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Whoa_Nelly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 10:12 PM
Original message
Five Big Changes Coming to Air Travel in 2009
Source: SmarterTravel.com

Big changes in the world of air travel are coming in 2009. From merger mania to airport security adjustments, here's what's on our shortlist of important changes in the year ahead.

Airport Security Update

Travelers, say good-bye to your plastic baggies and tiny bottles of shampoo. The 3-1-1 rule may be discontinued in 2009 as new X-ray technology is introduced at airports around the country. The new technology can detect differences between benign liquids such as hair gel or juice boxes and potentially dangerous liquids used in bombs.

<snip>
Airlines Introduce A-La-Carte Pricing

Despite protests from travelers, American and Frontier are set to introduce a-la-carte pricing in 2009. As of the time of this writing, American had not announced full details of its new fare structure, although it may use Air Canada as a model. Stay tuned to our Today in Travel blog for details on American's new system later this year.

<snip>
Paperless Boarding Passes

Paperless boarding passes are the wave of the future, and will become more widespread this year. You'll soon be able to download a boarding pass to your PDA or cell phone, and scan the barcode at an airport security checkpoint scanner, eliminating the need for a physical printout.

Read more: http://travel.yahoo.com/p-interests-25069997



********************************************************************
Yay! No more baggies to pack!
Most. Stupid. Rule. Ever.
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NRaleighLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 10:14 PM
Response to Original message
1. I think that the shoe take off rule and laptops out of the pack rule are ridiculous.
When traveling in the UK, the laptops don't have to come out. We are such a chicken shit knee jerk reactive country.
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bdamomma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-26-09 01:28 PM
Response to Reply #1
35. overly paranoid country.
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trof Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-27-09 07:18 AM
Response to Reply #1
42. Funny, kinda..."security" dictates fashion.
Miz t. and I flew to Boston recently.
Preparing herself for the weather there, she had a pair of lace up boots on.
"Are you sure you want to have to deal with those going through security?"
"Ah...good thought."
She changed into a pair of slip on clogs and carried the boots for a footwear change once we arrived at Logan.
;-)
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begin_within Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 10:18 PM
Response to Original message
2. Will they start charging you to be on the inside of the plane as it is flying?
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La Lioness Priyanka Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 10:19 PM
Response to Original message
3. heathrow airport has even stricter liquid restrictions. huge fucking pain
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yourout Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 10:31 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. I can only imagine what Israeli airlines security is like..
Probably involves body cavity searches.
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lonestarnot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 10:53 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Sniffer dogs?
:shrug:
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 02:02 AM
Response to Reply #4
11. Deleted sub-thread
Sub-thread removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
YellowRubberDuckie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 01:01 PM
Response to Reply #4
18. Theirs involves profiling, and it keeps them pretty safe.
They have really strict security as well, but also based on common sense. If you are 5 or an 80 year old grandmother, they're probably going to leave you alone.
Duckie
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Indenturedebtor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 02:18 PM
Response to Reply #4
23. Interviews. Intense interviews. Not interrogations exactly
but close.
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high density Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 11:17 PM
Response to Original message
6. I hate this idea of having to pay for seat assignments
It would be nice if the airlines could stay at least touch above thruway bus service. Seat assignments don't cost the airlines anything. The system is already in place to handle seat assignments, and people who don't want them can get a seat assigned at check-in or choose Southwest.
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Left Coast2020 Donating Member (597 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 11:44 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. GOOD THING KOREAN AIRLINES IS NOT ON THIS LIST.
I used to fly air China to Beijing. No more. I now go Korean Airlines to Soeul SK, then on to China. Its a much nicer airline but the chinese make you discard your cig lighters. Its insane. I assume they resell the tossed lighters for their own pockets.
:grr:
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Spangle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 12:00 AM
Response to Reply #6
9. Paying for luggage is a pain..
Now everyone wants to just take a carry on. With everyone doing that.. there is NO ROOM for them in the bins. I'm a female, but it was a pain standing in line, while this tiny lady with a HUGE carry on was trying to shove it in a bin.. held up the whole line for awhile.

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marshall Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-26-09 04:39 PM
Response to Reply #9
38. Too bad nobody offered to help her
That's the way people are now days. I'm a man but I travel by air alone with a toddler quite often. It is extremely rare that anybody offers to help me as I struggle to put luggage in the upper bin while also corraling a struggling toddler.
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llmart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 10:19 AM
Response to Reply #6
14. I haven't flown in a year......
but have heard a couple of horror stories about this new "paying for seat assignment" idea. Just how does that work? Why can't you get your seat assignment when you buy your online tickets any more? Do you only get a seat assignment if you call a reservation agent?

