signs off on the new legislation, which he is likely to do, New York would be the first city in the U.S. to cap the number of Uber and Lyft vehicles, as well as establish a minimum wage for drivers. It would also impose a new license requirement with more robust data-sharing requirements for the fiercely proprietary companies..." [read more on City Lab].

"Uber and Lyft took on New York City once again, and this time they lost. The New York City Council voted today to pass a package of bills that would, among other things, instate a 12-month pause on adding new ride-hail cars while the city studies the companies’ effects on congestion and driver wages. Uber and Lyft have warned users that this may lead to higher prices and longer wait times for rides..." [read more on Recode].

Related resources
New York City Just Changed the Uber Game - City Lab
Uber lost in NYC. But here’s the real problem. - Recode
Where Ride-Hailing and Transit Go Hand in Hand - City Lab

Is Uber Doomed?
I Was Scammed by an Uber Driver
Famous Fare: Nimoy Drives JFK

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Lyft comes to Canada, sans-moustache

The ridesharing service Lyft, an Uber alternative, is coming to Toronto, building on its success in 300+ U.S. cities, providing 1 million rides a day.

"Lyft's marketing strategy, which is geared toward the young and technologically savvy, draws a relaxed and friendly demographic." Jessica Gelt, Los Angeles Times

As a brand, Lyft became known for the large pink furry moustaches drivers attached to the front of their cars. While memorable, the furry moustaches were eventually dropped, to overcome the resistance of some riders to arrive at destinations, such as business meetings, in a car with a giant moustache.

The replacement was nicknamed the "Glowstache" (a small, glowing plastic dashboard moustache). The latest Lyft iteration is a new color-changing dashboard indicator called "Amp."

Lyft is designed to encourage interaction between riders and drivers. When launched, Lyft riders were encouraged to sit in the front seat and fist bump with drivers upon meeting.

"You feel like you're in the car with a friend, and that's no mistake... Whether it's bringing someone a sandwich for the ride or letting them choose the music in the car, Lyft drivers have their own budding community growing." Drew Olanoff, TechCrunch

Music preferences are just one of the personal details that both passengers and drivers are encouraged to add to their profiles, facilitating conversation.

"Lyft is a real community—with both the drivers and riders being inherently social—making real friendships and saving money." Scott Weiss, Andreessen Horowitz (venture capital investor)

How it works:

  • Riders must download the Lyft mobile app to their iOS or Android-based phone, sign up, enter a valid phone number, and enter a valid form of payment (either a credit card, or link to an Apple Pay, Google Wallet or PayPal account).
  • Passengers can then request a ride from a nearby driver.
  • Once confirmed, the app shows the driver's name, ratings by past passengers, and photos of the driver and car.
  • At the end of the ride, the passenger is given the opportunity to provide a gratuity to the driver, billed to the rider's payment method.
  • After a ride is completed, drivers and passengers are given the opportunity to rate each other on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Any driver averaging a low rating by users is dropped from the service. Lyft does not allow passengers to know their rating.

The 5 year old transportation network company is based in San Francisco, California. Canada is Lyft's first international operation.

Related content
Lyft Launches Toronto Expansion on Tuesday - CTV
CITY Q&A: Timothy Houghton, head of Lyft Toronto, on what it’s like to take on Uber - Toronto Life
Lyft Launches in Toronto with SickKids Donation - Betakit
Lyft plans to operate more than 100 vehicles in Hamilton - CBC
Lyft is Coming to Canada - Huffington Post

More from IHateTaxis
Is Uber Doomed?
The Uber Tip Dilemma
Uber Provides the Taxi Industry a Good Kick in the Pants
Canadian Taxi Monopoly is Attempting to Curb Consumer Choice
Dear Canadian Taxi Monopoly: Your Uber Boogie Man Doesn't Scare Me
Taxi Truths Campaign Puts Lipstick on a Pig

Wednesday 1 November 2017

5 Pages:

5 Pages is our way to highlight great travel resources. In a nutshell, we share a resource we recommend and highlight five of the website's most notable sections, tools or articles. Here's our pick this month:

