TRAVEL NEWS RECAP WEEK OF AUGUST 29
Department of Transportation Fines Four Major US Airlines – Four major US airlines were fined by the Department of Transportation (DOT) for not providing correct information explaining compensation for mishandled luggage and being involuntarily bumped from flights. American Airlines was fined $45,000; Alaska Airlines $40,000; Southwest Airlines $40,000; and United Airlines $35,000. DOT requires airlines to inform passengers of potential compensation when they are bumped from oversold flights. US airlines are also prohibited from reducing their liability from lost, damaged, or delayed baggage to less than $3,500. Airlines are required to give customers proper notice of the baggage liability limit. The fined airlines didn’t have up-to-date, accurate information for customers with bumped flights or mishandled bags.
United Airlines Pilots Arrested for Intoxication in Scotland – Two United Airlines pilots were suspected of being under the influence of alcohol right before flying from Scotland to the United States. The two men were arrested in the cockpit, and must appear in court near Glasgow. The flight from Glasgow to Newark Airport, New Jersey, eventually departed almost 10 hours late with a new crew. United Airlines plans to conduct their own investigation, and in a statement, assured the public that the safety of passengers is their top priority.
American Airlines’ New Ad Campaign Focuses on Passengers – In an effort to humanize its message, American Airlines is switching to a new ad campaign that will emphasize its passengers instead of products or routes. Calling passengers the “world’s greatest flyers,” a series of advertisements will describe the quirks of customers, like walking faster in airports than anywhere else, loving babies except on planes, and expert ways of packing. The video ads also emphasize politeness and consideration between passengers. The new tagline is, “The world’s greatest flyers fly American.” The airlines is not relying on a celebrity voice-over this time, but using an unrecognizable voice instead. In print ads, American will also focus on humanity in travel with messaging like, “You know a smile goes a long way on a short flight.” The overall goal is to reposition American Airlines as a relatable brand.
Alaska Airlines Passenger Tries to Open Door Mid-Flight – A spokeswoman for Alaska Airlines confirmed the arrest of a man who tried to open a door aboard a flight from New York to Seattle. The passenger was unsuccessful in his attempt, but the pilot made an emergency landing at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport. The Seattle bound flight eventually resumed after the passenger was removed from the plane by police. Opening a door while an airplane is in-flight is impossible because of the intensity of outside air pressure. Alaska Airlines did not reveal why the passenger wanted to open the door.
India to Allow In-Flight Wi-Fi on All Commercial Flights – India flights have lacked Internet connectivity for years, but now, India’s government will soon permit airlines to offer in-flight Wi-Fi on all flights in India’s airspace. Domestic flights in India haven’t offered Wi-Fi for security reasons, and international flight have had to turn Wi-Fi off upon entering India. Now, flights traveling to, from, and within India will be able to continuously offer Wi-Fi service without interruption because India has developed ways to intercept mid-flight calls and data when necessary.
Missed last week’s news recap? Catch up with Travel News Recap Week of August 22.