I'm thinking of getting a flight soon and want to be knowledgeable when comparing prices. And, yes, I'll be one of those people who try to pack everything I need into a carryon because I refuse to pay an additional $30 for one piece of luggage. I travel pretty lightly anyway.
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high density Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 01:51 PM
Response to Reply #14
21. You pay an extra fee at time of booking to get a seat assignment
For instance, Airtran currently requires payment for seat assignments on their cheapest fares. Their fee is $6 per one-way trip.

http://www.kayak.com/airline-fees is a good place to get an overview on the hidden fees (baggage, seat assignments, food) that may be charged by certain airlines.
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llmart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 10:10 PM
Response to Reply #21
29. Thanks for the link....
I'll look into it. I'm tired of the games airlines play with all the fine print reading you have to do just to book a lousy two-hour airplane flight. Guess I'm old enough to remember when air travel was enjoyable.
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NashVegas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-26-09 01:34 PM
Response to Reply #14
37. Last Time I Flew
Edited on Mon Jan-26-09 01:37 PM by NashVegas
It was with two days advance reservation (death in the family). When the online booking app offered me the opportunity to pick my seat for a fee, I passed.

When I checked in the next day to print my tickets, I was assigned a great seat, randomly.

I refuse to fly an airline that's going to charge me for a suitcase, just to stay competitive against a slash-rate airline like AirTrans, that doesn't serve my market.
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PSPS Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 11:46 PM
Response to Original message
8. I'll start flying again when I don't have to take my shoes off
The whole thing is just theater anyway -- contrived entirely to get people used to the police state.
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Delphinus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 05:52 AM
Response to Reply #8
12. I tend to agree with you about the shoes.
I feel the same way about the wand search - they go after old, silver-haired people or attractive, well-developed people.
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GReedDiamond Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 07:20 PM
Response to Reply #8
24. One hundred percent in agreement...
...I will not fly again either until the corporate police state tactics at the airports are reigned in.

I had to get from Los Angeles to Springfield MO and back (1600 miles each way) last summer, at the point where gas prices were at their highest. I had one week open for the trip, there and back. Drove two days to get to MO, had three days there to get done what needed doing, and two days to get back to L.A. again.

Spent a lot on gas (but less than I thought I would), spent two nights in motels, and it was no more than the cost of flying, since the whole trip came up with only a couple of days' notice, so I could not book a flight a month or two earlier (which is way cheaper than a last minute booking).

It was a pretty grueling drive, but I brought my XM radio receiver with me, I had my GPS unit to keep me from getting lost in the middle of Texas or whatever, and as a result, I didn't have to put up with the phony "airport security" and requisite abuse from TSA goons. Plus, I was able to transport back home a bunch of stuff that I would not have been able to bring back with me on a plane (no, not THAT, just furniture and paintings). I'd gladly do it again if I had to.



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krabigirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-26-09 01:07 PM
Response to Reply #24
34. I too prefer road trips. Hell, I'd take a boat to Europe if I had the time.
And I used to LOVE flying.
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diamidue Donating Member (606 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 07:49 PM
Response to Reply #8
25. Shoes I can deal with.
But those all-seeing x-ray machines are something else..
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bdamomma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-26-09 01:31 PM
Response to Reply #25
36. sees right through your clothes too, sickening.
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Lisa0825 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 08:59 PM
Response to Reply #8
26. or my shirt.....
worst public embarrassment ever.... I am quite large chested. I was wearing a half-top spaghetti strap T under a short sleeved blouse, that had the top 2 buttons undone. The half T basically covered a bit less than as a sports-bra. I never would go out in public in it without something over it. They made me take off the button up shirt with a hundred people in lines around me, and go through the line like that, waiting for my items to go through the x-ray. I was mortified. :mad:

I have no problem being in a bikini when everyone else is in swimsuits, but it was completely humiliating to be made to feel half naked in front of a hundred fully clothed travelers.
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Gormy Cuss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 09:08 PM
Response to Reply #8
27. I call it the "Smell My Feet" rule.
It's nothing but an excuse to train people to comply with inane requests.
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krabigirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-26-09 01:06 PM
Response to Reply #8
33. Me too. Oh, and when I am convinced that my anxiety disorder won't brand me as a terrorist.
Scary times still on the airlines...
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Nevernose Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 12:30 AM
Response to Original message
10. Smart companies would just follow Southwest's business model
Southwest: best in lost luggage, best in customer satisfaction, best in on-time flights, best in pricing, best in safety. Over and over and over again.