The Johnny Jet Portal website was designed to point travelers to everything the web has to offer. It doesn’t matter if you travel five days a week, or once every five years. This site is for everyone! It has become the “first stop” for thousands of travelers. Those who contribute to Johnny Jet share my vision—and I share theirs. Together, all of us get the inside scoop on how to do travel—and how do it economically, comfortably, efficiently, and with plenty of style. (from the website)

1. Travel Rewards Essentials

What you need to know about collecting and redeeming travel rewards, miles and points.
Newbie Refresher: Getting Started with Travel Rewards, Miles, & Points
How to Protect Your Miles and Points From Expiring
Johnny Jet's Airline Mileage Programs List

2. Ask a Pilot

In our Ask a Pilot series, pilot Spencer Marker answers one of your aviation-related questions each week.
Ask a Pilot

3. Alternate Airports

Want to save money when you travel? Try flying in or out of an alternate airport. Johnny Jet shows you how.
Alternate Airports List

4. Travel Style

Want to know how to travel in style, just like the pros? We check in with frequent fliers to find out how often they fly, their favorite destinations and what they never leave home without.
Travel Style Profiles

5. Flying with Pets and Service Animals

Flying with Fido? Johnny Jet has some pawsome tips for you.
Are Travelers Abusing The System With Service Animals On Planes?
How to Spot a Fake Service Dog on a Plane
Airline Policies for Flying With Pets
Pets and Airport Security
Don’t Let Your Pet Out of the Carrier when You Fly

A few bonus pages...
Johnny Jet's Weekly Roundup of Travel Contests
Johnny Jet's Specialty Travel Resources
Air Canada Flyers: Use Your Aeroplan Miles by June 2020
How Airline Passengers Can Help Stop Human Trafficking
How to do the Kentucky Derby Like a Champ

Travel Weekly Magellan Awards Judge
“Johnny Jet Has Carved Out A National Niche As A Travel Guru” - THE TAMPA TRIBUNE

Our Review
You've probably seen Johnny Jet on TV (he is a frequent guest on Good Morning America and the Travel Channel), heard him on the radio or your favourite travel or technology podcast, or read his tips in travel magazines or the newspaper. The Johnny Jet website is (almost) like hanging out with the man himself: fun, relevant and practical.
Rating: 3.75 stars
Pros: Fantastic detail, time saving resources, great money saving tips, entertaining
Cons: No sitemap, no tags, a few broken links, gems in blog archives are buried

Handy Links
Instagram: johnnyjet
Facebook: JohnnyJet747
Twitter: @JohnnyJet

More from IHateTaxis
5 Pages:
5 Pages:
Death by Selfie
Help! I Left My iPad on the Plane!
What Counts as a Country Visited?
14 Great Cities Where You Can Eat Like a Cabbie

Sunday 1 October 2017

5 Pages:

5 Pages is our way to highlight great travel resources. In a nutshell, we share a resource we recommend and highlight five of the website's most notable sections, tools or articles. Here's our pick this month:

Runway Girl Network is unlike any other aviation news service in the world. Representing a collective of talented aviation journalists, the award-winning outlet combines deep industry intelligence with first-hand knowledge of the airline passenger experience (#PaxEx on Twitter) to provide unrivaled news and insight to both industry stakeholders and the traveling public (from the Runway Girl Network website).

1. Up-Front

Stories about flying in comfort, from airport lounges to life in the First Class cabin.

2. Coach Confidential

Air travel for the rest of us: airports, seating in coach, connectivity, the yearning for a few extras, and so on.
Coach Confidential

3. Details & Design

It's all about design... of all you experience while flying. Those lovely dishes, service, seating design, airport dining, even airplane livery.
Details & Design

4. PaxEx Podcast

Hosted by Mary Kirby, Runway Girl founder and passenger experience ("PaxEx") advocate, the PaxEx Podcast is the perfect way to stay current and dream about flying in ultimate comfort.
PaxEx Podcast

5. Lean Into Aviation

Great content profiling individuals and initiatives promoting diversity in aviation: women pilots, women in aviation, LGBTQ in aviation, etc.
Lean Into Aviation

A few bonus pages...
Video flight reviews move from hobby to lifestyle (must watch!)
Pet pigs and other potential problems on planes
Three airlines reveal their most stolen onboard items
The underrated charms of flying in a rear-facing seat
Flying with kids: The Camaraderie of Coach

Our Review
Lots of geeky av content, plus all the latest in #PaxEx innovation. Not a surprise, given that Mary Kirby first coined the Twitter hashtag. If you fly, for a living, for business or leisure, you'll find something of interest.
Rating: 4.5 stars
Pros: Great stories by 18 aviation journalists.
Cons: While we appreciate the efforts to organize content into streams, the distinctions between them were lost on us. Would also appreciate an index of tags on the home page.