I realize that not everyone likes them and that some people have had a bad experience with them, but statistically they blow every other airline away.

I fly at least twice a year, I used to fly 12 or more times a year, and the last time I had a lost bag with Southwest was 1987. Bring a book, bring your own snacks, and check in early, and most problems are solved (they could use more legroom, though; what they've got is a joke).
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goclark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 09:34 AM
Response to Reply #10
13. I used SW going to DC and back ~ loved it

They were so friendly and everything went smoothly.

I needed a Wheel Chair and they let all in Wheel Chairs board first.
They allowed my friend to board with me and she took care of storing my luggage etc.

The only thing I didn't like was going from DC to Buffalo ( I don't want to ever do that again) and Buffalo was not listed as a stop on the ticket.

Then we went to Las Vegas and changed planes, it was exhausting.

They were well organized and friendly.
I LOVE it that those stupid metal carts are not going up and down the aisles.

The next time I will know to get some snacks before boarding.

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onager Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 12:04 PM
Response to Original message
15. #6. Close Hartsfield/Atlanta.
A bunch of blind meth-heads could have designed a better airport. How do I hate thee? Let me count the ways:

a. Insane and bass-ackward "security procedures:" Since I work in Egypt and visit my Mom in South Carolina, I come into Atlanta from Frankfurt, Germany. My self and all my carry-ons have already been X-rayed and inspected by German security. Who actually know what they're doing, unlike the TSA goons in Atlanta.

Then I get on a plane and fly to Atlanta for 10-12 hours. But when I finally get there, after clearing Customs and getting my luggage, I have to put all the damn luggage BACK on a frigging conveyor that dumps it at North Terminal. Then I go thru the shoes-and-laptop charade before I can even enter the terminal building. After which I have to hassle with finding/schlepping my luggage a second time.

Incredibly annoying and useless. Which reminds me of my second gripe...

b. Atlanta security/Customs personnel: half are redneck wanna-be cops and the other half got hired that very morning from right off the street. All of which helps to make Atlanta the Guantanamo of American airports.

When it comes to bureaucratic rudeness and inefficiency, Atlanta airport personnel even outdo the Egyptians. And the Egyptians had 3 bureaucratic models--British colonialism, the Ottoman Empire and the Russians.

Once when I came thru Customs in Atlanta, the Customs guy gave me the fisheye and sent me to a room. It turned out to be the room where Suspects are sent. (For the curious, everybody in there looked either Middle Eastern or Asian.) After cooling my heels for a while, a couple of the Wanna-Be Cop types called me up to the counter and asked me why I had been in Egypt so long. Because I WORK there, that's why!

Argh! Couldn't the FIRST Customs guy have just asked me that, without all the drama?

c. That damned SLT (Stupid Little Train) system. You are standing in the Main Terminal and see a cheery sign that says "A/B/C Gates." You might think you are fairly close to your gate. You would be very wrong. Your gate is about 10 miles away. First you have to take a long escalator (or stairs) down to the SLT. And hope the bot-voice isn't droning something about "temporarily out of service." If not, get on the train, reach your gate, and ascend from the depths to your terminal. Where your gate will always be the last one, way down at the end. And you better hope the gate hasn't been changed, because it will take you about an hour to get to the new gate.





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Whoa_Nelly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 12:43 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. The escalator alone induces psychosis
Edited on Sun Jan-25-09 12:44 PM by Whoa_Nelly
or at least claustrophobia

(not my pic...got this from the tubes)
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KoKo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 12:52 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. OMG! I'm hyperventilating just looking at that....unbelievable.
:scared:
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Whoa_Nelly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 01:35 PM
Response to Reply #17
19. Have ridden it
seems interminably long when riding it.


Just be glad this 1902 escalator patent never met the light of day!
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KoKo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 01:48 PM
Response to Reply #19
20. lol's.....
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Art_from_Ark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-27-09 01:17 AM
Response to Reply #16
41. It's probably not any worse than the "tunnel" at Detroit/Wayne County
or the crazy murals at the Denver airport.
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high density Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 01:56 PM
Response to Reply #15
22. For the amount of passengers/flights, I always thought ATL was pretty efficient
I have never flown internationally to or from the airport. I usually have enough time so I do not use the "stupid little train."
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onager Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-26-09 11:51 AM
Response to Reply #22
30. Pretty much need the SLT for international flights
Edited on Mon Jan-26-09 11:53 AM by onager
The international terminal at Hartsfield is Terminal "E"--the very last one, WAY at the end.

But I'm glad you never had any problems. I live in Los Angeles and never had any real complaints with LAX, though I've heard lots of complaints about that airport from DU'ers and others. Once when I was coming to Egypt just LOADED with luggage, a bonehead taxi driver dropped me at the wrong terminal. But that's hardly the fault of the airport, and I should have been more careful. (As I should have been once in Seoul, when another taxi driver dropped me at a terminal closed for renovation. "Hey, this is great, nobody's here, I'll be first in line...uh...")

My other least favorite airports are O'Hare, because my connecting flight which is leaving in 5 minutes is always way the hell across the airport (like everybody's, apparently).

Oh, and Dallas-Fort Worth because I got stranded there once on a Sunday when a flight was cancelled, and they seemed to have some Talibaptist Blue Laws so nearly all the food places were closed.

Tourist tip for visitors to Egypt, long as I'm here: Cairo airport is loaded with low-rent con men who dress like airline employees. They even have (fake) ID badges from Lufthansa, Egypt Air, etc. They will come up and demand to see your ticket and passport. You'll get them back--eventually--but it will cost you some baksheesh. You only need to show those items to the usual people: when you go thru the metal detector, when you check in, and going thru Customs. Ignore anyone else who asks for them. A useful Arabic phrase is "yalla emshi," which in this context means "piss off."
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cobalt1999 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-26-09 12:18 PM
Response to Reply #15
32. I have to give Hartsfield some props.
I fly once or twice each week for work and connect in/out of Atlanta on about 80% of those flights.

The good things are:

A single Security station. If you change airlines, you don't have to leave a secure area and re-enter security screening like some airports such as O'hare.

The layout is simple. Even a first grader can get from Gate A12 to D32. In some airports there are little offshoot gates or bus connections (like Cincinnati).

Food/Drinks in every terminal. Some airports have one counter for prepackaged food after security. Atlanta has plenty of restaurant and bar options available.


The downside is congestion especially during bad weather. Not staffed for international arrivals properly especially if you land along with a couple of other international flights at the same time.



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Art_from_Ark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-27-09 12:49 AM
Response to Reply #15
39. I've got news for you
If you have a domestic connecting flight after arriving on an international flight, it's pretty standard fare to have to go back through security after clearing customs. Coming in from Japan, I've had to go through the "shoes off, laptops in separate bins, please open your bags" routine more times than I can remember at many different airports after coming out of customs. And one time, my suitcase was jimmied open by TSA after I had cleared customs and put it on the conveyor for the connecting flight, even though it still had the "Inspected at Narita" sticker on it.
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lib2DaBone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 09:08 PM
Response to Original message
28. Get Rid of Bush's TSA Goon Squad. Stop with the Shoes and Belt crap.
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pink-o Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-26-09 12:11 PM
Response to Reply #28
31. I agree! First, trash that f**ked up no-fly list
I work for an airline in San Francisco, and d'ya know what??? We're told we aren't even supposed to talk to passengers about it! Like Americans are too stupid to know what's going on.

Years ago, I thought the FAA was one of the most idiotic bureaucracies I'd ever encountered, but TSA makes 'em all look like a well-oiled machine of efficacy!!!
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mwooldri Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-27-09 01:10 AM
Response to Original message
40. Say hello to Ryanair!
A-la-carte pricing has been their way of doing business for years.

Tickets can start out very low, or sometimes even... FREE!

But then you pay taxes and other fees you do with regular tickets.


And then Ryanair add extra "fees".

You then have to pay to purchase the ticket. Want your boarding pass? Yep, you got to pay to get one too, even online. Oh, checking in? That'll cost you. Use a credit card? That's extra, debit card still costs you but not as much as a credit card. No we don't take cash. Checking bags? That's $x per kilo... and $x per bag. Want to reserve a seat? Again, that costs you, and priority boarding costs extra too. Everything on the plane is pay-for as well... and they want you to buy duty-free as well. If they were running the airports they'd charge for the baggage carts too (presently baggage carts at Heathrow and Gatwick are "free", deposit a quarter, get it back upon your return).

Your "free" plane ticket just cost you 250.00

Mark.
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