Handy Links
iTunes: PaxEx Podcast
Facebook: RunwayGirl
Twitter: @runwaygirl

More from IHateTaxis
5 Pages:
5 Pages:
Death by Selfie
Help! I Left My iPad on the Plane!
What Counts as a Country Visited?
14 Great Cities Where You Can Eat Like a Cabbie

Thursday 21 September 2017

Do You URBEX? USA Sites

Ruins in Jerome, Arizona (wikicommons)
Previous blog posts on the subject of urban exploration:
Do you URBEX? 1. Defined, Trends & Picks

With this post, we look at some of the more accessible sites popular with urban explorers in the United States. Plus we share USA-specific news, inspiration and resources.


Matt Lambros' After the Final Curtain photographs show America's forgotten movie theatres - Denzeen
Urbex Photographer Discovers Eerie ‘Train Graveyard’ in North Carolina Forest - Petapixel
Urbex Instagram Photog Killed While Subway Surfing in NYC - Petapixel
‘Urban explorer’ arrested inside Niagara Falls church - Niagara Gazette


Liz's URBEX Photography Blog - Peeling Walls
Philip's URBEX Flickr Photos - DJ Philly GEE
Abandoned America: Dismantling the Dream - book by Matthew Christopher

USA-specific URBEX resources

10 Eerie, Awesome or Abandoned Places You Can LEGALLY Visit in the US - Architectural Afterlife
Abandoned America: An Autopsy of American Dreams - Matthew Christopher's blog, books, events
Abandoned America Photography Workshops - USA workshops by Matthew Christopher
After the final curtain - Matt Lambros' blog, events
URBEX Location List USA - Urban Exploration Resource
A listing of tunnels in Kentucky, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia - Tunnels & Bridges

ALABAMA.... [read more].

Want more layover ideas?
• Read more stories on the LayoverIdeas Blog
• Explore cities worldwide on

Related resources
Do Your URBEX? 1. Defined, Trends & Picks
Mugging: are you a target? 10 resources
Spot the deadly fake taxi on your international travels!
Dealing with taxi drivers
Dealing with touts
Airport arrival advice

Monday 11 September 2017

Irma, Virgin Gorda and Sir Richard Branson

What Nester Islabd looked like, before Irma
In news reports about the destruction of Hurricane Irma, you may come across Sir Richard Branson's name in association with recovery efforts on Virgin Gorda.

Unless you have been following the career of the knighted business magnate and chairman of the the Virgin Group of companies, you may find yourself wondering, if only for a moment, why his company's name is associated with the island.

It is strictly coincidental, however you would be forgiven for thinking he owned an island here. He does, but it's not Virgin Gorda.

When Richard Branson learned that some of the British Virgin Islands were for sale in the late 70's, he bought Necker Island, a 30-hectare (74-acre) island, just north of Virgin Gorda. While Necker Island's land is entirely owned by Sir Richard Branson, the island's beaches, up to the high-water mark, are Crown land, and are open to the public.

When Branson bought the island, at age 28, it was uninhabited. As an alien landholder, however, Branson was required to develop a resort within four years or the island would revert to the state.

Three years and $10+ million USD later, Branson's private island retreat opened. Built using local stone, Brazilian hardwoods, Asian antiques, Indian rugs, art pieces and fabrics and bamboo furniture from Bali, the exclusive resort is part of the Virgin Limited Edition portfolio of luxury properties. The whole of Necker Island operates as a resort and can accommodate up to 34 guests.

For a tidy sum, guests at Necker Island have access to private pools, tennis courts, a team of 100 staff (including a personal chef) and a wide array of water sports equipment (Branson also owns nearby Moskito Island, where he operates a sail-in dive resort).

Until this past week, the 10-bedroom Balinese-style villa, perched atop a hill on Necker Island, featured open walls and 360-degree scenic views.

Today it is rubble.

Branson and his team rode out the storm in the resort's sizeable wine cellar.

Since emerging to the surrounding devastation, Branson has been mobilizing resources to assist residents on nearby Virgin Gorda Island.

Yesterday, he posted an update:
"I am writing from Puerto Rico, where I have travelled in order to further mobilise aid efforts and rebuilding plans for the British Virgin Islands and wider Caribbean. Communications remain mostly down in the BVI after Hurricane Irma. After sharing these updates and talking to various governments, aid agencies and media, we will be heading straight back to the BVI to continue helping the recovery effort on the ground... This story is about the tens of thousands of people who have lost their homes and their livelihoods. We have spent the past two days visiting team members who live on Virgin Gorda and as many people as possible, distributing aid, water and supplies. We have seen first-hand just how ferocious and unforgiving this storm was... [read more].
Related stories
Richard Branson reveals devastation of hurricane-hit private island, blames ‘man-made climate change’ - CNBC
The Night Before Hurricane Irma Arrives - Virgin blog

More from IHateTaxis
Avoiding Taxi Scams at Rome's Airports
Avoiding Taxi Scams at Costa Rica's Airports
Taxi Credit Card Scam Does Not Stay in Vegas (LAS)
Best and Worst Cities to Take a Taxi
Spot the deadly fake taxi on your international travels!

Friday 1 September 2017

5 Pages:

5 Pages is our way to highlight great travel resources. In a nutshell, we share a resource we recommend and highlight five of the website's most notable sections, tools or articles. Here's our pick this month:

TRAILS.COM is designed for outdoor enthusiasts by outdoor enthusiasts. We are happy to bring you thousands of trail guides, topographic maps, tips and useful information for hiking mountain biking, snowshoeing, mountaineering, trail running and water sports. (from the website)

1. Roadtrip Planning

This blockbuster of a section overflows with roadtrip planning resources, including route planning (with or without a GPS), calculating costs, distances and driving times, road maps, how to make your own map of a trip, scenic drives, off-highway drives, RV roadtrip planning and more. Mostly USA, with some UK, Canada and Mexico resources.
Roadtrip Planning

2. Motorcycle Travel

Created for the modern day Easy Rider, this thin section supports a range of options, from motorcycle camping to how to build your very own motorcycle trailer.
Motorcycle Travel

3. How to Plan a Route 66 Roadtrip

You can't pull out a map of the USA and find Route 66, at least not in its entirety: the historic highway began disappearing from maps in 1985. Today, the original 1926 route, stretching cross-country between California and Illinois, carries different names, so if you want to drive it, you're going to need a plan. And here are the tours to help you do just that.
How to Plan a Route 66 Roadtrip

4. International Travel

Roadtrip, camping, hiking trails and more around the globe.
International Travel

5. How to Rent an RV

Just in case you are inspired by all the RV'ing content on the site, and don't have one of your own...
How to Rent an RV

A few bonus pages...
Anatomy of a Hot Spring
How to Catch Garden Worms for Bait
How to Create Travel Kits for Your Kids
Homemade Children's Outdoor Games
Trail Finder

Forbes - Best of the Web, (5 years in a row!)
PC Magazine - Top 100 Undiscovered Web Site
Men's Journal - The 100 Best Web Sites (For Guys)

Our Review
Rating: 4.5 stars
Pros: comprehensive, practical, empowering (plan your own trip, your way!)
Cons: no rental car planning tips for all those roadtrips

Handy Links
Instagram: trailsdotcom
Facebook: Trails
Twitter: @Trails

More from IHateTaxis
Death by Selfie
Help! I Left My iPad on the Plane!
What Counts as a Country Visited?
14 Great Cities Where You Can Eat Like a Cabbie
Famous Fare: Nimoy Drives JFK
Baja Mexico's Double Dipper Gas Scam

Thursday 17 August 2017

Airport Trains on the Move

Tampa Airport was the first to have a "people mover" train (above)
 to move passengers between terminals. Now it's getting a new one.

A few updates on new airport trains around the world:

New announcements for Auckland's airport train plans
Interesting fact: What's better than an airport train? In Auckland, the answer is two!
The government has proposed not one but two light rail lines: a City Line, linking the city centre with the airport, and a northwestern line linking the city centre and Westgate. It’s also signed up to a southeastern bus rapid transit line. How will they actually work?.. [read more].

First train arrives in Jakarta for new airport line
Interesting fact: the rolling stock is supplied by Canada's Bombardier
State railway operator PT Kereta Api Indonesia (KAI) on Monday evening welcomed the first train set to operate as an airport train connecting the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten to two stations in Jakarta... [read more]. Or read our earlier story> about this train.

Perth Airport train station work begins, thanks to Grace
Interesting fact: the boring machine being used for the tunnel, "Grace", is named after a local schoolgirl undergoing leukaemia treatment.
WORK has begun on building the train station at Perth Airport as part of the rail tunnel from Forrestfield to Bayswater... [read more].

Phnom Penh airport train on hold
Interesting fact: Story emerges just one month after assurances there would be no evictions
The Cambodian government has suspended work on the airport railway project in Phnom Penh following demonstrations by villages over possible evictions... [read more].

You'll get a charge out of Taipei's new airport train
Interesting fact: the new metro offers in-town airport check-in
Passengers traveling on the new metro line between Taipei and Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport now have access to a free wireless charging service for their mobile devices. The Taoyuan Metro also offers free Wi-Fi ... [read more].

Tampa Airport is getting a new people mover
Interesting fact: the rolling stock is suppied by Japan's Mitsubishi
Tampa International Airport's $2 Billion upgrade is underway. The first phase includes a 2.6 million sq.-ft. rental car center, a 1.4 mile automated people mover. The SkyConnect trip from the main terminal to the rental car center will include a stop at the economy parking garage. The facility will include kiosks for obtaining boarding passes and checking bags... [read more].

Related resources
Keys to Great Airport Transit - Human Transit
A Reporter Rode Denver’s Airport Light Rail–And You Won’t Believe What Happened Next - New Geography
Lucky Lucknow is Getting an Airport Train - IHateTaxis Blog
New Denver Airport Train - IHateTaxis Blog
New Tehran Mehrabad Airport Metro Link - IHateTaxis Blog
Mashad Airport Gets Metro Link - IHateTaxis Blog

More from IHateTaxis
Spot the Deadly Fake Taxi on Your International Travels
14 Great Cities Where You Can Eat Like a Cabbie
Death by Selfie
I Was Scammed by an Uber Driver

Thursday 10 August 2017

Manila Turns Up The Heat

In late 2014, we wrote about Manila's Latest Colorum Taxi Scam, targeting passengers at Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport. 'Colorum' is a Filipino slang term used to refer to illegal vehicles.

Since then, we've reported on numerous Manila transportation developments, including official taxi fare reductions, a new airport bus ( New Manila UBE Express Airport Bus), and the ability for regular taxis to make airport pick-ups (New White Taxi Lanes at NAIA).

It seems are heating up again, with a major crackdown on taxi scams and illegal operators.

In Higher Penalties Await Overcharging Taxis, ‘Colorum’ in NAIA, Page One reports that authorities are imposing higher penalties on illegal “colorum” vehicle operators at Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). The penalties also extend to taxi drivers of any type - official airport taxis or regular white taxis using designated airport lanes - who scam passengers. Oops, we mean overcharge passengers.

With fines of PHP120,000 to PHP200,000 per violation, up from the previous PHP1,000 fine, it seems they are getting serious.

And it's about time. Manila's main airport has long been plagued with horrendous taxi lines and unacceptable delays at all four of its terminals.

The penalties are even higher for unauthorized bus operators, at PHP1 million per violation. Shady bus operators had been simply absorbing the prior PHP 1,000 as a cost of business, and covering it with passenger fares.

Related resources
Higher Penalties Await Overcharging Taxis, ‘Colorum’ In NAIA -Page One
New White Taxi Lanes at NAIA - IHateTaxis
Taxi Prices Drop in Manila... or Do They? - IHateTaxis
New Manila UBE Express Airport Bus - IHateTaxis
BManila's Latest Colorum Taxi Scam- IHateTaxis

More from IHateTaxis
Avoiding Taxi Scams at Rome's Airports (CIA, FCO)
Avoiding Taxi Scams at Costa Rica's Airports (SJO, SYQ)
Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) transportation guide
Manila Clark International Airport (CRK) transportation guide
Dealing with Taxi Drivers